METABOLISMUS - SUS
The latest offering from the folks of Amish Records is Metabolismus‘ palindromic SUS, a hyper-versatile and -dynamic piece of music that highlights the innumerable conceptual and interpretative possibilities of a single recording or performance. Recorded on 21022012 (February 21st 2012) and running 12:21 (at 45 RPM), the piece presented here lends itself to any number of experiential diversions. Launching with a quiet but potent striking of a mallet striking a vibraphone, “SUS” is a slow moving examination of time, movement and pacing. The single tone draws itself out across space, both smearing in an elongated line and folding back in on itself, coupling and dividing into infinite space. Loops blur into other loops as mounting creaks and bowed violin strings gradually overflow, consuming all matter. With utmost patience and restraint, the stringed drones find themselves and organize into a minimal militia that postures itself as a seamless, unified entity. The dense but lilting display drifts along before abruptly ceasing with an inversion of the opening tones, and you realize you’ve been careening backward for an unknown length of time. It’s a wholly hypnotic aural illusion that ditches novelty for absolute mesmerization. The band doubles down on the temporal trickery by offering up the set to be played at any given speed, “mainly 33 and 45, but also anything from 16 rpm to 78 rpm,” depending on the listener’s discretion. SUS is available now directly via Amish’s site.
JOOKLO & METABOLISMUS - PERCEPTION OF THE ILLUSION OF THE OPPOSITION OF CONTRARIES - Troglosound
FIFTY-FIFTY & METABOLISMUS - ARMED RESISTANCE IN WEST GERMANY
Metabolismus has quietly released a string of mind-melters on and
off since the ‘90s, both here and abroad, but if you
weren’t looking for them actively, they would have easily
slipped by. The product of large ensemble improvisation and
playing, they were one of the first outfits to recognize and
recontextualize the new age/new wave pioneers in German music,
and attempt to force those sounds into the decade using the same
tools of reason and interplay as a group like Faust might have.
To put it another way, we get a lot
of drone records in over here, but to receive one with a fraction
of the care, beauty, skill and taste as their “Les
Automates Spirituels” off their Blackjack LP Terra
Incognita would be highly unlikely, because
said musicians would probably have to cross the table into jazz,
discipline, physical dexterity … while I can get away
without shaming the present any further, it’s safe to say,
these folks thought of it before you, and the flag they planted
will never be uprooted from the minds of those who got to
experience them. And that’s just on one facet of their
sound. Mauser O.K.
comes after a long dormancy period (there was a single on The
Social Registry released in late ’07 or early ’08,
but not much else), and offers four tracks spanning fifteen years
of activity. “Carousel” offers some casual approach
demo button accompaniment, drifting away from the Casio backbeat
into its own alternate orbits. They cover “Do They Owe Us a
Living” by Crass, in the lounge/French chanteur-chanteuse
style that Nouvelle Vague up and ran with, but keep more of a
mystery about their approach and the read itself. “Asthma
Game” ups the tension of their reed-driven Krautrock
throbber into a weird, taut space, the open-range bassline
providing a jump-off point for all sorts of vocal arrangements,
surprise percussion and swarming elements – sometimes I
wish a band like the Ex could roll back this deep and see what
effect it might have, only I realize that means I’d want
more Metabolismus. Closer “Supergenug” sounds like a
cross between a bearded German Carl Sagan special on space and
the theme to “TJ Hooker,” and takes you roughly to
the intersection of both. The jumpoff point for this band is
pretty far from here, so if you are interested enough, get in the
water and start investigating their back catalog, most of which
is still readily available from the places that would stock such
forward-thinking product. It’s time to figure out why a few
thousand people think this band is special enough to champion.
500 copies. (http://www.amishrecords.com)
Mauser O.K. celebrates much of what makes this German-ensemble so essential, drawing from a variety of sources and influences to provide listeners with another important indication of the contribution Metabolismus has made to psych and outsider experiments over its almost three-decade-long existence. Whether it be lo-fi pop, free improvisation, sixties psychedelia or music concrete tape manipulation, like the Sun City Girls (who formed around the same year) Metabolismus 'metabolizes music' of all styles, shapes and forms; for this release, they transform Crass' screed 'Do They Owe Us a Living' into a Canterbury classic and resituate Brian Brain's 'Asthma Game' into the delicate pastoral landscape of their native Germany. These pieces were recorded and compiled over a fifteen-year span and it has been well worth the wait.
