For the first time ever, the complete score for Der Todesking, Jörg Buttgereit's 1989 follow-up to his notorious Nekromantik. Only ever released as a limited-edition 7-inch in 1990, this expanded edition features material sourced from newly discovered tapes, and presents all of the film’s music, along with unreleased material.
It’s profoundly disturbing, but strangely beautiful, the music of Der Todesking. Using the same composers and musicians who worked on Nekromantik - Daktari Lorenz, Hermann Kopp, and John Boy Walton - the music on this soundtrack release is more coherently cohesive than that release, which is rather fascinating, in light of the film’s experimental nature and lack of narrative.
Granted, a large part of the soundtrack’s cohesive nature is due to the fact that the majority of the LP’s first side is devoted to Lorenz’s five-part suite, Die Fahrt Ins Reich Der Menschentrümmer. It’s metronomic and martial but seethes with a hidden ugliness that manages to intrigue while it repulses. The second side of the LP is more diverse, featuring as it does three atmospheric electronic compositions by Kopp, along with John Boy Walton’s rather beautiful piano work, which could easily have come out of some Weimar cabaret in the early ‘30s.
All told, the compositions come together to create a sense of beauty and decay, inviting anyone who drops the needle on Der Todesking’s soundtrack to listen closely while being terrified as to what might come next or conjure images in their mind. It’s the perfect aural accompaniment to the film.
Were it not for the obi strip which accompanies One Way Static’s black vinyl pressing of the Der Todesking LP, one would be left with a black and white sleeve featuring a skeletal king on the cover and on the back, a track listing and the image of a decaying corpse. It’s frightening in its minimalism, and frighteningly effective.
DER TODESKING / COMPOSERS: DAKTARI LORENZ, HERMANN KOPP, JOHN BOY WALTON / LABEL: ONE WAY STATIC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW