The Maier Project The Maier Project






REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS




Review December 2015 on www.progressiverockbr.com, Internet Zine for Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal.


THE MAIER PROJECT - "Paris"

The Maier Project is back to PR&PM once more! This project is since 2006 spearheaded by Hans Maier (vocals, guitars, music, lyrics), in collaboration with other musicians, mainly Ludwig Sander (bass, backing vocals) and Arthur Belovic (drums, percussion). The Maier Project began as an instrumental project that later was expanded to include vocals. This project released independent CDs from 2006 to 2013. Two of their previous albums – “States Of Aggregation” (2012) and “Crossroads” (2013) – were featured at PR&PM in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Now The Maier Project is returning to this webzine with a new album, titled “Paris” (June, 2015). This release was planned to have another title, featuring songs dealing just with issues like “love” and “our daily life”, completed with a few instrumental pieces. The concept switched after the attacks to the “Charlie Hebdo”, forcing The Maier Project to add songs related to actual political events, economical, and ecological problems. On “Paris”, the music of The Maier Project is still somber, melancholic and introspective. The songs are driven by Maier’s down-tuned baritone vocals (his trademark), as he declaims ironic and poetic lyrics. The style ranges from Alternative Rock to Blasé 80’s Pop-Rock, covered with a thin layer of Progressive guitar and keyboard sonorities, and driven by a slow and discrete rhythmic section. Band members are influenced by “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Lloyd Cole Weblog”, “Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds”, “Peter Hammill” & “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Yes” (Indian phase), “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era), and “Steven Wilson & Porcupine Tree”; but the bittersweet nature of the music is also reminiscent of “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds”, “Nick Drake” and “Johnny Cash”.

On the new album there was a significant line-up change: the previous duo of guitarists, Peter Monk and Willy Monk, have been replaced by Harold Miller (guitars, backing vocals); and keyboardist Paul Wallner left his place for Carl van der Keulen (keyboards, organ, piano, accordion). The new musicians have brought a new melodic input to The Maier Project: Miller’s guitar solos recall 80’s Rock (“U2”, “The Smiths” and the Neo-Prog style of early “Marillion”); van der Keulen’s keyboards have a touch of Classic Progressive and Psychedelic. The interaction between the old and new musicians of The Maier Project resulted in odd and enigmatic arrangements, underlined by Maier’s characteristic vocals.

“Paris” features 17 tracks. The album opens with the somber “Train” (4:05), that runs slow like a Psychedelic-Doom rock, loaded with melancholy, like also do the tracks “My Heavy Wooden Door” (5:42) and “Watch The Dead Walking” (4:34) – this one having hilarious lyrics – presenting The Maier Project’s credentials to the listener. A point of grief is sensed on the incisive lyrics of a number of tracks that deal with political issues – more specifically, against terrorism and the attacks to Paris: the tribute-paying “Charlie” (2:50); the piano-ballad “Contrasts” (3:18); and the best of three, “Paris 2015” (3:24) – a spirited song that places the sadness of a piano tune in opposition to a playful guitar solo, passing the message that, “despite all terror, life goes on”.

And life goes on, brighter and happier, on several tracks of “Paris”, which are delivered in Alternative, Post-Punk, and New-Wave rhythms and agreeable keyboard arrangements, highlighted by Harold Miller’s beautiful and delicate guitar work – a mix of styles rooted on 80’s Rock (think of “U2”, “Talking Heads”, “The Smiths”), melded with soaring textures and melodicism that recall “Steve Rothery” in “Marillion’s” earliest days. The songs belonging here are: the ballads “Happy Days” (4:35), “Paint Them Pink” (3:56), “Poison Over Endless Fields” (3:50), and “Favorite Place” (2:47); and the fast and rocking “Narcissists” (3:56) and “Love Song” (2:35) (both inspired on “NIN”).
A couple of songs are more relaxing: the nostalgic “Town Of Mints” (4:13) and the piano-lullaby “Somnolent Eyes” (3:17), which turns out to be an anti-lullaby, when some noisy bass and guitars arrive in a “Floyd” style! But The Maier Project shows its best Progressive vein on these three tracks: “Valse” (3:56), which experiments with changes of musical tempos; “Look At The Mess” (6:29) – a lysergic retro-rock plunging deep into psychedelic times (recalling “Velvet Underground”); and “My Inward Eye” (6:41), which revolves nostalgic feelings and bittersweet moods amidst piano notes, and rhythmic guitars with an Irish-Rock pedigree, finishing with a Neo-Progressive guitar solo.