Four catchy pop-style tracks with sinister undertones, from this veteran German musical collective who come from the Krautrock tradition of guitars, keyboards, and minimal, repetitive beats, but will seemingly try just about anything. A1 and B2 are perky instrumentals. The other two tracks feature deadpan male+female vox. A2 is a Crass song jazzed up with vibes and brushed snare, and B1 is a minimal arrangement of a Brian Brain song, with some horns and stuff added. Mellotron appears on a couple of the tracks. There’s no telling what this pleasantly odd group will come up with next.
Metabolismus ‘Snowy Meadow’ (Social Registry). First up though the seventh release in the ongoing ’social club’ singles series brings together two delicately drawn cuts of 60’s shimmer pop from Germany’s Metabolismus. Previously unknown to us - hey what’s new - according to the blurb on the Social Registry site this lot have been eking an existence since 1982, disciples opf the traditionalist Kraut forms - Kraftwerk, Can and Neu! though blended sweetly with a drifting folk species, this collective appear arbitrary when it comes to commercialism having seen fit to it in their opening decade of life 33 cassette products and 33 vinyl outings in their second. All of which having heard this tasty twin set we are gagging to have as our own. Limited to just 750 hand numbered copies (our copy in case you’re wondering is 74) ‘snowy meadows’ initially sets out with a delightfully kooky off road zeal, almost sleepy headed, the overlapping / converging harmonies and hallucinogenic melodies create a mellowing haze that ambles along trippily restless in its own enchantment. Within you’ll hear the sound of flutes, mellotrons and didgeridoo’s buoyantly busying themselves locked in some kind of west coat campfire waltz. Appealing to fans of early career works by the likes of the Beachwood Sparks, Summer Hymns and Doleful Lions. ’snowy meadows’ is a dreamlike mirage of soft psychedelic montages braided with willowy wonder, deceptively intoxicating and radiating warmth it sumptuously shimmers softly with a silken mystery more redolently breezy Simon and Garfunkel that gracefully peaks and unfurls into a sun bursting shower towards its close of Left Banke like classicism - I kid you not. ’Somnia’ over on the flip is equally beguiling. Built around a clockwork mechanism this shyly absorbing slice of flirting faraway folk pop beautifully marinates the tender tonalities of the ethereal tendencies of 60’s styled French pop, down tempo lounge like exotica and fuzzy felt woodcraft - delicately disarming this dream weaving mirage twinkles suggestively with spectral amour to have you as though serenaded by Mum duetting with a laid back Stereolab on a haunting cult score overseen by Christopher Komeda. Utterly recommended without reservation or question.
German avant-popsters for decades, Metabolismus started making a mark just as the ‘90s were getting exhausted and people were looking elsewhere for kicks, making several wonderful and varied records for the few, not to mention being labelmates of both the Brainbombs and Monoshock on Blackjack, one of the last forward-thinking indies of that time period. It’s always nice to see them return, and doubly so here as part of the Social Registry’s increasingly awesome singles club. “Snowy Meadows” fell off the Sgt. Pepper’s delivery truck and flourished out in the woods by the side of the road, all pert studio drumming and Mellotron rolling through ornate, gentle pop. “Somnia” repeats these charms with the ticking of a clock and Samara Lubelski’s instructive violing cutting a path through it all. Imagine a Stereolab not influenced at all by Krautrock or French pop, but rather turn of the ‘60s British studio excess, and you’re coming close. Gorgeous stuff, limited to 750 numbered copies.
Metabolismus' skewed view of instrumental pop gets a lush infusion from the voice of Samara Lubelski and in turn the collaboration brings out the best from both parties. "Snowy Meadows" brings to mind all the delicate imagery that the title suggests, with Samara's voice floating in wisps of chilled breath over the band's charming pop sounds. Meanwhile the b-side takes the band's instrumental qualities, which while usually interesting can sometimes be haphazard, and crafts them into bittersweet cinematic focus. Again and again, this series by The Social Registry continues to bring the best and the brightest up for their shot of double sided grandeur.
This seventh release in The Social Registry's 7" singles club comes from German collective Metabolismus, who are ably assisted by Samara Lubelski in their pursuit of '60s psych folk loveliness. The strings and woodwind of 'Snowy Meadows' builds up to a spectacularly more-is-more finale on the A-side, while B-side 'Somnia' is a more understated, pastoral affair, though the incredibly rich arrangement is still very much in place. Excellent.
For those that don’t like to shake their asses, there’s The Social Registry’s “The Social” 7-inch subscription club. The New York label drops German collective Metabolismus’ beautiful, melancholic ’60s folk for their seventh release in the series. “Somnia” is like watching a Tarkovsky film – all whispery violins and a boundless melody that is both haunting and smart.
