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Thread: Morte Macabre — Symphonic Holocaust

  1. #1

    Morte Macabre — Symphonic Holocaust

    I don't know how it is now with the availability of this album, but every self-respecting fan of modern prog-rock has a duty to know it. He doesn't have to love it, but he has to know it - necessarily, because it is one of the best pro-rock albums of the last several years.

    Morte Macabre was a one-time project invented by the musicians Anekdoten and Landberk. They came up with an idea to take some music from various horror films and record it their own way. They composed only two songs themselves, the title track and "Threats of Stark Reality". Anyway, the latter is only a short introduction to the next one - "Sequenza Ritmica e Tema". They reached for the music of various stylistic distant performers, such as jazz Krzysztof Komeda and rock Goblin, and then they matched it all to themselves and their style. Komeda's "Lullaby" - a song I associate as badly as possible - with a certain tragic event, which not all circumstances are clear to me. It hasn't given me peace of mind for ten years and it won't give me peace of mind as long as I live. And I'll probably find out exactly how it was on the other side. The figure of Komeda himself is also tragic. His strange, shocking death. Probably good God wanted to hear "Astigmatic" live. Anyway, every time I listen to "Lullaby" I get cold and sad. I think it's a lullaby to sleep on forever... For me it's the most poignant part on the album. There is some unexplained masochism in it, because I come back to this music more and more often.

  2. #2
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Welcome to PE, Stormstout! An auspicious first post!

    I have a special connection with this album, because my father wrote Rosemary's Baby (the novel), so I was of course very familiar with Komeda's theme for the fantastic film version (I'm not familiar with Komeda's life though - I'll have to look into that). Perhaps part of your dread of and attraction to the band's wonderful version comes from the fact that the Dakota, the building used in the film, is where John Lennon lived and was so violently taken from us? (In the book, the building is called The Bramford, a reference to Bram Stoker.)

    In any case, shortly after the album was released, Landberk/Morte Macabre bassist Stefan Dimle learned who my father was, and came to New York to visit me and to meet him. Stefan used to post on PE, as did Jan Erik Liljestrφm of Anekdoten. It was a fun time. He had my father sign a few things, and pose for a picture. Stefan and I (and a friend who came with Stefan - I forget his name but he was very nice) had a couple of nights on the town and also saw Bill Bruford perform at the Iridium club (this was maybe the Winter of 1999? It was freezing cold.)

    Morte Macabre is indeed a great album! And an evanescent combination of talents. I'm going to listen to it again soon now that you've mentioned it. It was supposed to be released on vinyl back then - I don't know if it was or not, but it must have been more recently, right?
    Last edited by JKL2000; 6 Days Ago at 04:10 AM.

  3. #3
    Hm. While I certainly don't find it "one of the best pro-rock albums of the last several years", it's a curious and quite alright one.

    It's been 22 years since its release, so quite a bit of stuff has somewhat happened since. But it was good then and it's fairly good still.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    ^ That's Scrotum Scissor. You'll get used to him!

  5. #5
    ^ No one never does. But you're right in that the rendition of Komeda's lullaby is definitely the very best thing on the record. I think I must have seen the picture another five times now during lockdown, and boy - did not only Polanski but his entire crew apparently "get" your dad's source material! It perfectly catches even the dark wit which leaks through parts of the book. What a fabulous film on a fantastic book, and frankly Komeda's soundtrack as a whole is extremely worthwhile.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  6. #6
    I only got this album a few years ago, and I think it's great. Not sure it stands up to the best work of the bands the members come from, but it's an interesting experiment that I think was very successful. Good stuff!

  7. #7
    JKL2000, you're Ira Levin's son? Well, now! How cool is that!
    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

  8. #8
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    I love this one, especially around Halloween. I believe it's long out of print now, of course. The last time I played it, my wife came in the room and said "Oh, I like that!" ... so I said, "Do you want to watch the film it's from?" ..."Sure, what is it?"

    Cannibal Holocaust.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    ^ That's Scrotum Scissor. You'll get used to him!
    I’m already used to it...I’m married

    Best
    Michael
    If it ain't acousmatique-It's crap

  10. #10
    Have this album on vinyl..Excelent!

  11. #11
    Never liked it that much. Even upon release. It has many boring moments and filler to my ears.
    Last edited by spacefreak; 5 Days Ago at 01:52 PM.
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    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infandous View Post
    Not sure it stands up to the best work of the bands the members come from
    THIS I agree with. Did Landberk's albums ever get reissued on CD? Scary to think some things like this will never see reissue on CD, only on vinyl. I guess I've lived when I did, and snatched up a lot of CDs while I could. Of course, if these are available as downloads, that's not so bad.

  13. #13
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Did Landberk's albums ever get reissued on CD?
    I don't think any of those have been in print since the mid-90s. Unless there was some dodgy reissue on the Tachika "label" from "Japan". (*cough*). There are still two Landberks I never did get. They've been on my want list for years, but you know how it is.
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  14. #14
    Profondo Giallo Crystal Plumage's Avatar
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    IIRC the Landberk/ Anekdoten guys recorded one track for the ... e tu vivrai nel terrore... double CD: Irrealta di suoni. Not on the MM CD, but it is on the Vinyl.
    After the recording they decided to record some more.
    The CD made me check out the movies and more Mellotron drenched Prog
    Stefan Dimle has said many times he will re-release the Landberk album with bonustracks. But these Swedes tend to take their time for things.
    Meanwhile listen to Morte Macabre live:
    HuGo
    ..:: Right, bring in the perverts! ::..
    "Very, very nice," said a man in the crowd,
    When the golden voice appeared.
    She was gold alright, but then so is rust.
    "Such a shame about the beard."

