Ranta, Lewis, Plank – MU (2 xCD Metaphon)


As a completist I have spent quite a few years of my life, at least part-time, to collect the weird records by all the bands that were on the legendary Nurse With Wound list that came with the first 2 records. One can imagine the challenges I was faced with sometimes as the information on the internet was still sparse 10 years ago. With the approximately 300 artists and their reference records (spelled out more specifically by Freeman on Ultima Thule website) ranging from krautrock to freejazz, avant-garde and progressive music, looking back I enjoyed this quest with much devotion, and a lot of findings were like true epiphanies.  

Analyzing the list and its music shows some great insights in 70’s underground scenes, and one of the strains that was later to become influential Krautrock was initiated by this German musician and recording studio magician Conny Plank. After reading the booklet with background information that accompanies this box set I discovered he was playing in Wired, one of the many obscure records on the list. In Wired, Plank was performing with Ranta, Lewis and Böttner and a couple of months later, December 1970, the first three got together once more to record what was to become MU.     

On MU, their minimalistic improvisation completely engrosses the listener in a location elsewhere, becoming part of their own forgetful daze, exploring a strange reality that existed between them on that night in the very early seventies and probably only in their own minds. A reality elsewhere indeed, but also a place worth going. Slowly taking all time necessary to meditate, the guys slowly mould and shape a sculpture and with this document we get a chance to see its future form coming into existence. Mu #1 is a slowly organically developing hallucinatory masterpiece, MU #2 swells, breathes, transforms and builds dazzling serotonin bridges one could never dream of, with creating an epic sounding glockenspiel. Mu #3 is a reworked recording of the original stereo tape (number 3 of 4) and was created in the early eighties as a piece for pre-recorded tape and live percussion, dedicated to Mike Lewis. The piece included here is a live registration from 1994 where Michael Ranta plays solo percussion. To now have the complete session from more than 40 years ago available in a beautiful box and accompanying booklet feels a little bit of completing the task, almost as a grail only available after one has collected the complete magical list.   

The Belgian label Metaphon is a platform dedicated to promoting sound experimentation, soundart and electronic music. As a record label Metaphon mainly focuses on releasing archival and previously unreleased sound work by Belgian electronic music composers and sound artists from the 20th century. Metaphon is an independent non-profit organisation, supported by the Flemish Community. PvdG.

Contact: www.metaphon.be