Although dealing with some grievous issues, I found “Paris” to be a promising album to push The Maier Project towards a new musical future, capable of attracting to the band more than appreciators of melancholic and introspective Rock with poetical and ironic lyrics. The Maier Project is still recommendable for fans of “Peter Hammill”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave”, “Pink Floyd”, “Nick Drake”, and so on.

Band members and collaborators involved in The Maier Project are: Hans Maier – Vocals, Guitars, Music, Lyrics; Harold Miller – Electric Guitars, Backing Vocals; Carl van der Keulen – Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Accordion; Ludwig Sander - Bass, Backing Vocals; Arthur Belovic – Drums, Percussion. Additional Musicians: Gael Hemmings – Celtic Harp on “Train”; Peter Monk - Electric Guitar on “Paint Them Pink”. Additional String Quartet: Martha  Solder – Violin, Eva Dorniger – Cello, Martin Folderer – Contrabass, Ole Jundgaard – Contrabass (on “Contrasts” and “Valse”). Recorded & Mixed from Sep. 3014 to May 2015. Studio Crew: The Tendini Brothers; Mixed & Arranged by Hans Maier & Robert Parker. All Paris photographs courtesy by Bernd Sebastian Kamps and the photographers Georges Mion, Fabrice Bernardini, Françoise Bourcillier and Johanna Kamradt.
“Valse” is dedicated to “Carla Bley” (American Jazz pianist and singer)...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)







Review September 2013 on www.progressiverockbr.com, Internet Zine for Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal.

THE MAIER PROJECT - "Crossroads"
The Maier Project is back to this webzine once again (see under Reviews 2011). The group was founded in 2006 by Hans Maier (guitars, vocals, music and lyrics), Peter Monk (guitars, backing vocals), Willy Monk (guitars, backing vocals), Ludwig Sander (bass, backing vocals), Arthur Belovic (drums and percussion), and Paul Wallner (keyboards, organ, piano). The Maier Project was initially conceived to be an alternative and experimental instrumental project, but grew up from its original concept to finally include lyrics in the songs. The group released several independent CDs: the instrumental “My Life In An Elven World” (2006), “Four” (Jan. 2007), and “Sweetest Fruit” (Dec. 2007); the EP “The Queen Goes For A Walk Incognito” (2008); and the albums with lyrics “A Gallery of Dreams” (Nov. 2008) and “Dragons” (2010). Their previous album, “States Of Aggregation” (2012), was featured at PR&PM in 2012.

Now The Maier Project is returning with a brand new album: “Crossroads” (2013), which features 11 tracks. As shown on their previous album, the sound of The Maier Project is still somber, melancholic and introspective, with poetical and ironic lyrics, all delivered by Maier’s monochord and baritone vocals. On this new album there are a number of instrumental tracks interspersed among the songs with lyrics, and the musical style ranges from the Alternative Rock (with influences of “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Lloyd Cole Weblog”, “Nick Cave” & “The Bad Seeds”, “Lou Reed”, “Nick Drake”) to Progressive influences from “Roger Waters”, “Peter Hammill” & “Van der Graaf Generator”; and assorted Progressive elements on the instrumental tracks reminiscent of “Yes” (Indian phase) and “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era).

The album opens with “Crossroads” (4:16), an instrumental bombastic intro for “Cuckoo In Our Nest” (3:33), which is a bittersweet ballad hooked on the epic chords of the title track. The following track, “Gate Of Heaven” (4:08), is marked by hard guitars, a basic Punk-Rock drum beat, monochord vocals and Gothic organ that are reminiscent of “Nine Inch Nails”. Also track 9 - “Take Your Feet And Run” (3:38) – features clockwork rhythms and depressive vocals like “NIN”.

My favorite songs, are, however, the ironic “Once I Knew A Proud Young Beauty” (3:48), which tells a weird love story by blending influences of “NIN” with the Minstrel musical style of “Peter Hammill”; and “The Voodoo Thing” (3:33), a horror-rock with sadistic lyrics played under a “VdGG” & “Peter Hammill” point of view. Also satisfactory, the plain rock “Passing Through” (3:39) has philosophical lyrics, sung with pessimistic vocals that recall “Lou Reed” and “Nick Drake”, being pinpointed by shivering guitar solos.

