Title: Music Für Metropolis
Label: Bureau B
There’s a theory that, when a creative artist reaches a certain age, he loses the passion and energy of youth. Danger and edge escapes his inventive flow while the spark is dulled and the comforts of life blun his previously witty and honed senses.
Just listen to this album and prove to yourself what a complete heap of bollocks this so-called truism really is.
The late and certainly lamented Dieter Moebius (he died in 2015) is and was for many years, a legend. Later in life, he certainly didn’t need the hassle anymore. He had already proved himself many times over. Sporting his dry sense of humour, he was a pioneer in the legendary krautrock outfit, Cluster/Kluster/Qluster with Conrad Schnitzler and Hans Joachim Roedelius, then with Roedelius and Neu!’s Michael Rother as Harmonia and then he taught Brian Eno a thing or two during their collaboration.
Moebius was 68 when he produced this playful work (I love that each of the four tracks on this CD are just over 10 minutes each, there is a certain pattern here alone). It was the result of an invitation, to create music to Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 silent film, Metropolis. The music was pre-arranged with samples to be treated with effects that would be combined during a live improvisation.
The idea, at the time was to create an album from this music but Moebius passed away before he could do so.
This album has been released with the help of Dieter’s widow, Irene plus his long-term musical collaborator’s Jonas Förster, Tim Story and Jon Leidecker. All contributed to the edits and the mastering. The latter is pretty decent, incidentally, with no obvious brightness harming the midrange or blooming around the bass. There is a spotlight around the midrange but the nature of it is by no means harmful to the ears. It just adds a slight gloss to the presentation.
The music itself combines a mechanical grandeur with the Moebius humour. For example, the third track, Tiefenbahnen, combines an almost pantomime-like spooky ghoul effect with the lonely bell chimes that tell of mechanical construction and mechanical progress along with an industrial inevitability combined with mystery. It’s a work of great delicacy and subtlety and a fitting tribute to the man himself.