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Peter Frohmader - Nekropolis: Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich CD (album) cover


Peter Frohmader


Progressive Electronic

3.98 | 15 ratings

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4 stars Road to hell

To better understand the music of Peter Frohmader, I think it best to start with his paintings that circle around the esoterically challenging - the cosmic and unfathomable. Experiencing the German art world of the 70s, Peter played in several avant bands - founding most of them, and thereby also developing a taste for the exact same thing that fuelled his paintings. Another world hiding in the shadows of life. As many of young people probably can attest to, sometimes we are much easier persuaded into the dangerous facets of our world, and I still think that is why so many people swear to metal and the life thrilling ventilating effect it has. With Peter it resulted in a deep fascination of the occult and brooding, and when he finally decided to make this debut album of his in 1979, all of this beautiful darkness suddenly came to fruition.

Nekropolis is like an electronic soundtrack to Dante's Divine Comedy. Divided into two acts, this instrumental opera of death guides the listener into the black scrublands of the human psyche. We start out in the dusky beginnings of night - the blackness slowly emerging with the simmering sways of synthesizers and understated hazy bass mumblings. Peter uses the whole spectrum of the instruments - meaning that he fully understands the counter-pointing effect of reverberating noises, and actually puts them centre stage. At first it seems odd and slightly out of place, because it feels as if they're recorded at the wrong volume. So the pounding drums become these tiny muffled matchbox rumbles - while the dark sinister breaths of electronics weave right up front in the mix alongside an incessant bass.

Then we enter the second stage of our journey, the one that fulfils the divine cycle as relegated by Dante himself - leading the way into the fiery realm of hell. Adding to the booming smouldering atmosphere, you get references to the expressive devils from old Tibetan paintings, and the music now takes a turn for the more aggressive. It feels like a vortex of gloom - a black inescapable hole that draws you in with long threads of ceremonial black mass music. It's like the music grows long hairy tentacles that reach far beyond the confines of your speakers.

Both of these chapters contain strung elements of what I'd personally call Gothic ambient. It swirls around you like an unpredictable dark cloud, and still it is what brings both atmosphere and meat to the proceedings. Like an invisible thin red line going through all of Nekropolis, it's there and then not really... Then you have something quite extraordinary filling up most of the remaining room here. Zeuhl. Maybe not in the strictest sense of the musical boundaries and invented stickers, but in the same way that a man like Igor Wakhevitch leaned on the shamanistic simple - the ritualistic in music, going back to a structure that seeks to hypnotise you by sheer rhythmic force - a secret chant, - Nekropolis does so too. It's more of a subtle vibe emanating from the background, but it's there. It becomes clearer and more tangible as you go along - finally culminating in the ending crescendos of hell, where the drums come to the fore and everything suddenly sounds more in tune with French bands such as Magma and Weidorje, than the electronic oozings of the Berlin School kids.

In many ways, all of this album leads up to this final eruption of sound - this mighty lava explosion, and when it finally happens, it's like a cathartic musical cleansing. You have finally reached the source of the fire, and effectively the end of your journey through the night.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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