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    Member TheH's Avatar
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    Member AncientChord's Avatar
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    Yeah I got the cd when it first came out, and always loved the dark symphonic, avante-prog elements. Another example of the early prog revival in Scandinavia that embraces the dark elements of prog. And so glad that the 1990's bands brought the beloved mellotron back to the fold. No matter how prog music keeps recreating itself and modernizing, the old tron never seems to date itself. It's always been the perfect symphonic keyboard for the genre. And I think it's stayed so popular because it doesn't sound like an actual orchestra. It's always sounded like some other-worldly orchestra.
    Last edited by AncientChord; 5 Days Ago at 02:47 AM.
    Day dawns dark...it now numbers infinity.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Did Landberk's albums ever get reissued on CD? Scary to think some things like this will never see reissue on CD, only on vinyl.
    No. But neither is it scary. Death, nothingness and oblivion are a bit sad and at best a bit existentially disturbing, but not scary. Those traits are our common fate. No one will recall us, 'cause we're not important.

    All of the three original vinyls on the (Norwegian) Colours label are fetching farout prices now; 'berk, 'gard and 'doten. But I found the CD of Lonely Land (English-lyrics version of the debut Landberk, Riktigt Δkta) in a secondhand store here in Oslo just a couple of years ago. I believe it was 10$ or something like that, give or take its condition. They're more expensive on the 'bay, of course.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  18. #18
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    ^ That's Scrotum Scissor. You'll get used to him!
    And too bad for the antivaxers.

    And it looks like our new friend has gotten scared away. affraid.gif

    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    Never liked it that much. Even upon release. It has many boring moments and filler to my ears.
    Certainly one of the worst case of over-rated and over-hyped album, IMHO.
    It's OK (and maybe a tad more), but never lived up to the huge hype that accompanied its release

    Quote Originally Posted by infandous View Post
    I only got this album a few years ago, and I think it's great. Not sure it stands up to the best work of the bands the members come from, but it's an interesting experiment that I think was very successful. Good stuff!
    There is something similar to SH. 'Doten's Barker did a real 'tron-drenched soundtrack for a real spanish thriller movie (music is great, but I only have the movie DVD instead of the OST Cd

    http://www.progarchives.com/album.asp?id=34592

    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    I don't think any of those have been in print since the mid-90s. Unless there was some dodgy reissue on the Tachika "label" from "Japan". (*cough*). There are still two Landberks I never did get. They've been on my want list for years, but you know how it is.
    At one point, I had everything from 'Berk, but nowadays, I think I only have the debut album. TBH, I thought that only Riktigt (not even LL) was really special. Reine Fiske's guitars sonics are of course very endearing, but not enough to warrant ownership of all the albums he's appeared on.

    I remember trading the other albums at reasonable prices, because I never indulged in speculation. And thought theses CDs were sort of clutterring my shelves needlessly at the time. I did a CDr compilation of what I thought was worth it, but never get the urge to spin it (maybe nearing time to revisit it, though), so my guess is that I will never regret my outward-going move.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    Certainly one of the worst case of over-rated and over-hyped album, IMHO.
    It's OK (and maybe a tad more), but never lived up to the huge hype that accompanied its release
    I should probably go back and listen to this again, but my memory of this is that it did not live up to the effusive praise lumped on it at the time. One of the earliest releases to emphasize retro gear-fetishization over content.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

  20. #20
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana5140 View Post
    JKL2000, you're Ira Levin's son? Well, now! How cool is that!
    Scrotum Scissor or Trane will tell you it's overrated, but *I* think it's cool!

    Remember the first two rules of Progressive Ears:

    1) Never talk about Progressive Ears
    2) Never let someone else think a rare CD they have is actually good.
    3) The length of a thread is proportional to the degree of hyperbole present in the OP * the scarceness of the release(s) being discussed.

    In all seriousness, I think they're probably correct, but it doesn't mean anyone shouldn't enjoy the CD should they be lucky enough to own the genuine article.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    Remember the first two [sic?] rules of Progressive Ears:
    1) Famous fathers are almost always cool no matter what. Except for when they are dictators or cannibals or serial killers or stuff like that.
    2) That Van Otterdyke CD really isn't all too rare, but that's not why it isn't all that great either.
    3) The length of a thread is proportional to the apparent renown of its theme.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  22. #22
    I've been searching for this CD for years now. If anyone has a copy they don't want and is willing to sell at a reasonable price, please let me know.

  23. #23
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    1) Famous fathers are almost always cool no matter what. Except for when they are dictators or cannibals or serial killers or stuff like that.
    2) That Van Otterdyke CD really isn't all too rare, but that's not why it isn't all that great either.
    3) The length of a thread is proportional to the apparent renown of its theme.
    LOL Van Otterdyke? Was that my first post or something? It’s a masterpiece!

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    It was ok

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    Member since March 2004 mozo-pg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post


    Welcome to PE, Stormstout! An auspicious first post!

    I have a special connection with this album, because my father wrote Rosemary's Baby (the novel), so I was of course very familiar with Komeda's theme for the fantastic film version (I'm not familiar with Komeda's life though - I'll have to look into that).
    This is incredible Jed. Such a famous book/movie.
    What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it brings forth a sound.

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