Friday, 25 April 2014

Metabolist – “Stagmanaut” (Cassette King CK2) 1981

The criminally overlooked Metabolist existed at the end of the seventies, occupying the harsh hinterland between prog and punk. A no-mans land where only the very bravest groups/ non-musicians had the courage to inhabit.
The exhumed ghost of French Zeuhl proggers Magma haunts this cassette; but the clinical intellectual sterility of Christian Vander’s outfit is replaced with a non-musicality and an earthy honesty or soul. This is brain music that is channelled from the realms of natural law. Their nearest peers can only be This Heat or Pere Ubu, and that is by far no insult, but a compliment of the highest order.
I assume that they sing, not in an invented language, a la their Zeuhl influence, but in an incomprehensible nonsense that had to be improvised, not thought about, a stream of consciousness that makes sense only to those open minded enough to accept it; which of course there were very few in 1979 where Sham 69 ruled the realm of the lumpen masses, with an iron major chord. (For the record I love Sham 69....that too is another form of soul music).
“Stagmanaut” is their début cassette release on the Dromm label, and opens with the repetitive industrial grind of “Cranes/Ymuzgo”. A bleak industrial electronic intro has one thinking Throbbing Gristle’s “2nd Annual Report” (I presume that’s the “Cranes” of the piece?!); which is then transformed into a space echoed Indian rain dance on lsd25, with accompanying cheapo synth and Clanging percussion.
“Pigface” follows with more extra-terrestrial Red Indian style chanting, guitar played by someone with claws, and somebody else beating relentlessly on a floor tom. I didn’t hear a chorus, or a middle eight, and No chords! much for the “Here’s three chords, now go and start a band” quote from some punkzine in 1977. Real punkers should say “There’s NO chords, now make a record ”.
Basically, this cassette carries on in this very unique and strange way, nodding only once towards vague rock riffage on track 4, Glory, where a Drum Kit and some pop pastiche lyrics make an appearance. There’s even a hint of a stilted guitar solo!

Track Listing:




Johnny Loves You

Glory mp3 (click her for sample track)

Quack Backwards



bill said...

Farkin ell Mr JZ can't hardly keep up with the rate of your AMAZING stuff going up here. You is on FIRE!! :)

Anonymous said...

thanx fo' metabolist,& inducin' salivation wit' yer comparison to thee almighty MAGMA!!! d'ya have anymore uk genius that you'd consider zeuhl-like?!?

Jonny Zchivago said...

I think the only Zeuhl-likeness about this is the invented language,but it can be likened to a more indisciplined 'punk' magma, if you know what i mean?
Not aware of any other UK Zeuhl.