Martin De Leon, XLR8R
Terra Incognita LP/CD
Hard to believe that this band
has emerged recently. Metabolismus carries on unconventional
music created by the weirdest and most amazing bands from the
electronic- kraut era. Each track is an outstanding musical
journey throws the unknown and the infinite echoes of the soul.
"Disconnected Areas of Outer Nothingness" starts with
an "atmospheric" accumulation of sound collages, the
composition continues on a dreamy like expression conducted by
linear organ textures, incorporating a Tibetan accent in the
melody. The detached, tranquil soundscape is mixed with
claustrophobic, tormented electronic intrusions. "Spiel 2"
is a driven minimal essay in electronic with machines and
automatic effects. "Die Grünen Löcher Von Aztal"
is a bizarre, secret piece with mysterious "concrete"
sounds and sampling. "Les Automates Spirituels" goes
into "droney" and immersive electronic loops. One
single note played by a sinister electric organ known variations
in luminous and sunny melodies. "Mutter Erde/Terra Incognita
" features many acoustic, organic and concrete noises worked
together to create a nice orchestration...the tracks ends with a
beautiful "harpsichord" sounding melody. A musical land
of "abstract" beauty. One of the most original works
from the 90s. A future classic.
Metabolismus were one of my first avant-orientated bands. At the time I had a collection of 10-15 albums that were to act as an introduction to the genre. For most part most they had little to do with the rock side of music [Metabolismus was an expection to this]. Initially my interest wanned very quickly, the album focused highly upon textures and timbres of the compositions, which at the time didn't coax me into repetitive listens. Doing the best thing possible I put it side for a period of time (instead of disposing), not forcing enjoyment, to come back once my tastes had time to mature. By the time I discovered ('got it' so to speak) this album, I had trekked across the chasms of krautrock, from the hard psych induced trips, to the more extended space essays, down to the out-right crazy. Terra Incognita finds it's placed comfortably between the deep psych trips and microtonal essays. Though produced in the modern era, it finds new ground, stray away from regressive tendencies. Swathed in electronics, the album salves as the perfect soundtrack to the depths of night. My favourite track 'Les Automates Spirituels' brings the bands potential to full realisations, having a very post-kraut aroma, painting a haunting serenity within our minds. Terra Incognita is a beautiful engagement of elevated conscious states, drifting seamlessly through the unknown territories of your subconscious. Needless to say this is a refreshing album from the later years of progressive music, bringing a unique flavour to a genre. I suggest anyone interested in the metaphysical side of both Krautrock and progressive electronic should hear this album. Posted Wednesday, August 02, 2006
It's always been amazing to me that when those crazy Germans aren't busy trying to take over the world, they can create some of the most inventive atmospheric music ever. From Stockhausen to Popol Vuh to Oval, it's clear that the Krauts have a way with trippy soundscapes, and this record is no exception. From the opening bleeps and sqawks, you assume this is going to be another "ho-hum" trip through ye olde post-rock laboratory, but Metabolismus seems incapable of staying for too long in one place. The harsh electronic atonalities of the first few pieces segue into a beautiful a Terry Riley-esque drone without you even noticing. The final track, "mutter erde/terra incognita" starts off sounding like some sort of Indonesian wedding processional,and concludes with a medieval madrigal. (Faust would be proud.) Anyhoo, I wish I knew more about these folks, but perhaps as with so much of the avant-garde, the beauty lies in the mystery. -wt
The Germans of Metabolismus define a 90’s revival of Krautrock, taking high the early 70s psychedelic influences (especially from Amon Duul, Can & Faust). Wild, weird and found of electronic experimentations this musical formation also investigates in RIO / avant prog territories. Metabolismus clearly goes beyond the current specifications of a rock band, constantly in "flux", in search of different projections to create a world of dream representation, freedom and surreal musical spheres. After living in a relative discretion (publishing something like fourty albums) the band emerges from the dark with their "Terra Incognita" (published in 1999 by Blackjack). This album presents different sources of musical aspiration, from minimal electronic, ambient, 60s psych to jazz. In this one we can detect the influence of late 70’s German pre-ambient explorers as Harmonia and Cluster. Their Second release "Spriebwartsdrall" combines with quality different electronic motifs with an avalanche of psychedelic effects and free noises. An original musical phenomenon. Hard to find an equivalent in the new progressive rock scene.
Philippe Blache, FRANCE
Martin Walters, All Music Guide