PICTURE PALACE MUSIC: Metropolis Poetry (2011)
Updated: Aug 8, 2020
“This is an album all in contrasts and nuances, where superb melodies with fluid and furious rhythms are next to dark and tenebrous ambiences”
1 Overture 4:03
2 Holding Office 4:32
3 M-Device 5:56
4 Yoshiwara Nightclubbing Society 4:43
5 MMXXVI Accept the Present 3:29
6 Sermons for Dystopia 5:08
7 Lion-Man-Flow-Machine 5:09
8 New Freedom-Towers of Babel 5:19
9 Tangled High Mass 10:28
10 Metropolis Theme 6:03
11 Mediation Process 8:40
12 Poetry Metropolis 4:31
(CD 68:07) (V.F.)
After more than 6 years of existence and 12 albums and E.P., Picture Palace Music enters in the big league. Following Groove, which produced Midsummer in 2010, it's now Eastgate turns to show some interest in the phenomenon that is Picture Palace Music. Phenomenon because Thorsten Quaeschning's band always manages to produce albums of a very high artistic depth. Music which oscillates between prog and theatrical rock and skims EM roots on black and very poetic themes. Strongly inspired by the old German cinema (Symphony for Vampires in 2008), Picture Palace Music (PPM) decides to honour Fritz Lang and its movie Metropolis by presenting a work inspired by this legendary German movie released in1927. METROPOLIS POETRY reties with the dark and ambiguous style that PPM exploited so well on wonderful Symphony for Vampires, on Natatorium and also on Fairy Marsh Districts where quavering guitars go along with wonder to hesitating sequences in a musical panorama more than gloomy. So, welcome in the shadowy and mephistophelic Picture Palace Music's universe, there where the music has borders only your absence of imagination.
And it's with a soft solitary piano that Overture opens the album. Thorsten Quaeschning interprets a dark overture from which hesitating piano notes shake of their resounding waves on a dream to thousand torments and a melody to sombre fates. It's a very nice track which recalls me the dark intro of Añoranza on Curicculum Vitae 1. The echoing wave of Holding Office frees glaucous serpentines which chatter on oscillatory pulsations and ringing of glasses whereas a flickering rhythm surrounds this track that has a strange stationary rhythm. An odd rhythm which embraces curious African fragrances, Holding Office parades on flickered tssitt-tssitt surrounded by a fine alternating sequence which pounds in an amazing fauna of sound effects. M-Device follows with a slightly heavy sequence from which chords skip among riffs of nervous guitars. Agile tempo and riffs à la U2, M-Device rhythm dives into a heavy whirlwind where layers and guitar riffs border a tempo became more incisive with the entrance of good percussions. Guitars and synths become entangle on this slightly chaotic rhythmic structure, snidely fragmented and subtly oneiric, watered by moments with heavy riffs and bitten by brief solos of uncertain guitars. Four reverberating warning shots and a soft ballad announce Yoshiwara Nightclubbing Society. A ballad interrupted by these droning summons but which persists with a delicate piano and their notes dancing on a mysterious wavy-like metallic line. It's a line which deviates towards a more mordant rhythm where guitars slide and roar with frenzy on a heavy pace hammered by good percussions whilst being supported by a strong bass line. Guitars solos hoot such as imprisoned spectres on a heavy tempo. After this heavy and rather rock rhythm, MMXXVI Accept the Present proposes a nice electronic ballad of very ambient style where synth layers are intermingling in a sound firmament as strange as spectral. A cosmic interlude before the drum of Sermons for Dystopia's intro rolls a rhythmic which overlaps on guitar back. Sermons for Dystopia is a hallucinating track which sounds like western rides on an ascending spiralled structure. It's a track of which the sound effects amplify the musical insanity and which ends in a surprising musicality with its solos encircling by these western chords which are the origins of a track that has a lot of flamboyance. Lion-Man-Flow-Machine is a dark chthonian ode where gloomy choruses recite hymns felt by a choir from outer-world. It’s a murky and intense moment which inserted between Sermons for Dystopia and the passionate New Freedom-Towers of Babel, takes a multi-dimensional proportion.
Nevertheless, it's with a very simplistic and harmonious intro that starts New Freedom-Towers of Babel. But the rhythm quick becomes heavy and encircled with riffs and layers of howling guitars on a more agile sequencing pattern and an incontrollable tempo. And it's one of PPM's main assets; the art to merge guitars and synths on sequences and/or extremely nervous percussions. And so, it's how New Freedom-Towers of Babel is unwinding. Tangled High Mass intro is scented of Vangelis synth breezes. A synth disturbed by bells and which drags its nostalgia among warm and shrill laments from both synth and guitar strings tortured and triturated by a passion eroded by the years. It's a superb ambient caustic and sclerosed track which is dressing by a weak sieved musical light. Twists of guitars harpoon the rhythm of Metropolis Theme which is hammered by good percussions. Doubtless the most harmonious track here, it sounds like Tangerine Dream of the contemporary years with a fluid rhythm encircled by nice synth solos which get entangled in loops beneath an avalanche of percussions. Riffs and guitar solos Ambient and grafted by splendid oscillatory stratum, Mediation Process is in the same mould as MMXXVI Accept the Present. add a harmonious depth which follows since its first chords Metropolis Theme's evolution. It's a long ambient track with very poignant synth layers which flow like sinister violin tears. The soft breaths of flutes add a dimension of sadness and melancholy which have only an equal Picture Palace Music's gloomy theatrical musical universe. Poetry Metropolis ends this last PPM opus with a suave ballad where Chris Hausl's voice is of pleasant one harmonizing with a soft synth line which floats among gentle percussions as manual as electronic. It's a sweet ballad that ends in serenity this opus filled with torments that is METROPOLIS POETRY.
After an album rather mitigated in Midsummer, Picture Palace Music gets back full strength with a thematic album where all the creativity of PPM finds the originality of its first works. METROPOLIS POETRY is an album all in contrasts and nuances, where superb melodies with fluid and furious rhythms are next to dark and tenebrous ambiences which float and haunt in a universe to thousand ordeals. If Symphony For Vampires, Natatorium and Fairy Marsh Districts pleased you, METROPOLIS POETRY will do just as much!
Sylvain Lupari (May 31st, 2011) *****
Available at EastGate