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Peter Frohmader

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Peter Frohmader Nekropolis: Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich album cover
3.98 | 15 ratings | 4 reviews | 13% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Hollenzyklus :
1. Hölle Im Angesicht (3:49)
2. Fegefeuer (3:34)
3. Unendliche Qual (3:36)
4. Krypta (8:54)
- Nachtzyklus :
5. Mitternachtsmesse II (6:46)
6. Inquanok (4:30)
7. Ghul (4:35)
8. Pagan (5:15)

Total time 40:59

Bonus tracks on 1998 CD reissue:
9. Mitternachtsmesse I (9:08)
10. Höllenfahrt (5:44)
11. Krypta II (1:55)
12. Bass-Präludium (2:07)

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Frohmader / electronics, guitar, acoustic, electric & fretless basses, composer

- Rudi Neuber / drums

Releases information

Title translates as "Music From the Darklands"

LP self-released - RP-10122 (1981, Germany)

CD Ohrwaschl - OW 042 (1998, Germany) With 4 bonus tracks

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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PETER FROHMADER Nekropolis: Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(67%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PETER FROHMADER Nekropolis: Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars What would you expect from a band called "Nekropolis"? With a very eloquent cover art describing the final ending and the disappearance of humanity throw creepy bones of dead bodies, you can imagine that the sound is everything dark, resonant, cavernous, haunting and ghostly. This infernal electronic manifest is a musical intrusion throw pain and agony, scary but so sublime in term of intensity and expression...the two first compositions are written for (very gloomy) double bass lines, menacing electronic effects and drum attacks. This marvellous, creepy and moody album by Peter Frohmader is one of the strangest things I've heard in popular music. Surely his most experimental if we remember the much more conventional "ambient" efforts of his last productions. "Unendliche Qual" is a hyper cavernous track, always with massive doom bass lines, agonised "almost heaven choir" ambient sounds and hammering drum parts. A proof that we can make a pretty dark and ass kicking album only with tremendous atmospheres. My favourite tracks on this one are the almost jazzy macabre "Mitternachtsmesse II" and the floating, repetitive and spacey like "Mitternachtsmesse I". A supreme and unique contribution, featuring discreet weird kraut experimentations.
Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Starting off with the same idea another reviewer of this album used to express the strangest and most influential feelings this music has installed for any one bestowing to listen to it, I'll say that, indeed, a cover so horrific and unpleasant plus an entire concrete set of cryptic and sharp names for each composition (though certainly, in both cases, this is not the most creepy "view" in musical concept ever), in such a linguine and freely expressed way, lead to the music of this classic debut by Peter Frohmader to be of that particular novelty nuance, one impregnated very deep, sardonic and dementia, alluding much of the heartless and "dunkelheit" operatic music impressions. The best such artists usually express it as a meaning of life (and of death), plus an expression of authentic blossom and powerful industry. It is a habit of eloquent diversity and stunning receptiveness, true, if you comprise well the flawless orientation of a music that burns and shrivels you inside, nonconformist and nondeterministic.

As powerful, indecisive and macabre as this experiment will sound, it also reflects, however, not a flagellation of music and emotions, but a deep trance of systematic experimentalism and over-mechanized techniques, having in mind a blow of proportions, by which music to stun, some kind of visual transmissions (like lugubrous sounds leading to cryptic images, or so) to be achieved, plus a good rhythm of artistic provocation to be fulfilled, since the entire composition leaves little time for sensibility. In conclusion, you could do an entire monologue and fearful description towards Music Aus Dem Schattenreich, calling it the music of totems, the emblem of devilish concepts and the radical substance of inconsequential dark and formidable punching character - but the album is also a very good and connecting study of electronic devices and sound-fractions, space-fears and reverted environmentalism, under envious qualities of rock, electronic tension, sound and ambient, noise and acid culture, dark and deep breaks of flairs - a very impressive study as well.

