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Thrown Out Of Drama School


This is the fourth full-length by Germany's Thies Mynther and Dirk von Lowtzow aka Phantom/Ghost. On Thrown Out Of Drama School, the duo travel light through a cheerfully upbeat world full of amicable malcontents, dallying dream-dancers and carefree loafers. Yet despite this terrestrial cast and the cutback instrumentation of the songs -- (prepared) piano and vocals -- Thrown Out Of Drama School is an exceedingly festive affair, real red-letter day music. Their common passion for the made-up, the thrown-together and the weird and wonderful has paved the way for Phantom/Ghost for the last ten years, and now they have arrived at a point where a dalliance with artificiality, mannerisms, exalted quotations and theatrical poses can be observed in its purest form: on the stage, in drama school, behind and in front of the velvet curtain. Even though Thrown Out Of Drama School is no "real" high-school musical, it loosely follows the concept of a musical -- a small and fantastical concert with nine compositions, albeit with a few rough edges. Even before the curtain rises, a timid waltz resounds. The introduction to "The Charge Of A Light Brigade" is a squint copy of an English march, with all the military rigour removed. "Thrown Out Of Drama School" is uptempo and bawdy -- a frolicsome ode to the art of willful dallying. Mynther's piano is caught up in close complicity with the vocals; at times as demonstratively docile and innocent as a "do-re-mi" finger exercise, only to wander off in the next moment, making a complete farce of its function as an accompanying instrument. Alongside these made-for-the-stage musical numbers, there are also songs that work on a visual level and conjure up film-like narratives. They transport the listener to far-flung regions, to Morocco, Miami, or even further, to surreal dream-worlds. One example is the musical scoring of the literary text "The Process" (after Brion Gysin) that tells of a hallucinatory trip across the Sahara. Sometimes the piano shimmers dully from the background, and then it resembles a laryngitic string ensemble, rasping and vibrating. This duet with the Berlin artist Michaela Meise (who also sings on several other songs) perfects the desert magic. Thrown Out Of Drama School pushes us into a theatre of the absurd, where you aren't sure if you're a member of the audience, or one of the players. Applause, the curtain falls.