Formed in 1989, German guitar trio Maeror Tri (including Stefan Knappe,
who runs an avantgarde label) released a number of cassettes of
white noise halfway between Glenn Branca's symphonies,
Throbbing Gristle's early industrial
nightmares and future
Seefeel's ambient frescos.
Most of their work has been rediscovered after they disbanded.
During their lifetime, they released only 4 proper CDs, followed by several
posthumous anthologies. Alas, the core of their art is in the limited-edition
cassettes, only partially compiled on CD.
Dedicated To A New Dawn (Baracken Records, 1988)
Perception Kills (Baracken Records, 1988)
Peak Experience (Harsh Reality Music, 1989)
Somnia Et Expergisci (IRRE Tapes, 1990)
Ambient Dreams (ZNS Tapes, 1990 - Beta-Lactam Ring, 2007) was perhaps
the archetype of their art of using field recordings of natural sounds to
produce ghostly drones.
Sensuum Mendacia (Direction Music, 1991)
Subliminal Forces (Tonspur Tapes, 1991)
Hypnobasia (Old Europa Cafe, 1992)
Venenum (Audiofile Tape, 1992)
Saltatrix (Drone, 1993)
Yearning For The Secret(s) Of Nature (Fools Paradise, 1993)
Mind Reversal (Hithlahabuth, 1993)
Archaic States (G.R.O.S.S., 1993)
Ultimate Time (Old Europa Cafe, 1994)
Ambiguitas (Lebensraum, 1995)
The Beauty Of Sadness (Direction Music, 1996)
Hypnobasia/ Ultimate Time (Old Europa Cafe, 2005) collects two cassettes
from 1992 and 1994. The former is one of their most avantgarde works. The
second is a collection of rarities.
Their first CD,
Multiple Personality Disorder (Korm Plastics, 1993), was a concept
album (in four long parts, all recorded in 1991)
that served as a summary of the techniques learned so far. Possibly
too cold and programmatic, the album failed to deliver the intensity of
some of the cassette pieces, although their mastery of distorting and layering
guitar sounds is in full display.
Their technique of layering and droning reached a peak with
Myein (ND, 1995 - Waystyx, 2005), a monumental work recorded in 1992
and 1993 and divided into three lengthy suites
that well exemplify three aspects of their art:
the gothic crescendo of gloomy drones of Phlogiston, that slowly turns
into a minimalist pulse for a violin orchestra and then explodes in pure
the wavering ambient drones of Desiderium, and the
47-minute Myein, whose cosmic rumble first evokes vast emptiness,
then disintegrates into soft tinkling bells, then stretches itself to become
a mystical "om" lazily spreading over galactic distances.
As far as droning music goes, this is creative and emotional, although
certainly not revolutionary.
A few singles offered less uncompromising relics of their guitar manipulations:
Physis (Fools Paradise, 1995),
Mystagogus (Noise Museum, 1995),
Exorbitant (Ant-Zen, 1996).
The Beauty Of Sadness (1996 - Tantric Harmonies, 2005) marked a
change in tone, towards a less menacing atmosphere.
The trio disbanded in 1996, right after
Language Of Flames And Sound (Old Europa Cafe, 1996),
recorded between 1992 and 1995 and containing
the 33-minute Origo,
but the flow of recordings did not stop.
Mort Aux Vaches (Staalplaat, 1997) was a symphony in three movements.
The music was not only thick and dense but also articulated across
a broad spectrum of emotions.
The posthumous Emotional Engramm (Irirs Light, 1997) is a collection
of unreleased tracks, by far their most accessible recording.
Meditamentum (Holonom- Manifold, 2005) and
Meditamentum II (Manifold, 1999) are compilations of (short) tracks from
the cassette-only editions and probably serve best as an introduction to the
Hypnotikum I (Soleilmoon, 1998) and
Hypnotikum II (Poeta Negra, 1999) are samples of live material.
The Singles (EE Tapes, 2005) collects Maeror Tri's four singles
from 1994 to 1998 (the tribal Physis,
the droning Mystagogus, Exorbitant, Pleroma of 1996).
Stefan Knappe also published albums under the moniker Troum
(which means "dream" in ancient German) that offer hypnotic tracks of ambient
droning music created from heavily-processed acoustic instruments: the limited-edition cassette
Dreaming Muzak (1998 - Kokeshidisk, 2008), containing gloomy static
Ryna (Myotis, 1998 - Transgredient, 2007),
and the mediocre Sen (Mort Aux Vaches, 2000 - - Equation, 2008).
One of Knappe's major achievements was Troum's trilogy of pagan/shamanic
ambient music dedicated to the aboriginal word for "Dreamtime", "Tjukurrpa":
Tjukurrpa - Harmonies (Transgredient, 2001),
Tjukurrpa - Drones (Transgredient, 2001) and
Tjukurrpa - Rhythms And Pulsations (Transgredient, 2003).