Peter Frohmader cuts off from his projects of cold counter-fashion composition, cubism rock, unshapely jazz or rock vibrations (though the 70s full work could be a collector's avid pleasure as much as collecting the sessions of Nekropolis and collaborating compositions, within the official register, turns out to be) and comprises a sum of art, weird ethic and stabilized avant-torrential influences within mechanics and comforts of electronic, synthetic and psych-epileptic improvisations. The strength of the Nekropolis projects is equal to the strength of collaborations with big artists like Pinhas or Artemiev and to the strength of Frohmader playing solo. So is the balance between him being an electronist, a sound-machinist, an avant-garde sketcher or a personality of diffuse rock. Such a debut like Music Aus Dem Schattenreich becomes suggestive to a lot of Frohmader's visions and introverted terrific dreams of music, sharing only a unique strong message of its own, mostly condensed between music and the liable impression.

With a low-extended instrumentality, but a perfect eclectic precision, Frohmader makes out of this album a heart beating (expected to have said flesh-ripping?) caliber and a paradox of minimal music sounding so massive. The Nekropolis project, associated a lot with this kind of impact art, seeks out the same kind of illusion, under different, more powerful or more forgotten essential musical gestures. Outside the atmosphere of Nekropolis and of Frohmader's sting art, you can't find a conclusive association with the grandest and most known contemporary styles of electronic. It is even a thought of beatitude that, in the beginning of the 80s, when pressure made a lot of electronic art collapse or become the expression of harmony, Peter Frohmader comes, heartless as it is, with a music of fear, complex language and powerful exploration. In a weaker eulogy, these early experiments, this one included, fully reflect a personal and conceptual force of expression and clatter, within a chosen dark, deep, frantic and exhausting modality.

Music Aus Dem Schattenreich is an hour long impressive album, with lots of suggestive strange and hollow sound-movements. Going just one more time back to the cover and the concept of "hecatomb music", the music might be a suggestion for some visual art or some cuts of music, though nothing is specific - many Nekropolis experiments, including Nekropolis 2, are actually "soundtrack" compositions. Inside its shell, the album becomes an electronic furnace of instrumentality and arranged technique, with a spiritual aggression that mostly chills you down hard enough as to experience this powerful and incisive music. Frohmader, through 12 pieces, tries combinations of noises and sounds (no mechanical particular achievement), new ambiances and sorrow/minor harmonies, a background or a frontal experiment of electronic tonalities, plus some spacey, rhythm-rocked, shock-sequential or synth-minimalistic pasts of effective and well-sustained calibers. The general (and critical) style is, therefore, cold electronic music, spontaneous rock or avant-garde, wall-sound environmentalism and cosmic-fracture.

Four stars, it's Frohmader's classic and a, literally, work of treacherous emotions.

Review by Guldbamsen
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.

Review by ALotOfBottle
4 stars Peter Frohmader was born in 1958 in Munich, Germany. While in his teen years, he witnessed a radical musical and cultural revolution in his motherland. Only around the age of 12, he would be listening to artists such as Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, and Ash Ra Tempel, which eventually led him to form his first bands - the avant-garde Alpha Centauri, Tangerine Dream-inspired Electronic Delusion as well as Kanaan, with stronger leanings towards a highly experimental branch jazz-rock. In 1979, he started a solo project Nekropolis, under which he recorded and self-released Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich, which was limited only to 500 copies. The record was pressed by Record Partner Hamburg.

Peter Frohmader's unique musical vision was, at least partly, a result of various experiences and influences he had come across. Besides inspiration from his countrymen, Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel, Tangerine Dream, Amon Düül II or Can, he admits to his Francophile leanings. "If I had to choose anyone to work with, it would be Art Zoyd, maybe even Christian Vander of Magma, Bernard Szajner - now there's a fine, a very underrated French synthesist. Not to mention Heldon, Richard Pinhas...", he confesses in an interview for The Wire magazine from 1995. Furthermore, he also drew influences from 20th century classical composers: "Early Darmstadt-era Stockhausen, Ligeti, Penderecki - very atmospheric music." These elements combined with forward-thinking Frohmader's creative, experimental nature contribute to what Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich came to be. And most surprisingly, as eclectic as they are, a good most of these ingredients can be heard on this album.

