Early this year, Berlin-based artist The Allegorist came out with her 4th album, Blind Emperor. The layered project used the power of soundscapes to create a detailed fictitious story of a mythical land that trudges through struggles on its way to revelations of prosperity. The protagonist, Blind Emperor, leads the charge into a brighter tomorrow in a textured aesthetic of an epic, cinematic, choral, ambient techno album. Anna Jordan (The Allegorist) has a holistic approach to her projects. She created the album art, wrote an included story, and composed a poem that all combined to tell the imperial fantasy.
In another component of the aggregate story, The Allegorist is releasing The Round Table, a Blind Emperor Remix Album, including animations of an eclectic mix of colored smoke representing each featured artist. She has also crafted a short story to go with the record, which depicts the origin of the Blind Emperor‘s momentous gathering. Six enthralling artists each take a track from the original album and reimagine them in their interpretation. The remixed work adds another chapter to the fable of Blind Emperor with new layers of edge, tension, divulgence, plot, and twisting paths added through the much-anticipated meeting.
How to listen: There are a couple of ways to proceed. First, you can listen to the whole album, which you will find below, and then read the notes. Or, read the notes as you listen to each track. This will completely change your perspective on the whole release itself and bring you closer to the artist and their work.
Saga ‘The Round Table’
Written by The Allegorist
“Meeting with the others in the shrine filled the air with tension. Everybody who mattered was supposed to come and join the conversation at The Round Table. Many have tried to enter, but the doors open only every hundred years if touched by the energy and all of them. It was crucial not to be late. The Blind Emperor and her convoy had to hurry and move forward. Her mind filled with thoughts: Will they all come? Have they changed? Is the monumental and mysterious shrine as they have said? Nobody knew what was going to happen inside, but everyone knew it would change everything.”
Redwinged Phoenix (Eraldo Bernocchi Rework)
Eraldo Bernocchi: “How could I approach such a beautiful track? There's already so much happening, so many sounds, melodies, and harmonies. I decided to strip the piece to the bare elements, going beyond minimal and using them as a starting point for a rework. As the track is originally melodic and emotional I chose to contrast those elements creating the groove in real-time using two Moog DFAM. One for the low end, the other one for the upper-frequency spectrum. It's a machine-oriented beat but it retains the impurities and flutterings of the analogue world. The rest of the sounds come from my trusted Elektron A4 MKII and my baritone guitar. There's a strange western/Ry Cooderish progression that lingers in this track, and I naturally pushed in that direction recording a guitar theme as well as some big low saturated chords, they are living in the background creating a haze of melancholy as well as dreamy atmosphere. It was a pleasure to work on this and I thank The Allegorist for asking me to do it.”
The Allegorist: ”I'm often addressing hope in some form in my art. The first track on the album ‚Redwinged Phoenix‘ is about hope. In this track I’m telling the tale of a transformation, that can only come through the experience of hard battles. It is not easy to remember where we are going when we face hardship, but our red wings grow in the flames, forging us like a blacksmith and we can arise from the ashes once more.”
Marching Crowd (Max Dahlhaus Rework)
Max Dahlhaus: “While creating music I usually have some pictures or a film scene in my head. The interesting thing with the original by my friend 'The Allegorist' was, that it already had this cinematic feel and during my first listening session, I right away started thinking about a film scene. I wanted to hold on to that feeling but give it a different, more brutal vibe on top. So I took all existing drones, played around with them and added more layers to the already full sound picture. The electronic glitches and noises make the overall sound more aggressive. I played around with some harmonies and ended up with the very present synthesizer line, that drives the track. I build in abrupt changes, because I just love getting surprised and added a melodic ending to have some time to relax after the noise filled, full power bass line that is crashing in at the peak of the track.”
The Allegorist: “The track ‘Marching Crowd’ tells the story of the Blind Emperor’s journey with the crowd towards the shrine, that was depicted as a head in the music video `The Sacrifice`. It describes the atmosphere of a silent, dark, foggy winter, the steamy breaths of horses and people, theodour of dirt and wet stones, the feeling of a growing unease nobody talkedabout, and the sounds of crows and the crowd marching in line.”
