Saturday, May 17, 2008
Maschine Nr. 9, HEADMOVIE
Phillips, 1973-1974 (sources vary, but these dates are the most common); out of print
Technically 2 tracks, 55:10
This is definitely one of the top five Holy Grails of the Nurse With Wound list. While technically a krautrock album, this goes far beyond anything ever labelled as such. HEADMOVIE is exactly what its title says. The only real comparison is like a cross between Miereanu's LUNA CINESE and some of the avant-theatre troupes on the list like Brühwarm or La Grand Magic Circus. Maschine Nr. 9 was a very loose collaboration. The main players were Wolf Wondratschek, Bernd Brummbär and Georg Deuter. Guests included Renate Knaup (of krautrock legends Amon Düül II) and about a dozen others. Knaup and Deuter were probably the best known contributors, with Deuter having a prolific solo career. HEADMOVIE begins with strange metallic echoes and clanging noises. After about two minutes, a narrator starts speaking in German (the predominant language on this album). The music that accompanies this audio movie includes gorgeous ambient synths, strange pulsating minimalism, repetitive folk motifs, fuzz guitar freakouts, and much MUCH more. The instrumentation seems to be mostly synth-based, but that's not entirely clear. None of the music plays for very long, being more a soundtrack to the words than anything else. Different speakers come up at different points, and some very cleverly *ahem* borrowed bits of such previous experimental efforts as "Revolution No. 9" are dropped in to spice up the weirdness. Curiously, at one point samples of the Beatles' "Good Night" are repeated; why this reasonably normal song received such attention is anyone's guess. I do wish I spoke German so I could understand the story more, but I'm fairly sure it's science fiction, most likely with a surrealist twist. "Maschine Nr. 9" is very clearly spoken several times during the record, so who knows? Perhaps that was the name of the "head movie". This is an incredibly difficult listening experience, but it is extraordinarily rewarding. An absolute treasure of the avant-garde; where is the reissue????