"Hölle Im Angesicht" opens side one, labeled "Hollenzyklus", with a high-pitched saturated guitar passage, which is quickly joined by a heavy-hitting rhythm section. With the very first notes the darkest auras are brought to mind, setting the right pace for the rest of the work by fueling the listener's imagination. The track quickly dons a very gloomy, unsettling character. The guitar part can still be heard in the background, but drums and bass guitar, laying down slowly progressing chords drenched in very a dark reverb timbre, have, by now, evidently taken the lead. "Fegefeuer" once again begins with high notes of a heavily distorted guitar, which is once again joined by heavy drums and a throbbing bass, which becomes a bit more prominent, playing what could be called a "melody" (although it does not fully resemble melody in the traditional sense of the word). Although the first two tracks are quite similar in length, construction, and their disquieting tonality, they might very well be interpreted as two alternative ways of making a one musical statement differently. "Unendliche Qual" opens with a rather simple bass riff, which is quickly joined by drums. The overall feel of the track is quite punchy. In fact, "Unendliche Qual" would lose its abstract, ambient climate, if it were not for the blurry, melodic, choir-like electronic accompaniment in the background. Suddenly, the beat disappears and the sinister, windy electronic voice slowly descends into the unknown. A very similar inflection accompanied by distant yowling opens "Krypta", the first piece that does not follow the heavy stylistic set by the previous tracks. From between the slow waves of the softly pulsating drone, there appear various industrial-sounding synthesizer effects, which, as if unwillingly, play somewhat of a very amorphous, tenuous melody.

A delicate hiss of wind is the first thing one will hear after flipping to side two, labeled "Nachtzyklus", or in other words at the beginning of the track "Mitternachtsmesse II." Somehow, the very hiss unnoticeably transforms into a one-tone drone surrounded by different sounds, which, although they are just small details, boost up the precarious atmosphere immensely. The appearance of the bass guitar is marked with a relatively simple groove it commences to play. At one point, drums slowly start to loom from behind the instrument's part, however, not starting anything of an inside revolution, as the groove slowly turns towards foggy, menacing sounds of drum cymbals and various effects played backwards. Next up, "Inquanok" begins with a static, machine-like synthesizer note, which, as the piece grows in its power, gets accompaniment from various swirling electronic and guitar noises and drums. As the overall texture becomes gradually denser, the sound suddenly lowers in its pitch and equally suddenly disappears. A deep, slowly evolving, melodic synthesizer passage, very much in the vein of some of Klaus Schulze's works, but darker, lays the foundation for "Ghul." Although very lazily, the piece starts to gain power and might, at the same time becoming more spacious and dynamically varied. Numerous dark, bell-like percussion effects soaked with a healthy dose of echo build up the tension since the very beginning of "Pagan." The tension is not resolved anyhow, which gives it a very symbolic, apocalyptic meaning, which can also be said - in retrospect - about the whole album.

With its eerie album art, Musik Aus Dem Shattenreich feels like an odyssey through the darkest nooks of what human brain is capable of creating. A diverse plethora of Peter Frohmader's influences is firmly reflected in the music of Nekropolis. The experimentation with alternative ways of playing an instrument, electronics, echoes, saturation, and exploring new sounds and noises as a whole turned out very successful, helping the visionary composer create musical tensions, disturbing atmospheres, and take the listener to places they would highly likely not want to find themselves in. Often, through his music, Frohmader even comes close to somewhat abusing the listener, playing with his emotions . Musik Aus Dem Shattenreich is an incredibly innovative, cutting-edge, moody album, which somehow did not enjoy enough of a success nor a great amount of appreciation. Nothing short of a masterpiece and a jewel of German music.

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