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Das Kabinett

Bill Nelson

album - 25 November 1981

Das Kabinett - Cover


01)  The Asylum

02)  Waltz

03)  The Fairground

04)  Doctor Caligari

05)  Cesare The Sonambulist

06)  Murder

07)  The Funeral

08)  The Sonambulist And The Children

09)  Caligari Disciplines Cesare

10)  Caligari Feeds Cesare

11)  Caligari Opens The Cabinet

12)  Jane Discovers Cesare

13)  The Attempted Murder Of Jane

14)  The Dream Dance Of Jane And The Sonambulist

15)  Escape Over The Rooftops

16)  The Unmasking

17)  The Shot

18)  The Cabinet Closes


Das Kabinett (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) is an instrumental album recorded at The Echo Observatory. The music was composed for a theatre production of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, staged by The Yorkshire Actors Company.
Das Kabinett was the first full length album to be issued on Cocteau in November 1981. The album sleeve displayed the title as "Das Kabinet", whereas the label had the correct spelling.



Das Kabinett was reissued on vinyl as a double album with La Belle et la Bête (Cocteau, 1985), sporting new artwork. It was given its first and only US release on CD (Enigma, 1989) as two albums on one disc (again with La Belle et la Bête).


Das Kabinett was reissued by Esoteric/Cocteau Discs in December 2017 as part of a 3-CD set of Bill's early soundtrack work, entitled Dreamy Screens.

Trial By Intimacy, La Belle et La Bete, Sounding the Ritual Echo, Chance Encounters in the Garden of Lights,
Map of Dreams, Altar Pieces, Crimsworth, Simplex, Sleepcycle & other Cocteau Club EPs


"In 1919, German film director Robert Weine made what was to become one of the classics of the silent cinema,
The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. Using stark, expressionistic sets and highly stylised acting techniques, Weine created a nightmare world with insanity and murder at its core.

Some sixty-two years later, early in 1981, I was approached by The Yorkshire Actors Company, to provide a musical score for a modern adaptation of the Caligari story. The Company's director, Andy Winters, wanted to preserve the stylised, expressionistic gestures of the film whilst introducing elements of the mime and even dance. The production would rely heavily on the performers acting techniques as very few stage settings or effects were to be employed. Although this was not the first play I had been involved in musically (I provided an electronic score for a production of Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" in 1966), I found the whole idea extremely challenging and set to work taking notes and timings during the play's early rehearsals.

The story starts and ends in an asylum presided over by Dr. Caligari. The action in between involves, amongst other things, a fairground, a caravan, a prison, and the crooked streets and rooftops of a small medieval town known as Holstenwall.

The music was recorded on the same domestic four-track machine I had previously used to create the Sounding the Ritual Echo album, and as the music had to be delivered to the Yorkshire Actors Company in time for them to complete their final rehearsals, a high degree of self discipline was in order. After several days intense work and a certain amount of last minute editing the soundtrack was complete."



"What a fantastic atmospheric album this is, I have fond memories of The Yorkshire Players doing excerpts of this during The Invisiblity Exhibition, something that is etched in my mind forever."


"There is a lot of interesting detail here, and as usual, marvellous and unique sounding synths, creating an appropriately spine-chilling character in places."


"As the years have passed, I find that if I have Das Kabinett, Trial By Intimacy (The Book of Splendours) and Savage Gestures for Charms Sake playing in the background, I seem to become more creative at anything that I happen to be doing, at the same time I'm listening. So I've come to appreciate the different facets of Bill's creativity all the more. Am I getting older (Brrr), mellowing, maturing?"

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