My very favorite tracks of this record are the instrumental ones, which reveal with more strength the Progressive side of The Maier Project: “Gathering” (4:04) combines soaring organs with flowing guitar solo, producing delicate and melodic tunes that hover over an acoustic guitar background. “Getting A Grip To It” (3:45) is initially as relaxing as New Age Music, and includes elements of World Music (by using the ghostly sounds of the Chinese erhu), but becomes turbulent later, with the coming of guitars and reverberating sonic effects. “Short Electric Raga” (4:45) is a Progressive Raga that makes use of a Sitar, recalling “Yes”. As on the previous track, its initial meditative state is disturbed later by strong guitar chords. Finally, the closing track “Zero Regrets” (7:59) is a combination of Psychedelic and Space Rock, experimenting with the opposition of two distinct sounds: a Celtic Harp (courtesy of guest musician Gael Hemmings) is employed to sooth down the heavy buzzing noise that irradiates from Space-Rock guitars on the background.

Although I found “Crossroads” not as good as “States of Aggregation”, The Maier Project still retains an authentic sense of musicianship and lyricism that may attract appreciators of melancholic and introspective Alternative Rock with poetical and ironic lyrics, being recommended for fans of “Peter Hammill”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave”, “Pink Floyd” and “Nick Drake”. Band members and collaborators involved in The Maier Project are: Hans Maier – Vocals, Guitars, Sitar (tr. 8), Music & Lyrics; Peter Monk - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Willy Monk - Guitars, Backing Vocals; Ludwig Sander - Bass, Backing Vocals; Arthur Belovic - Drums & Percussion; Paul Wallner - Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Bandoneon (tr. 1), Chinese Erhu (tr. 5), Additional Percussion (tr. 8, 9). Guest musician: Gael Hemmings - Celtic Harp (on “Zero Regrets”). Recorded & Mixed from September 2012 to April 2013. Studio Crew: The Tendini Brothers; Mixed & Arranged by Hans Maier & Robert Parker...  (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)





April 14, 2013: Markus Rhetti of Faktum Musik meets Hans Maier of The Maier Project at the Café Central, Innsbruck.



Markus Rhetti (MR):
Hello Hans, so we meet again after five years. Some things have changed, and so did the Maier Project. Your music has changed, your band has changed, your music can be found at all well-known internet music stores, and you did make the step to songs with lyrics. What do you feel when looking back?

Hans Maier (HM):
Well, to summarize it: I feel a lot of satisfaction. We have developed in a direction which gives so much to all of us. We have fun making music more than before, I love to compose, we enjoy to sit together and build the songs up, form them to something precious which has been made by us. The songs are our work, they will be left when we already have passed away, they are our legacy to the world. Maybe in 100 years, somebody will still listen to one or the other of our songs. That is a great vision.


MR:
Are you convinced that the use of lyrics did good to your music?

HM:
Absolutely. It opened a new field, we could use a new stage to express what we were thinking and what we were feeling. And it changed our musical style. That was very refreshing.


MR:
What is different now then?

HM:
In the beginning, I made the music more or less alone. Now we are six of us, we can be very noisy now using three guitars. I know that on the other side we have lost some of our earlier fans, but on the other hand we have won a multiple of them.


MR:
Did you ever expect that your album of 2011, "States of Aggregation", would be that successful?

HM:
The attention to our music has begun already with "Dragons". The song "Rush Hour" appeared in U.S. indie charts, and at that moment I was sure that the next album could not have been a flop. I was right. "Crimson Secret" also made its way, although the song did not climb up that high as "Rush Hour".


MR:
Both songs were accompanied by videoclips. You added "Unhealthy Addiction" as a video and announced to make a short movie for "Not The Devil". But it was never realized. Why?

HM:
Short time before we finished the work on that video, there was that incident with the mad guy who shot people assembling for the first performance of the last Batman movie shouting that he was the Joker. At that moment it was absolutely impossible to promote "Not the Devil". The shock was deep-rooted, a song with the refrain "I´m not the devil, I am the Joker" was impious at that time. So we also cancelled the videoclip.


