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Umbra Et Imago (D)

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(official homepage)

The band UMBRA ET IMAGO was founded by its leader Mozart in the fall of 1991. On purpose, a new counter-statement to the young and rising gothic culture was meant to be made. Yet, its name ( unsubstancial shadow) is issued and put on stage. Because of the brand new concept, the band was never easy to deal with. Refering to the Austrian psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud as far as “ Sexuality is the axis of our being”, the cornerstone of the underdog-band was found. Spontaneity and experimentality were celebrated with boundless energy. The line-up consisted of Michael Gillian, Nail, Thosten B. and Mozart. In 1992 the band started live performances, which where fueled by their visual effects from the first time on. The artist Dirk Lakomy, supporting the band in its early days, illustrated the band’s phantasy with his pictures and artwork.

Guest musicians were in charge for the acoustic variety in the former electronic band. The band’s eccentricity was legendary, occasionally feared, but in all cases charismatic and unique.
The media, responding in an unexpected hard way, often polarized and criticized the band and rarely understood its message.
Bottom line: The band became cult.
Umbra et Imago established their own branch in goth-music.
S/M-phantasies were used as their trade mark in the former asexual Indie scene, making its way to a much larger audience.
The S/M-theme was chosen purposely, because it would reflect the most intellectual expression of sexuality in their minds.
The first album “ Träume, Sex und Tod” was released in 1992, followed by “ Infantile Spiele” one year later, which became their break-through.
“Gothic Erotic” turned into a Club hit. In very short time, the band achieved a large fan community, which prooves an unusual loyalty in the meanwhile 3rd generation.
In 1995 a sudden incision was made. The band’s line-up changed. Michael Gillian, Thorsten B. and later on Nail left the band, being replaced by Lutz Demmler and Alex Perin.
This line-up change also lead to a musical turning-point.
With the album “ Gedanken eines Vampirs” the band began to manifest a new sound, dominated by guitar. Live shows started involving models as a fundamental of their legendary show concept, which belongs to Umbra et Imago as sun does to summer.
The basic live-idea of the band was, never to perform as an opener or in support of anyone else, which turned out to be the right decision after some hard struggles at the beginning.
After many tours, the bands’ concerts were almost constantly sold out!
Since the fall of the Berlin wall and Germany’s reunion, the eastern part of the republic was played regularly. The band struggled for success.
Their albums and singles followed and topped one another. ( Mystica Sexualis – Machina Mundi – The hard years – Mea Culpa – Dunkle Energie)
Limited live videos were produced, becoming important and valuable documents for many fans, because of their authentic character, which is one of its own.
The DVD and audio CD “ Die Welt brennt” was one of the bands’ dreams becoming true, including special footage about the band’s ideology and their strong live shows.
After a few more line-up changes, the band grew musically from a spontaneous, emotional and pathetic act, to a hard-boiled and excellent crew, skilled in nailing things where they belong.
The lyrics ( as the author Mozart comments himself) come from many different influences such as literature, biographic elements and off course observation of today’s life.
They fall from odd subtle humor into a spotting, evil mirror of our society and its irony.
Regardless of clichés, his statements would not make only friends.

(official homepage)

Für Frontmann Mozart ist der Begriff «Gothic» nicht nur ein musikalisches Subgenre, sondern eine eigene Kultur. «Gothic» à la Umbra et Imago vereint tonalen Wohlklang, unterkühlte Strenge und explizite Sexualität - eine künstlerische Dreifaltigkeit, die von der Band aus Karlsruhe so konsequent wie von keiner zweiten in Deutschland seit über 20 Jahren zelebriert wird.

Mozart - der Mann hinter Umbra et Imago, der seinen Spitznamen aus frühester Jugend nie abgelegt hat - offenbart mit seinen Texten eine philosophische Haltung, die sich an einer der Grundideen Sigmund Freuds orientiert: Im Leben dreht sich alles um Sex. Mit Umbra et Imago wird dieser Gedanke um den Faktor Musik erweitert. Sex und Musik, so sagt Mozart, seien die beiden einzigen Erfahrungen, die den Menschen den Kosmos spüren lassen - und mit Kosmos meint Mozart eigentlich Gott. Gott, das allumfassende Kunstwerk des Universums.

Es ist nicht eben leichte Kost, die Umbra et Imago ihrem Publikum seit jeher kredenzen, aber gerade deshalb kann die Band auf eine stabile und anspruchsvolle Fanbasis bauen. Diese Fanbasis hat verstanden, dass es Mozart bei den lustbetonten Inhalten seiner Songs und den erotisch aufgeladenen Liveshows nicht um den kurzzeitigen Knalleffekt geht, sondern um die langfristige Einsicht, dass Sex und Musik alle Menschen miteinander verbindet - unabhängig von Geschlecht, Hautfarbe oder sexueller Orientierung.

Am klarsten zum Ausdruck kommt dieser Tenor im Song «Viva Vulva», dem Herzstück des neuen Albums. «Viva Vulva» ist eine Ode an die Weiblichkeit - sie ist Verneigung, Liebeserklärung und Lustbekenntnis zugleich. Hypnotisches 16tel-Stakkato aus dem Sequenzer trifft hier auf sanfte Gitarrenmelodien, später übernehmen Verzerrer und
Metaldrums, und über allem liegt, unterstützt durch einen Chor aus Engelsstimmen, Mozarts wie immer beschwörende Stimme. Das ist Gothic in Reinkultur. Das ist Umbra et Imago im Jahr 2015. Erhaben, dunkel und sexy.