The first part, Harmonies, opens with one of the highlights,
the 16-minute Wrota Sfer, a tenuous drone that
slowly spins out a mournful motif, like a slow-motion requiem, evoking
a benign supernatural force singing its "om" to the universe from a
superhuman distance, eventually swallowed by a wavering nebula of notes.
From here to the solemn cosmic music of
of early Klaus Schulze the step is short:
Licht-Brandung explores inscrutable celestial emptiness in a tone
that is both ecstatic and tragic;
and in fact Knappe's method of melodic modulations is better suited for
the more religious tone of Zayin.
The drones of Gluoen mix, overlap and fuel each other in order to
create an almost symphonic dimension.
The (simulated) tolling bells of Skaun[ei]s sing in unison
another astral hymn, but this time the idea is to set a
minimalist repetition against a zither-like melody.
Coming after so much meditational and contemplative music,
the dark, distorted and frantic Mada Shaunda seems to belong to another
The ten-minute Mirrored In You (Dedicated To Martyn Bates) moves in
that very direction by erecting a temple of oceanic panic (whose quieter
aftermath feels no less sinister).
Bookended by two philosophical essays, this album set the foundation for
a more austere program of droning music.
Drones is only slightly different from Harmonies. The fundamental
concepts are the same. The focus, however, is on the droning, whereas the
previous album focused on generating melody and harmony.
Therefore the 15-minute Scurphen toys with a rumble, that
one can relate to bombers in the sky approaching their target or to
the echo of a monk's choir inside a cavernous chapel, and how it dissolves into
clouds of smoke.
The nine-minute Trahan weaves a similar tapestry of ominous drones,
first a distant echo of explosions and then a massive distorted tsunami.
The ten-minute Tiefenrausch is even more explicit in trying to
create an atmosphere of terror.
The twelve-minute Dhren, like it or not, is in fact a pulsation (a
"rhythm"), except that very little happens to it: its only function seems to
be to create suspense. Ditto for the 14-minute Afgod, a simple loop
of industrial-grade bursts of sound that only towards the end reveals its chant-like undercurrent.
The general tone of this second part of the trilogy is significantly more
Rhythms And Pulsations emphasizes the rhythmic component that was
already latent in the first two parts.
The machine-gun loop of Ignis Sacer leads to the
booming spaceship takeoff sort of mayhem, promising a cinematic quality
that the rest of the album does not fullfil.
The standouts are probably
Saiwala, an intriguing coupling of ancestral jungle drums and monastery chanting,
and the industrial symphony Reigen Taumelnder Geister built over
a maze of dissonant patterns.
The confused industrial metronomy of Orphne,
the quasi-dance music of Wheaio,
the drumming solo Airoeins,
the subliminal seashell buzz of Waian / Moys
are a bit too facile.
Sigqan (2003 - Transgredient, 2009) unfolds over the course of
three movements for a grand total of 63 minutes. The first movement consists
of majestic drones that roam vast spaces in the tradition of
Klaus Schulze, evoking the vision of
galactic monoliths and the eventual apparition of a blinding light.
The middle movement is itself divided into two
parts: the first one returns to the organic quasi-melodic ambient music of
Harmonies, and the second one restarts from a deep bass tone that
then keeps morphing into different hissing sounds (all in all, a rather
The final movement plunges into bleak vibrating mental spaces and keeps
revolving around an invisible center of mass like falling into a
As it is often the case with music that straddles the border between cosmic
(a highly dynamic, cinematic form) and ambient (a static, contemplative form),
Troum's project is limited by the tension between introversion and extroversion,
which is rarely resolved in satisfying terms.
The four (untitled) "circular" suites of Autopoiesis (Small Voices, 2004)
basically expand on the concept of the third movement of Sigqan.
The second suite buries its initial loops in a subsonic rumble and sinister
breathing. The third one accelerates a pulsation until it is joined by a
distorted glissando that de facto mimicks a psychedelic guitar solo.
The final one stages a simple crescendo of waves of vocal drones.
All four of them lack depth, indulge in trivial loops and don't seem to know
how to end. Each could be better summarized in a few minutes instead of
spreading for ten or more minutes. If the point was to evoke the process
of autopoiesis, it probably failed. It is more likely that these were
just four unreleased pieces that accidentally ended up on the same album.
The three lengthy tracks of droning guitars on
Nahtscato (Paranoise Records, 2005),
the two off Objectlessness (Mystery Sea, 2005),
(Pre)-Symbolism and Echoes Of A Boundless Existence,
and the picture disc Ajin (Equation, 2006)
continued these studies on the organization of sound.
Dissolution (Fario, 2006) was a collaboration between Troum and
French industrial composer Christian Renou.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Ascanio Borga) |
Formatisi nel 1989, il trio chitarristico Maeror Tri (con Stefan Knappe, che ha anche fondato un'etichetta di avanguardia) pubblico' un certo numero di cassette di
rumore bianco a meta' strada tra le sinfonie di Glenn Branca, gli incubi industriali dei Throbbing Gristle e i futuri affreschi ambient dei Seefeel. La maggior parte
del loro lavoro e' stato riscoperto dopo che si erano sciolti. Durante la loro vita, pubblicarono soltanto 4 cd veri e propri, seguiti da diverse antologie postume.
