Sunday, January 18, 2015

Metropolis - 1974 - Metropolis


01. Birth (5:30)
02. Metropolis (9:56)
03. Superplastikclub (4:24)
04. Dreamweaver (6:30)
05. Glass Roofed Courts (4:52)
06. Ecliptic (9:41)

- Ute Kannenberg / vocals, percussion
- Thomas Hildebrand / drums, percussion, choir
- Helmut Binzer / guitars, choir
- Manfred Opitz / keyboards, vocals, acoustic guitar
- Michael Westphal / bass, choir
- Michael Duwe / vocals, guitar

guest musicians:
- Heinz Loch / flute
- Guiseppe Solera / oboe
- Hartmut Westphal / string & brass arrangements

METROPOLIS was a short-lived band from Berlin - 1973 initiated by Michael Duwe who has been an early member of AGITATION FREE and produced "Seven UP" with ASH RA TEMPEL. Other members to have former collaborations with wellknown bands were drummer Thomas Hildebrand (MYTHOS) and Michael Westphal (ASH RA TEMPEL).

Their eponymous debut was recorded December 1973 in Munich. Very rare as vinyl and in the early 90s also released by the Germanofon label as an unauthorized bootleg on CD. A concept album with clear musical influences because 'Mickie' Duwe also participated at the Berlin "Hair" performance. So there is a special vocal emphasis (Duwe's voice was close to Bowie) combined with a blend of several styles like Symphonic, Folk, Blues, Jazz- and Krautrock, very innovative and unique at that time.

 Why this German band remains overlooked is beyond my imagination.Metropolis were sort of a German Kraut supergroup, originally born in 1972 and apparently led by keyboardist Manfred Opitz (from Agitation Free) and bassist Michael Westphal, who had been playing together in an obscure Zarathustra group, and were surrounded by Michael Sauber on sax, ex-Mythos drummer Thomas Hildebrand and Mickie Duwe from Agitation Free on guitar/vocals.A bit later female singer Ute Kannenberg, aka Tanja Berg of Os Mundi fame joined the band along with Helmut Binzer on guitar.Metropolis recorded their sole self-titled album for Pan Records in December 1973 at Studio 70 in Munich, the album was eventually released the following year.

Metropolis' style comes the closest it gets to the offerings by TOMORROW'S GIFT, OKTOBER, early MYTHOS and the likes, an impressive amalgam of psychedelic leftovers, Kraut jams and symphonic orientations.Surprisingly though the material is very consistent with different sections in the same track containing spaced-out experiments, Classical interludes and psychedelic rockers, dominated by a frenetic Manfred Opitz and his flexible keyboard acrobatics and the dual guitars of Duwe and Binzer.They come as a blend of BABE RUTH, HOELDERLIN and MYTHOS at the very end with mid-length and long tracks, filled with orchestral moves, hypnotic soundscapes, jazzy leanings and rural flute drives.Excellent execution on organ and Mellotron by Opitz delivers the appropriate symphonic images to break frequently into female-fronted, aggresive grooves and passing often through psychedelic mannerims with keyboards, flute and acoustic guitar in evidence.The longer pieces are fantastic examples of eclectic Progressive Rock with Folk and Classical spices into a Kraut Rock wrapping, dangerously balancing between tight structures, rockin' power and loose playing.

After the release of the album Kannenberg and Binzer left Metropolis.Ahead of its time the remaining members created a multi-media show with projectors, based on a sci-fi story of author Ray Bradbury, and performed it during the 75' Christmas Eve.After a last concert in 1976 during the ''Sommergarten unter dem Funkturm'' festival Metropolis disbanded.Duwe found the ''Albatros'' concert agency and formed Mickie D's Unicorn, Manfred Opitz formed Lilli's Berlin, Westphal played with Ash Ra Tempel and Hildebrand played with the cover band Tequila Sunrise.

Unknown pearl of mid-70's Kraut Rock with symphonic and jazzy touches.Great keyboard work, inspired psychedelic atmospheres and plenty of tapping rhythms with an aggressive female voice.No less than strongly recommended.

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