MR:
"States of Aggregation" was a big success; how about "Crossroads"?

HM:
We will see how far this ship will go. It was made under very difficult circumstances. The situation at my working place became unbearable. Mobbing, bashing, denying of expertises, all that by a man who currently is running the place, until the definite chief will be established next year, and who makes incredible mistakes concerning the welfare and the future of the institution. So I drew the only proper consequence: I decided to quit, and that was the most effective damage for his reputation. We will move from Austria to Germany, I will start the same job in another institution, and somewhen in the summer the family will follow. Some of the new songs are dealing with all the anger which I had felt at that time. So the album became louder, wilder, less harmonic. I did not get the leisure to prepare the songs as perfect as I could for "States of Aggregation", but the result is good. I like this album.


MR: In the past your lyrics were funny, ironic, sometimes sarcastic. Now there are two or three songs which are different.

HM:
As I told before, the circumstances have been different, and life was not funny all the time. In addition, amidst in the final work on "Crossroads" my mother died unexpectedly, and this also had an additional negative impact on the album. However, "Passing Through" is related to this event.


MR:
What will bring the future?

HM:
It is not quite clear. The most important thing is that my wife and my children can redress the balance after being deracinated from our social network. Willy and Paul think about a time-out, and I do not know what Willy´s brother Peter will do then. We did not yet meet for work on new songs, and I had no time to write a song.

MR:
That sounds not very encouraging. Could it be the end of the Maier Project?

HM:
No, never. Somehow it will go on. And my ambition with any new album is to make it better than the last one.


MR:
So I wish you all the luck and success for your future.

HM:
Thank you so much. We need it, so that we will not disappoint our fans.








Sept 30, 2012:

Review on www.progressiverockbr.com, Internet Zine for Progressive Rock and Progressive Metal.

"The sound of The Maier Project is somber, melancholic and introspective, with poetical and ironic lyrics. The style ranges from Alternative Rock to the Blasé Synth-Pop of the ‘80s, covered with a thin layer of Progressive guitar and keyboard sonorities, and driven by a slow and soft rhythmic section. The band’s musical influences are “Peter Hammill” & “Van der Graaf Generator”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Steven Wilson” & “Porcupine Tree”, “Lloyd Cole Weblog” (ex-”The Commotions”) and his album “Rattlesnakes”, and also “Yes” and “Genesis” (“Peter Gabriel” Era). And because of Maier’s monochord baritone vocals that declaim poetical lyrics, I found their sound also similar to “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave” & “The Bad Seeds”, and to electric versions of “Nick Drake” and “Johnny Cash”.

“States of Aggregation” features 10 tracks. My favorites are the opening song “Silver Screen” (4:19), which is followed by the fast and neurotic “Not The Devil” (4:41) (recalling “NIN”); and the most progressive songs “Stronghold” (6:04) (a great instrumental track driven by ’80-styled drumming coupled with electronic sounds and featuring soaring guitars & keyboards and cosmic bass lines) and “Equilibrium” (5:49) (which is remarkable for blending the melancholic and slow “NIN” attitude with ghostly keyboards and “Pink Floyd”-styled guitars).

Also counting as my favorites are “Crimson Secret” (5:03) and the excellent “Gender Stereotypes” (5:00) – two tracks that unite the cool sophistication and delicate melodies that recall “David Sylvian” with the soaring guitars of “Pink Floyd” and “The Smiths”, all under the lyrical point of view of “NIN”.
The album still features the slow “Sleeping With Hares” (4:14); the psychedelic “In A Hurry” (4:35) (with nice harmony guitars); and the peculiar and funny love ballads “Sometimes You Are” (5:17) and “Unhealthy Addiction” (3:57) (this one is featured in the hilarious video available at the band’s website).

