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Art Zoyd - Metropolis CD (album) cover

METROPOLIS

Art Zoyd

RIO/Avant-Prog


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4 stars Late Art Zoyd are far from their early chamber rock albums, far from ordinary electronic music and would be pretty unique even if compared to some contemporary classical music. This album is a different beast to the previous eperiments like u.B.I.Q.U.e or soundtracks like Nosferatu.

The album is divided into 3 parts, the first and main being the soundtrack to the silent movie Metropolis. As explained in the booklet, the main ideas are artificial intelligence, logic and the lack of it, and similarly to movies the music is presented from different angles. The music isn't an interpretation of the actions or some background music, it is a composed score, and it even has a certain time lag between it and the movie. Therefore, the soundtrack could be for bamby at the same manner, the main idea here is the music. The piece begins with a few fade-ins, some sei-melodic arpeggios, highly rhythmic drums and a bit of keyboards, but you should be warned that it wouldn't always be like that. Other pieces can feature dark ambient-like volume swells and droning wind echoes, more rhythmic tracks, a few dance-beats, idm-like glitches and clicks and in few places even harsh noise. But the main point of the album is the competition between all those pieces in every place. Over the time you begin to recognize patterns, melodies or samples which reoccur in a different setting, together with pieces from a different time-place and that's what making the album both rewarding, and annoying for the listener. The negative side of it is that a 1''48' musical piece is physically difficult to listen to, and the framework isn't very similar to prog-rock or oher avant-prog - if you look at the line up, you may notice the lack of many live instruments, such as strings which were very common to early Art Zoyd. So all you've got is a bit of sax and tubes, very rare keyboards, and lots of programmed and live percussion, sound effects and samples. Overall the listening isn't usual at all, but at the 3rd time or so it may become even more rewarding, or stay only lots of clicks, beats, beeps, noise, two- note base lines and unfortunately nothing more.

Next goes the 24 minute Le Chat de Schrödinger(The Schrodinger Cat), whic in fact is a piece for ballet, based on a book of quantum physics(that's so modern composition.) The piece deals with energy and movement, and despite it being written together with Metropolis and they both have connection between them, this one is closer to regular avant-prog. It has not much similar with Le mariage du Ciel et de L'enfer which was the previous ballet Art Zoyd have written, but it's a much more rhythmic, energetic, harsh and dynamic piece. At one place it seems that they went back into chamber-prog territory, but the sound pallete remains the same as in Metropolis.

The last 18 minutes Appars, composed by Kasper T. Toeplitz for the Ensembles Musiques Novelles as part of the Experiments de vol is closer to the electro-acoustic dark ambient music, which may sound as one synth playing unclear dark notes and a bit of percussion, though it is a bit more structured than it seems. Overall it's easier to listen and a welcome change from the album's more frantic pace.

Overal it's a difficult album, unusual and unique. A difficult listen, 3 hours is quite a lot afterall. It's nothing like symphonic prog, other avant-prog or other Art Zoyd albums, but if you are interested in new and innovative music, it is a very good addition to any collection.

Report this review (#74465)
Posted Sunday, April 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars To speak of a so impressive work and titánicas dimensions can that something too difficult is, since this work presents/displays the suite but it releases that I have listened to within means 108 minutes of full music of art, experimentation and to top it all is soundtrack alternative of a film whose history is horrifyingly impressive and revolutionary for its time because it is of year 1927, history is the following one. Year 2026, the machines no longer work for the man, but that is this who subjugates them. A world, the one of the city of Metropolis, where the man is not even the sad happy human of Huxley, but a gray mass of workers without life nor emotion. In part superior of city lives privileged people, chaste of powerful that lives at the cost of all a working society, almost enslaved, inhabitant of subterraneans, that works so that the machines of the privileged people work perfectly, within history son of powerful will know beautiful woman subworld enslaved and with her, it lowers when infier us of Metropolis, where it will discover the social dismemberment whom they have put under those of the chaste one to the rest of inhabitants, once made the discovery, will try to end the slavery of the subworld of Metropolis, although will not count on the difficulty that will suppose appearance of the Rotwang scientist, creator of a revolutionary and dangerous robot. If they think that history is surprising I will say to them that the music is equal of impressive, with many sound and put instruments to point like a powerful machinery of perfection to usanza of Metropolis with their maquinas, this are a recommended work for which they become bored with facility, is not a titánico extreme work, although it is difficult to appreciate by the length of its passages is worth the trouble very well to listen to it, with long time available and an opened mind, clear this that is better to make it with the film and synchronous music, but I believe that there are people who will know to appreciate this work, but I am afraid that it remained in one of the many works nonrecognized by its coarseness and its powerful concept.
Report this review (#88662)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars One of the most satisfying things that happens to me in relation to music is when the light goes on as it were with an album that at first I didn't even like. This usually happens when i'm listening to Rio / Avant styled music that just comes off as too difficult or out there initially but then after many listens it clicks with me and I wonder why I didn't get it earlier. This has happened to me a lot with ART ZOYD's records including this one. Especially this one. I find that ART ZOYD makes music that I never really understand fully but I do appreciate it. While most albums reveal their hidden secrets after 10 listens or so I don't think ART ZOYD's music ever does give up these secrets completely even after 50 listens.

This was an album that doesn't really sound like any ART ZOYD album i've listened to before. It is a soundtrack for the movie Metropolis which was re-made in 2002. The original movie came out in 1927 and was a Science Fiction film. This soundtrack is minimalistic and dark. It really gets my imagination going. A lot of themes or sounds seem to be reprised. This isn't the Classical sound of early ART ZOYD but it does have more in common with their electronic styled recordings. There's lots of percussion and electronics along with samples, keyboards and sax. It's often dense and dark as we go from scene to scene usually uninterupted. There are 33 tracks to this soundtrack which amounts to about 108 minutes of music. There are also two extra tracks not related to the soundtrack worth about 42 minutes in total. These two tracks fit in well with what has gone on before in this 2 disc affair. The first of these two extra songs was written for a ballet. All I can say is that it must be for a ballet from hell.

I was going to go track to track like usual but 33 tracks with me saying a lot of the same things is just too much. It was interesting listening to this one mechanical sounding rhythm that was reprised several times. It sounds like a train heading down into the bowels of hell. Very dark and creepy. I like how Man With Hat (Phil) described this to me : "It would definitely be fitting to play in a hellish labyrinth of corridors leading to pure doom." Perfect. "There is a track on UNIVERS ZERO's "Implosion" that this reminded me of but note that "Implosion" came out a couple of years after this.

This is a recording that has really excited me for some reason and I look forward to spending more time with it. Love the cover art as well as we see a sea of these creatures looking very angry.

Report this review (#778612)
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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