“This album has no connection to Andy Warhol or the people of Germany,” runs the disclaimer on Blutbraüer's Bandcamp page. Of course, not everyone read the fine print, so some folks got swept up in the mythology that accompanied the January 2021 release of Andy Warhol's Meat for Wolfman, the debut album by a quasi-mysterious entity known as Blutbraüer. Purported to be the long-lost soundtrack to an uncompleted schlock-horror film by the Pop Art mogul, the music on Andy Warhol's Meat for Wolfman is actually the handiwork of the Seattle/LA duo of Corey J. Brewer and Erik Blood (Shabazz Palaces, Pink Lotion), with Select Level's Joel Cuplin contributing flute and sax to the mix. It is fantastic on at least two levels.
But before delving into the music, let's touch on the Meat for Wolfman backstory. Initially, Blood and Brewer promulgated a fictional story on social media and various blogs. It involved the discovery of tapes that Brewer had bought from an estate sale; they had suffered “minor fire damage” but contained extraordinary music made by two German musicians. Though in poor shape, the tapes appeared playable and Brewer sought Blood's help to transfer their contents to digital. They uploaded some tracks to their Bandcamp and asked visitors to the page to contact them if they knew the identity of Blutbraüer. All funds from the sales would go to the artists once they'd been identified.
The ruse fooled some, including one dude who bought the tape—released in a limited edition by Seattle's SFI Recordings—and tried to sell it online for $450. When confronted with the truth, the seller reportedly dropped the price to $150 and responded “LOLOLOL.” Some bloggers, including Artist Home's Anthony Kay, added their own elaborations to the serpentine trail of falsehoods, even as hints surfaced that the tale was a good-natured underground-music prank in the vein of Ursula Bogner and Clutchy Hopkins (Google those names; we don't have time to explain them here).
In the internet age, obviously, these kinds of stunts are extremely hard to pull off. That didn't deter Blood and Brewer, though. “We were betting on people knowing it was false info,” Blood says in an email interview, “but the fact that the majority of the attention we got was from people who were fooled kind of says a lot about the power of a well-played lie. Regardless, we’re going to continue the stories, make up movies, suggest that we scored existing movies and were fired, etc. It's way more fun than 'here’s an album.'”
Brewer says he is “Honestly shocked we pulled it off to any degree at all.” He points to the idea that people are suckers for a mystery and this was “a fun way to find our audience. Using '70s-era pictures of our dads as stand-ins for us really made me happy.” On the other hand, lying literally makes Brewer physically ill, so the façade is not all fun and games.
Blood and Brewer have been horror-movie fans since they were wee lads. The former's gateway was Friday the 13th Part 2, viewed when he was 5; the latter watched horror flicks constantly as a youth, but a 1999 encounter with Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab's Vampyros Lesbos soundtrack really intensified his appreciation of the genre, and then repeat listens to Goblin's classic score for Suspiria solidified his lust for macabre themes. Both are also major fans of Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai's many crucial incursions into horror/giallo realms. Blood cites Alfred Hitchcock favorite Bernard Herrmann as inspirational, as well, while Brewer is fond of Stelvio Cipriani, Piero Umiliani, and Henry Mancini.
Their exceptional musical taste, uh, bleeds into their own studio wizardry, as Meat for Wolfman amply proves. Said album was recorded remotely by Blood in LA and Brewer in Seattle. The record had been, uh, brewing for years, but the pandemic fortuitously afforded the duo the time to get cracking on it, as all of their other projects got paused. The lockdown “seemed perfect for an imaginary band,” Brewer says. “We wrote out a plot summary and started picking out scenes for each of us to start, then after a sketch we would email it to the other to flesh out.”
Aside from guitars, bass, and drums (some of which were sampled), Blutbraüer used autoharp, Theremin, violin, and what Brewer describes as “a DIY noise-maker that [produces] haunted-house sounds.” The opening 1-2 punch of “Fleisch für Wolfsmann” and “Vorbereitung auf die Jagd” set the orchestral tone with gorgeously grotesque atmospheric pressure that would impress Serge Gainsbourg arranger Jean-Claude Vannier. The stunning “Nachteulen” offers windswept, glamorous intrigue, a Herbie Flowers-esque bass tone to kill for, and a Theremin motif to sigh for. Buoyed by a gloriously baroque melody and stalking rhythm, “Wolfsangriff” makes the hairs on your neck stand erect and then slices them clean off.
But Meat for Wolfman isn't all eerie scaremongering and morose morbidity. “Nachtclub Gesindel”'s organ-heavy krautrock chug and throb comes off like Vanilla Fudge covering Can's “Mother Sky” while “Tanz der Dysphorie” is swinging dungeon-floor anti-anthem with a forlorn flute motif traipsing over tensile bass and autoharp. Although the cassette version is sold out, SFI plans next spring to release a second run of tapes and a vinyl reissue, a test pressing of which Blood says sounds “fucking delicious.” And, of course, you can download Meat for Wolfman off Bandcamp.
Blutbraüer are already recording Wolfman's follow-up, titled Seven Locusts in Golden Gowns. Brewer says that it's “inspired by an episode of the Fragments of Fear podcast (recommended) discussing the film Crimes of the Black Cat. The director tried to get another giallo made with a similar name and we took that and ran with it. We came up with a plot and cast and started writing.” They're aiming for a fall 2022 release on SFI Recordings.
Outside of Blutbraüer, Blood and Brewer have a lot happening. Blood and Rachael Ferguson's Pink Lotion are nearing completion of a new album; he finished producing two EPs by Postcard from the Badlands (one of which is an alternate score to the movie Moon) and is now working on an LP with Seattle group Night Hikes. Brewer recently performed a new score for Velvet Vampire at Olympia's Capitol Theater; the music for it will come out on cassette in the spring. His band ManDate is currently finishing their second album and Old Dark House—with Andrew Crawshaw—plans to begin writing a new album soon.
Circling back to Meat for Wolfman, I rank it as highly as the work of some of Europe's most exalted film composers and library-music session ringers. Do Blood and Brewer view Blutbraüer releases as a way to get the attention of and, ultimately, commissions from horror-film directors?
Blood responds, “Nah, we just make music and this was a fun way for us to make music together.” “While that wasn’t the initial goal, I would love that,” Brewer says. “WE ARE AVAILABLE.”