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Vintage Voltage
Metamono's shock of the old

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“If a computer behaves it’s because you’ve told it to. When your analog gear starts behaving, sometimes it’s because it’s just behaving.”

The times cry out in desperation for something new! Obviously. Yet, could be that the new new is old. Old and cheap, shopworn and simple, useful but uncared-for, lovingly restored...respected.

Metamono is three guys in London, longtime mates inspired to form a band of sorts –– an affordable band, a non-wasteful band, a real, true hands-on electronic band –– while sitting round down the pub. Jono Podmore is a composer/producer/programmer/engineer who as Kumo is also a musical partner with Irmin Schmidt of Can, and has been the chief mixmaster for all the recent Can catalog remasterings for CD and vinyl on Spoon Records. Paul Conboy (a.k.a. APE, CorkerConboy, Soul Circuit) is an electronic musician with numerous film and TV credits, and has written for and performed with Bomb The Bass. Mark Hill is primarily a visual artist who “has contemplated his Korg MS-20 for 25 years and has finally turned the on switch.”

The trio have recently released a six-song cassette called Band Theory, which you can inquire about at Yes, that’s right, it’s a cassette-only release, as was their limited-edition initial release, the four-song C15H14O6 .

The good-humored power and charming oddness of Metamono derives in the main from the power of restriction, to use limited means and far more direct actions to make a sound that lives and breathes, and does it now. Their sound –– generated with a borrowed, broken, substandard pile of vintage analog synths, ring modulators, pedal-effects units, dial radios, a siren and theremin –– is very, very musical, and there are many reasons for that, as you shall see when you sit around Skype with us and discuss the matter with Metamono:

BLUEFAT: There’s archness in the manifesto, like Von Trier would do, but the issue is big: What is the meaning of analog? The metaphors abound.

JONO PODMORE: Well, in our case we were talking about analog purely technically –– because, for example, Paul has been building a big chunk of the synths that we use; all of Paul’s gear he’s built himself –– and avoiding using computers to compose the music. I mean, you think about making music completely differently. It’s interesting, one of the analogies –– analog-ies –– is, a friend of mine is a graphic designer, and we refer to him and his job and his fellow artists as pixel jockeys these days [laughs]. It’s like, someone is an artist, and they turn into a pixel jockey –– and you give ‘em a job, you get a paint brush or a piece of wood, they fuckin’ love it. That’s kind of what we were trying to liberate when we came up with the manifesto.

So there’s no cheating, then?

JONO: Paul, is there any cheating?

PAUL CONBOY: It’s not possible to cheat.

Why no microphones? Why no mechanical devices?

PAUL: We didn’t want to get involved in anything like traditional instruments or vocalists, because we work with those kind of people all the time, and it’s very difficult to record that sort of stuff, technically, and get it to sound good. Also it just helps closing a lot of doors to us ––

MARK HILL: We just cut down all the options.



All sound is now available to all musicians everywhere.
Music has become a flaccid shadow of the social power it once was.

will restrict and limit the sound sources and techniques available to us in order

TO LIBERATE the imagination.
TO ECHO the struggle society endures.

Our restraints will be our liberties.
Our limitations will be our aesthetic.
We will kick against the pricks.

- use a microphone
- use digital sound generation or sampling
- use mechanical sound generation
- use digital sound processing
- make overdubs
- be afraid of mono
- remix

- use analogue electronic sound generation
- use analogue electronic sound processing
- use digital recording and basic editing when no alternative is available
- compose and mix simultaneously
- build their own or play used instruments