Maeror Tri and Troum

(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Multiple Personality Disorder , 6/10
Myein , 7/10
Language Of Flames And Sound , 6/10
Mort Aux Vaches , 5/10
Troum: Ryna (1998), 6/10
Troum: Tjukurrpa - Harmonies (2001), 7/10
Troum: Tjukurrpa - Drones (2001), 6.5/10
Troum: Tjukurrpa - Rhythms And Pulsations (2003), 6/10
Troum: Sigqan (2003), 6/10
Troum: Autopoiesis (2004), 5/10
Troum: Nahtscato (2005), 5.5/10
Troum: Shutun (2006), 7/10
Troum: Aiws (2007) , 5.5/10
Troum: Grote Mandrenke (2012), 6/10

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 violent cacophony, 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 trio.

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 guitar music, 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 album. 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 brooding.
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, and 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 weak piece). The final movement plunges into bleak vibrating mental spaces and keeps revolving around an invisible center of mass like falling into a vortex. 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 (Ant-Zen, 1996). 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.

Shutun (Old Europa Cafe, 2006) was a collaboration between Troum and All Sides (Nina Kernicke) that consists of a single 51-minute piece, a much better example of how to transpose into music the combination of biological metabolism, Freudian stream of consciousness, sci-fi vision and cinematic soundscapes. A neutral, indifferent, cold loop/vortex breaks into a cosmic rising of lightwaves but is soon swallowed into a gloomy sea of noise; and this grows into a pulsing wall of distortion; the pulsing turning into a mechanical monster's heartbeat, and this one becoming the underlying rhythm for an ardent guitar-like prayer.

Troum's Aiws (Transgredient, 2007) was an analog lo-fi recording that featured two ten-minute pieces, Ahmateins and [Ga]plaian, of sublime ambient noise music, but no real standout.

The double-disc Eald-ge-streon (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2010) collects Troum rarities.

The 44-minute suite of Grote Mandrenke (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2012) was another expressionist peaks of Troum's career, a work of theatrical symphonic dissonance. The chaos of distorted drones that opens the proceedings actually hides a pop melody and a percussion rhythm. The collision between the two elements yields a section of turbulent, shapeless shivers with the beat gone. Shutun's guitar-like prayer resurfaces in the middle of Grote Mandrenke but in the much murkier context of harsh, sullen drones wrestling with each other. And the rhythm returns, industrial-grade and coldly mechanical. And that's the foundation for an even louder and wilder sidereal "guitar" flight, a powerful Wagnerian moment. The last section is just a ghostly chant that may or may not represent the end of a journey into the psyche. The album is presented as one continuous piece but is really several pieces collated together.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Matteo Gentile)

Shutun (Old Europa Cafe, 2006) Ŕ stata una collaborazione tra Troum e Allseits (Nina Kernicke) che consiste in un singolo pezzo di 51 minuti, un buon esempio di come trasporre in musica la combinazione di metabolismo biologico, flusso di coscienza freudiano, visione fantascientifica e paesaggi sonori cinematografici. Un loop/vorticismo freddo, neutro e indifferente si sfalda in un innalzamento cosmico di onde luminose ma viene presto inghiottito da un mare cupo di rumore; e questo cresce in un'entitÓ pulsante di distorsione; la pulsazione che si trasforma nel battito cardiaco di un mostro meccanico, e questo che diventa il ritmo sottostante per la verace preghiera come di una chitarra. Troum's Aiws (Transgredient, 2007) era una registrazione lo-fi analogica che conteneva due brani da dieci minuti, Ahmateins e [Ga]plaian , di sublime musica ambient noise , ma non proprio un vero successo. Il doppio disco Eald-ge-streon (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2010) raccoglie le raritÓ di Troum. La suite di 44 minuti Grote Mandrenke (Beta-Lactam Ring, 2012) Ŕ stata un altro picco espressionista della carriera di Troum, un'opera di dissonanza sinfonica teatrale. Il caos di sonoritÓ drone distorte che apre il il processo musicale nasconde in realtÓ una melodia pop e una sezione ritmica di percussioni. La collisione tra i due elementi produce una sensazione di brividi turbolenti e informi,anche a causa dell'andamento ritmico irregolare. La preghiera come di una chitarra di Shutun riaffiora nel mezzo di Grote Mandrenke , ma nel contesto molto pi¨ oscuro di sonoritÓ drone aspre e imbronciate che lottano tra loro. E il ritmo ritorna, un ritmo dal sentore industriale e freddamente meccanico. E questa Ŕ la base per un volo "chitarristico" siderale ancora pi¨ rumoroso e selvaggio, un potente momento wagneriano. L'ultima sezione Ŕ solo un canto spettrale che pu˛ o meno rappresentare la fine di un viaggio nella psiche. L'album Ŕ presentato come un pezzo continuo ma in realtÓ sono molti pezzi raccolti insieme.

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