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Peter Frohmader - Live 1983 CD (album) cover

LIVE 1983

Peter Frohmader


Progressive Electronic

3.08 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Released in 1983, this Live by Peter Frohmader (under Nekropolis) is already something that makes you a connoisseur of the project itself - not to mention, it also names you a rarity-hunter, even if it's not a challenge of the impossible kind. If so,, it's fairly expected to know something about the ground out of which this live has surfaced. It's not a special kind of a live recording to talk about, but as 1983 still proves a mature year for Nekropolis, with roots in classic styles, it's no simple stuff either. With highly significant debuts such as Musik Aus Dem Schattenreich(1979) and Nekropolis 2 (1980), is Live 1983 close, transitional or leap-forwarded from those essential marks? It's damn close (making Frohmader somewhat of a very serious composer during the usually lopsided/downsided 80s) or even better.

Musicianship could be hastly look over, if it would't show something unusual, as it is less common for a Nekropolis creation to be expanded beyond Frohmader's multi-instrumental (or multi-electronic) affair or beyond certain collaborations - a regular rock quartet automatically expands the nature of the performance itself. Even Frohmader is somewhat cold in applying authentic electronic pastes, focusing rather on bass and stick, plus on a fully syncopate work of effects, samples, sound denaturations - in a word or two, on rough experimenting. But alongside him, Rudi Haunreiter plays drums, Till Obermaier plays guitar and horns and Jürgen Jung comes with vocals in three or so pieces, all three acting out their role as if Nekropolis is a rock-electronic ensemble, jamming strange music throughout an insistent and fully-loaded concert.

The style closes to an even more nebulous appraise, as the generated rock fairly contains a complicated gene. Said more precisely, Live 1983 is an authentic session of kraut-rock, avant-garde and expressionism (on the level of dissonances and disarticulations). Of a dark, ravenous chemistry, the bold art conceived by the quartet (bold enough to be jammed on stage) differs from the same terrifying, black-mural, haunting and mind-tripping electro-sonic debut albums. Frohmader's passion for pure kraut-rock, that preceded Nekropolis' phase, could have very well lead to a less electronic moment such as this one, and while a certain amount of times the quartet picks up the intense rhythm of rock-structured or gravely avant-garde toppings, the acid, gloomy, incantational or sound-experimental parts sink it into kraut-rock "conventional" pressings, regardless of the fact that it may not sound alike the classic 70s gems. Stylistically, it's therefore a spin-wheel of a recital, the arrow always stopping on one of the major mentioned styles, if not in between. Frohmader masters his granite development in the sound section, but that's actually a more one-dimension technique. If his 1979-1980 "dark sonic experiments" are to remain the essential stuff, a surprise such as this Live remains, as said, a proof of Nekropolis's solid thrust into the larger 80s, with a maelstrom of hard (read: difficult) rock, snappy avant and unrefined experimentalism, that could satisfy, in this way, more than fans of one shared inclination.

At last, musically, even with the risk of putting it too much in a historical frame, Live 1983 can be placed, thanks to its different slides, in relation with psych/dark rock from late 60s onwards, with "sonic concerts" of the prior decade or with jam-based rock experiments of a difficult, raw, provocative or downright perplex level of expression. A typical rock rather than electro-related moment is the first piece, Hölle Im Angesicht, where unfortunately the electronic system is not warmed up yet, but generates anyway enough samples noises, in an upbeat with the guitar's loud, unstable pitch. The dark fusion in Tekeli-Li is one of two moments in which Jung recites in German, with a solid voice inspiring an open, awake sense, and one of several moments that, despite not due to style but to mood, reflects Frohmader's sadism and dark heart; or at least so it sounds. The vocals make me think of Dieter Klemm (or Gerd Wollschon?) from Floh de Cologne. Neutronen-Symphonie indicates an electronic affection, and than proves the connection right through a first set of real sequences, yet the guitar-bass combination is primary, burning down your neurons with some macabre-ironed hallucinating scratches. The synths grow metallic themselves in Knockenmark I, but with some extra avant-beats and weird fusion, the twist into Knockenmark II is again of a huffing, crazy rock span. Kleine Aster is a mark of space ambiance, climaxed by loud riffs; quite a good piece. Now, if you'd come across the idea that the whole mélange could actually have its progressive rock aroma as well, Psychofarm is the answer, despite simplistic, repeated impulses. The jam continues with a more noticeable drum line and with the constantly pushy schizoid guitar in Senchenschatz. An insane pleasure is finally listening to an epic such as Vorstadt Im Fohn, complex, bit industrial-like, back with the parlando-oriented text, shrouded in a black emulation; it turns more psych-rock towards the end, nevertheless having a lasting impact. Tote Stadt is close to the same maneuver, using more noise and atmospheric swarming, arching over to a reasonably well intense strumming, then vibrating out gravely. A kraut-electro intrinsic breath, no doubt.

Serious stuff from Peter Frohmader and his friends, in all, and a far from random dark music that makes me search deeper, to see if there's more alike or even better. While not 100% progressive and even less concerned with electronic processing - and, of course, it's not for anyone, it's still a work with the Nekropolis carved signature. I'd dare push it close to Frohmader's (Nekropolis') highlights.

Ricochet | 3/5 |


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