Although The Maier Project can not be regarded as a Progressive Rock band by most orthodox and strict standards, it has a well defined sense of musicianship and compositional ability that makes this band prone to be specially recommended for appreciators of melancholic and introspective Alternative Rock with poetical and ironic lyrics, such as fans of “Peter Hammill”, “Trent Reznor” & “Nine Inch Nails”, “Steven Wilson” & “Porcupine Tree”, “Lou Reed”, “Roger Waters”, “The Smiths”, “David Sylvian”, “Nick Cave”, “Pink Floyd” and “Nick Drake”.
(Comments by Marcelo Trotta)




Monday, April 9, 2012
Dragons

The Maier Project and their Progressive Rock CD, "Dragons," really know how to weave an album of hypnotic charm. Each track emanates a dark edgy vibe that is embedded with poetic poetry.
The title track, "Dragons," has emotive lyrics that are sung with a strong and solid expression while the instrumentation has dynamic texture. "Friendly Giant," is a song with a magical charm as the electrifying guitar impresses the listener with a fascinating melody. Another song, "Rush Hour," has an industrial like pulses as the searing guitar ignites with passionate fury.
If you like music that is melodic and interesting and has a Progressive Rock tonality then you will enjoy the excellent songs on the stirring album, "Dragons."

Posted by RadioIndy at 9:34 PM







February 2011: Interview of Hans Maier by Martin Berger, "Rock Ambassador"

click here to read the interview




August 2010: Review of "Dragons" by Linda Hastings


August 2010: "DRAGONS" by The Maier Project.
Review by Linda Hastings

Three weeks earlier: My friend Paul and me on white

Californian sands, enjoying the sun, the salty air, the soft

breeze from the sea.

Me reading the last Paul Auster book, he with his earphones

left of me, somewhere else, but not in my world. I nudge him

with my elbow, asking what the hell he was doing all the time,

because, you know, women like talking, especially with their

partners.


Paul, a fine guy, always knowing the moments when a guilty

conscience is appropriate, answers back: the music is to blame

for it, listen, Linda dear, listen and you will not require to

discuss the world´s state with me for several hours.

I laughed. The - What? - Project?

But I handed Paul Auster over to him, he his earphones to me,

and what should I tell you, the next hour he had no chance to

get his iPod back.


To make it short: This is the kind of music I love to listen to.

Eleven fine songs, the two weakest strategically cleverly

placed in the middle, in a predominant rock/progrock style.

The songs include excursions to heavy metal components in

"Dragons" and "Rush Hour" and a very fine part of so-called

`world music´ at the end of "Middle Ages".


No simple music, however, that affords a minimum extent of

concentration which is rewarded abundantly with satisfying

listening.

It´s not mainstream, not even in a more simple song like "My

One And Only Queen".

This is a kind of music that maybe will never find its way into

the charts, but apparently this is not the intention of the

group.


Well, back at home I visited the www and found the Maier

Project  website  and more music. I am not sure the MP is a real

group rather than a one man enterprise. "Dragons" is their

best work up to now, as Hans Maier himself claims with pride,

and this with good cause, even though the predecessor "A

Gallery Of Dreams" contains some fine  music.


I like the homepage:
diverting reading, nice pictures, sweet

kids .

For me, The Maier Project is the newcomer of the year and "Dragons"

my favorite album at least for the next weeks...




December 2007: Review of "Sweetest Fruit" by Johannes Morgenstern

Oh, brave new world! When the Maier Project's thrilling third album, Sweetest Fruit, hit the world-wide attention last year, the fans immediately embraced it as an early Christmas gift. Downloads bumped up and "All The Other People's Nasty Babies" was declared the song for chilly Winter evenings. The Maier's had again produced a collection of light and hopeful songs, all of them, though single individuals, interconnected by a transcendent purism of sound.
Listening to "All The Other People's Nasty Babies", "Friends' Wedding", and "Baptism", and in particular, "Cool Staircase in a Hot Summer", was again judged as a communitarian experience with no age limits.
Only once, and only for a moment, you wonder if the Maier's lost sight of their traditional calm. "Things One Can't Get" seem to have provoked the anger of the composers. We have no idea what they didn't get, but the soundtrack is furious and they cry it loud. It may wake you up from your Christmas dreams.
The CD ends with "First Birthday'', a journey back in time and forlornness, approaching birth. Life as a perpetuum mobile, as a train of life.
You recognize the themes which already dominated the previous albums Four (2007) and My Life in an Elven World (2006). Remembrances of sleeping with hares.
Truly a sweet fruit.
(Johannes Morgenstern, June 2008)

April 24, 2008: Markus Rhetti of Faktum Musik met Hans Maier of The Maier Project.

click here to read the interview