The Extended Cut: The Allegorist – The Round Table – Blind Emperor Remix Album
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Blind Emperor (KMRU Rework)
KMRU: “In this remix of the Blind Emperor, I wanted to explore the ethereal bits of the original idea. Leaving the voice as the focal of the piece interviewing with subtly growing drone pads, and noises that drive the piece, unraveling the subconscious of the nonliving – exploring realms of tones, voices, and drones as a conception of the other world. The remix was composed just after a tour with Fennesz in the US and I somewhat feel there are some little inspirations that could have trickled into the making of this remix.”
The Allegorist: “The Blind Emperor is the main protagonist of the album ‘Blind Emperor’. The idea for the title comes from the philosophical idea that sometimes you have to become blind to the realities of life in order to find the strength within you, to do what seems logically impossible, and is about the journey, fighting for the truth of oneself. The Blind Emperor is driven by the idea of not bending for the easy or giving up her own truth. She is accepting guidance from knowledge, feelings, and intuition and believes the right balance of all these elements will lead to the right thoughts, wisdom, and actions.”
The Sacrifice (Magna Pia Rework)
Magna Pia: “My initial idea for this remix was to make it absolutely with no beats. But as I started working on it, Anna’s original track had a very strong character and a perfect build-up which felt very natural for a dance floor-oriented techno track. I had a very good flow while working on it and I've been enjoying playing this remix in my DJ sets since then.”
The Allegorist: “The track ‘The Sacrifice’ is about the challenges of making a groundbreaking decision and defining what our priorities really are. In everybody’s life, there are moments where we can’t have it all. They might seem at a point as a sacrifice and maybe they really are one. In my opinion, there is something really beautiful about that. Because these are the moments that actually matter and define us as a person, who we really are. Our undeniable true core becomes clear and we can let go of all the lies.”
Moving Forward (Snakes Of Russia Rework)
Snakes Of Russia: “Anna’s track was filled with so many beautiful textures already, it was just about finding my favorite ones…there is a lot of source in my rework, her layers are massive together. All I felt it needed to bring into my world was some movement. So I took a few of the layers and added some square wave tremolo, for that nice choppy movement. There was this awesome washing machine sample in there that I used for a rhythmic element as well, but made it swell up at the end of every bar. Adding my bass and subs really helps make it move…it’s kind of a long pattern, but once it comes back each time I introduce a different element, it never should feel monotonous. And then the last element I added, and easily my favorite is the outro sequence. I did it on a Moog Sirin. I wanted something melodic but also something that cuts through the mix and becomes the focal point to carry the track out. In the end, I hope I kept the simple raw beauty of this track and just added to the journey."
The Allegorist: “Moving Forward was the first single I have released from the album Blind Emperor’ and the remix album ‘The Round Table’. It is about the drive never giving up, the constant effort to move forward, to learn and grow. Moving forward can be anything, no matter how big or small the steps are. Sometimes we move forward when we take a step back or don’t move at all. Moving Forward lives in our heart, the burning spirit that is alive and keeps us going. The approach to be and stay truthful, to hold onto things that are worth it, no matter how hard. And to be willing to give up on those, which are not. Even if they appear shiny on the outside.”
War Priests (Blush Response Rework)
Blush Response: “With this remix, and any remix I do, I strive to make a new version of the track that is a clearly mutated version of the original. I really love The Allegorist’s use of creative vocals, so I thought to bring the vocals to the forefront and base the entire track around them. I sampled different vocal stems into several different samplers and resequenced them and built up the rest of the track around them. I really wanted to bring a heavier edge to the music.”
The Allegorist: “War Priests is about the last battle in the saga, where everyone unites for the same cause. The main characters of the track are theWar Priests, magicians, who gather on the top of the mountains and engage in the fight that takes place below in the valley. The battle is a metaphor of the battles of those I have dedicated my album to, who are wounded and are in need of healing, who are tired and are looking for hope, who are alone and need love, who are weakened and are in need of strength, who have lost meaning and are looking for a light, who despite of all are doing their best, and the War Priests are my army of love and fire.”
Grab your copy here.