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Ammer / Einheit / Haage
Odysseus 7
EGO/Our Choice/Rough Trade (Germany) Invisible (USA)

Here is a new disk from F.M. Einheit and his co-workers. It's called Odysseus 7 and it's credited to Andreas Ammer, F.M. Einheit and Ulrike Haage. As the contribution of Andreas Ammer (known as a writer of many radio plays) indicates, it's another concept disk. The concept is very close to the Apocalypse live or Radio Inferno disks that Ammer and Einheit did together. Again it's a radio play (or "Radio Space Opera" as they call it on the cover), this time based on the Greek Odysseus myth. The piece was performed and recorded live in the Bavarian Marstall last year.

In Ammer's twentieth century update of the old myth, Odysseus is an astronaut (many of Ammer's adventures are linked to the names of stars and moons taken from Greek mythology and decorated with astronomical facts). F.M. Einheit supplies the story with an experimental electronic soundtrack and many samples from space travel features (most memorable the story of the first living being in space - the dog Laika). Ulrike Haage, member of the German art pop band The Rainbirds, plays various instruments and has written some of the tunes as well.

Other interesting participants include jazz musician Phil Minton, as the English speaking astronaut Odysseus (with really interesting vocal work), Alex Hacke (the guitarist of Einsturzende Neubauten) in the role of Telemach and Mission Control, Jennifer Minetti as Penelope, and actress Meret Becker voicing goddesses and monsters.

The music changes according to the plot between electronic grooves, ambient tracks, minimalistic cello accompaniment, and confusing noises. The disk is divided into 24 tracks, but they are not separated songs and should be listened as one piece.

The lyrics are multi-lingual, German most of the time, often English, and even Latin, Italian (?) and Russian in some cases. Obviously you're not supposed to understand everything, but knowing German, or English, or both, helps a great deal in understanding this modern opera. Knowing Homer's Odyssey might help as well. And if you have a dictionary, the most important lyrics are given in the booklet.

Copyright © 1998 Lonely Locke e-mail address

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