His name is known on two great music fronts and many circles.
Inspired by the earth, seen and unseen, and his brethren in talents, Florian Magnus “Morean” Maier is a spark that has ignited flames in Contemporary Classical and Metal over a span of a restless, and sometimes tempestuous, lifetime.
Transposing order from chaos, composing from his unique audial perspective, Maier pushes music to ethereal limits, inspiring those who continue to inspire him. As just one example, his childhood friend and bandmate, V. Santura (Dark Fortress) said that he was “in awe” of Maier growing up, while Maier calls Santura his mentor, responsible for helping him find his ‘Metal voice.’ His band-not-band, Noneuclid, grabbed the attention of Obscura comrades, members past and present, when it overwhelmed the rest of the world, leading to form further reciprocal bonds that remain strong today.
As for his Classical work, he had made his mark and living composing for ensembles and artists before he graduated from the exclusive Rotterdam Conservatory as maestro composer.
His path was never laid anywhere else.
From the boonies of Bavaria, where Metal is scarce and the Blues is watered-down in a conservative societal structure, Maier was the fearless anomaly. However, as it happened, his heptagonal peg grew up in a home that supported his inability to fit into the square holes.
“I was happy to grow up in an environment where my passions were supported and not judged,” he said.
“What was more difficult because they come from a time where you study something and then very probably that would be your job until you retire.”
And the arts, unfortunately, is never a guarantee. Still, even in a loving home, trying to convince two non-musicians that music was something you ‘had’ to do, was a challenge.
“Everybody knows that it’s hard as an artist. One day you play in the symphony hall, the next day you play in some shitty bar, and who knows? Maybe someday you may be on some shitty street hoping for someone to throw you some coins in your cup. But, the thing is, there was no real choice for me because it was obviously the only thing that I’m really good at, at least better than anything else.
And even though I had other interests, it was the only thing I wanted to do, so I couldn’t really get around it and they couldn’t get around it.”
The first five strums of Yes’ “Owner of a Lonely Heart” gave him his ache for a guitar, which lead him on the ever-winding path of inspiration, from Slayer to Stravinsky, which led to the formation of his adolescent band, Messenger, where he left his first distinctive footprint on the journey he was to take.
“We never made it beyond the town limits,” he explained. “We were like Prog, Thrash something…because I was always me. I was always pretty much the only composer in that band, but my bandmates were very happy to eat up whatever I came with.
They were extremely patient, rehearsing every week for seven years, so I had a continuity of making something and then playing for it in the rehearsal room, jamming with the guys, improvising, and then playing it once and forgetting it.
So, I would say that’s where I got used to the principle of composing and the principle of making those notes heard with musicians, even if we were not professional at all.”
The plan was to attend Conservatory, graduate in Flamenco guitar, then return home to his band and pursue his career from there. But, when life knows better than you do, the best laid plans don’t hold.
In Maier’s case, he got the big clue-by-four…
Stranger in a Strange Land
“Moving to Holland had already made some very deep impacts on me and my life,” he said. “On the surface, I could finally start to do full time what I wanted to do, which was music. But, on a deeper more personal level, the most important thing was that I moved out of my country.
The culture gap was not that gigantic, which is not difficult to learn for a German.
But, nevertheless, it’s a different country and as a rookie, I had just turned 21 and I came from a conservative little nothing-going-on sort of town in Germany to quite a big city with the biggest port in the world at the time, which is Rotterdam, with 75 different nationalities.”
The impact was indeed, enormous, because he never left. Maier became a permanent transplant, networking and working among some of the most prestigious visual, dance, and musical artists in the world, in a stew pot full of junkies and wonder. It was where he found his multi-faceted stone could shine its true colors in art and life, as a member of the global community, a true Earthling.
“How is it possible?” he had asked himself after meeting one of his closest friends from Mexico for the first time, “Here is this person from other end of the planet and after two minutes of talking with him, he feels like my brother – and to this day, he’s still my brother. And I have many of those friends who are like me but from completely different places.
How come I feel closer to someone after two minutes than to my neighbor who I lived next to for 15 years?”
From there, he realized his spiritual and tonal reach went beyond the geology and science of his existence. “That taught me everything about judging things and people by where they’re from.