Purtroppo, il cuore della loro arte e' nelle cassette ad edizione limitata, solo parzialmente compilate su cd:
Dedicated To A New Dawn (Baracken Records, 1988) ,
Perception Kills (Baracken Records, 1988) ,
Peak Experience (Harsh Reality Music, 1989) ,
Somnia Et Expergisci (IRRE Tapes, 1990) ,
Ambient Dreams (ZNS Tapes, 1990) ,
Sensuum Mendacia (Direction Music, 1991) ,
Subliminal Forces (Tonspur Tapes, 1991) ,
Hypnobasia (Old Europa Cafe, 1992) ,
Venenum (Audiofile Tape, 1992) ,
Saltatrix (Drone, 1993) ,
Yearning For The Secret(s) Of Nature (Fools Paradise, 1993) ,
Mind Reversal (Hithlahabuth, 1993) ,
Archaic States (G.R.O.S.S., 1993) ,
Ultimate Time (Old Europa Cafe, 1994) ,
Ambiguitas (Lebensraum, 1995) ,
The Beauty Of Sadness (Direction Music, 1996).
Il loro primo cd, Multiple Personality Disorder (Korm Plastics, 1993), fu un concept album (in quattro lunghe parti, tutte registrate nel 1991) che servi' come una
dimostrazione delle tecniche che avevano imparato sino ad allora. Forse troppo freddo e programmatico, l'album falli' nel trasmettere l'intensita' di alcuni dei pezzi
su cassetta, sebbene sia un esempio esauriente della loro maestria con i suoni stratificati di chitarra distorta.
La loro tecnica di stratificazione e di droning raggiunse un picco con Myein (ND, 1995 - Waystyx, 2005), un lavoro monumentale registrato tra il 1992 e il 1993, e
diviso in tre lunghe suite che ben esemplificano tre aspetti della loro arte: i droni gotici di Phlogiston, l'elettronica ambient di Desiderium, e i ghirigori cosmici
di Myein (47 minuti).
Un po' di singoli offrirono resti meno intransigenti delle loro manipolazioni chitarristiche: Physis (Fools Paradise, 1995), Mystagogus (Noise Museum, 1995), Exorbitant
The Beauty Of Sadness (1996 - Tantric Harmonies, 2005) segno' un cambio di tono, verso un'atmosfera meno minacciosa.
Il trio si sciolse nel 1996, subito dopo Language Of Flames And Sound (Old Europa Cafe, 1996), registrato tra il 1992 e il 1995 e contenente Origo (33 minuti), ma il
flusso di registrazioni non si fermo'.
Mort Aux Vaches (Staalplaat, 1997) fu una sinfonia in tre movimenti. La musica non era soltanto fitta e densa, ma anche articolata attraverso un largo spettro di emozioni.
Il postumo Emotional Engramm (Irirs Light, 1997) e' una collezione di inediti, di gran lunga la loro registrazione piu' accessibile. Meditamentum (Holonom- Manifold, 2005)
e Meditamentum II (Manifold, 1999) sono compilation di brani (brevi) tratti dalle edizioni in cassetta e probabilmente fungono al meglio come introduzione al trio.
Hypnotikum I (Soleilmoon, 1998) e Hypnotikum II (Poeta Negra, 1999) sono composti di materiale live.
Stefan Knappe ha in seguito pubblicato album con il monicker Troum (che significa "sogno" in tedesco arcaico) il quale offre brani ipnotici fatti con strumenti acustici:
Ryna (Myotis, 1998), e la trilogia dedicata alla parola aborigena per "tempo del sogno" ("dreamtime"), "Tjukurrpa": Tjukurrpa - Harmonies (Transgredient, 2000), Tjukurrpa - Drones
(Transgredient, 2001) e Tjukurrpa - Rhythms And Pulsations (Transgredient, 2003). Knappe sembra intento a creare un tipo di musica ambient pagana/sciamanica, mentre i
quattro brani "circolari" Autopoiesis (Small Voices, 2004) e i tre lunghi pezzi di droni chitarristici di Nahtscato (Paranoise Records, 2005) furono piu' simili a studi
sull'organizzazione del suono.
Hypnobasia/ Ultimate Time (Old Europa Cafe, 2005) contiene due cassette tra il 1992 e il 1994. La prima e' uno dei loro lavori piu' avanguardistici, la seconda e' una
compilation di rarita'.
The Singles (EE Tapes, 2005) contiene quattro singoli dei Maeror Tri tra il 1994 e il 1998 (la tribale Physis, i droni di Mystagogus, Exorbitant, Pleroma del 1996).
Autopoiesis (Small Voices, 2004) consiste di quattro tracce (di world-music ambientale) che si "cannibalizzano" l'una con l'altra.
Dissolution (Fario, 2006) e' una collaborazione col compositore industriale francese Christian Renou.
Il picture disc Ajin (Equation, 2006), e' un esempio della musica da camera minimalista e "per droni" di Troum.