That’s how much your passport says about you, which is bloody nothing at all.
And to me, that expanded my horizons so dramatically that I consider that the most important thing to ever happen to me besides getting a chance to do music.”
Creating in the Human Condition
The cursed blessing of Maier’s porous soul is that one substance is never enough to absorb.
He has traveled the world, more as an enthusiastic explorer-tourist than as a musician, climbing in and out of ice caves and sweltering in desert sands. It is not enough to experience life as an organic compound of carbon and water, nor it is it enough to express it as such. With this, the original idea to study and master Flamenco guitar, regardless of his tremendous passion for it, posed an issue.
“I realized that I’m not pure and I will never be pure.”
He said, “And when you are aiming to be a soloist like a virtuoso on your instrument, you cannot afford to be busy with too many other things besides that.
In the beginning, that was a huge problem for me because I realized that if I have to focus on any one thing, I’m going to get bored with it because I know there’s so many other things out there that want my attention.”
And that’s when he saw Composition as a viable alternative. “As a composer, or as a creative artist,” he said, “you can thrive on all these different things and you can become some kind of cauldron in which all these ingredients are trying to become something bigger than the sum of its parts.
I’m bringing an unusual combination of elements to the table with the Metal background, with the Classical background, the Flamenco background, also with my interest in all kinds of things because I realized this particular combination of interests, or tastes, that I have is not so common,” which is usually to gravitate towards the complex.
Bandmate Danny Tunker, an Alkaloid band brother, said with great affection and admiration that their The Malkuth Grimoire centerpiece, ‘Dyson Sphere’ – Maier’s circular four-part mini-conceptual saga – was brilliant, but “a pain in the ass.”
Maier’s work in general is transportive; from the subliminal tension built and held from constricting tones and audible silence, to the explosive riffs in layers of splattered notes and harmony. To expect the unexpected upon listening would be too cliché. His ability to bring beauty from his beasts is part of what makes him a highly-coveted commodity – which is near miraculous in a world where the artless are generally in charge of the arts, taking comfort to play it safe for the masses, rather than chance on something new.
Ironically, he would not call his work ‘new’ at all, just ‘unheard.’
“I feel, in general, more like membrane than a source, in a sense that what I create usually feels like it already exists somewhere and my job is to perceive it and bring it to the paper or to a city or onto a stage.”
He expounded, “It already exists in the multiverse, in the universe of possibilities, so it actually feels easy to create it. And then the complicated part is to translate it to little black dots on music paper. For that, you need your mind, you need your analysis, and all your technical knowledge to translate [a sound] to three thousand notes.”
Furthermore, he added, “I also feel much less burdened as a membrane between the universe of possibilities than have to pretend that I’m some kind of god that has to create a universe out of nothing every time — you’re just a part of that whole process. And I find it just pretentious or megalomaniacal to pretend that you are the only reason this exists and the only thing that’s good about it is that you’re so awesome.
If you identify too much with your achievements, you’ll get stuck in your achievements.”
And achieve, he has. Some of which playing for thousands in festivals with Dark Fortress, breaking ground in Egypt with Alkaloid, having an entire documentary made and aired on TV for his work regarding his extraordinary composition, “Schattenspiel” and performance at the Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and collaborating on a performance piece with world-reknowned dark visual artist Daniel van Nes, just to name a few.
Most notable, for the Metal scene, his contribution to pushing an entire genre forward, even if completely by accident, is a legacy in itself. He said, “The first Noneuclid album turned out the way it turned out simply because I wanted to write a basically Metal album. Only when I started sending the finished album to the labels of the world, dozens and dozens of them, and I got reactions, this stuff seems to be really weird.”
Currently working on a children’s opera and composing for Alkaloid’s sophomore effort to be released on their new label, Season of Mist, aside from the geographical and scheduling challenges and demands, his workaholism is a happy condition.
“I am a firm believer that thoughts have gravity, souls have gravity. If something is really strong inside of you, you are a sender of sorts.
You are broadcasting a beacon, which has its own gravity, which will attract other people. What belongs together will always attract itself or each other. And on a spiritual level, I think that’s what’s happening.”
Superimposed image courtesy of Cycy’s Photography