field report no.031817

LOCATION: the Mothlight AVL.NC
SUBJECT: Hans-Joachim Roedelius

It's a bit of quandary, reviewing this show. At 82, Hans-Joachim Roedelius is nothing short of legendary: a member of the original Krautrock movement—among such luminaries as Neu!, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. Between Cluster (with a C, K or Q), solo and countless, diverse collaborations (from Brian Eno and Lloyd Cole), his discography is now unfathomably deep. Since his earliest recordings he's maintained a dedication to improvised electronic music—a concept that was so far ahead of its time in the early 70s, it's still a tricky concept, 40 years later.

Roedelius is an oddly casual innovator, though, and his music's gentle abstraction obscures its advances. So Cluster doesn't inspire the rabid worship and rampant emulation that Kraftwerk and Neu! have. Of that first class though, Roedelius (and his partner in Cluster, Moebius) were the only ones to continue constantly and consistently pushing forward through the decades that followed.

That kind of quiet persistence and explains why this couldn't be a mind-blowing experience. Roedelius' music does not knock you sideways—it stays with you, instead. It endures. All the hallmarks of his work were there: bits of field recordings mingled were shaded by clouds of abstract electronics, all brightened by meandering but beguiling melodies. While it's never less than beautiful, Roedelius deftly sidesteps new age schmaltz. The amorphous nature of his music isn't settled and predictable enough to be trite. He ended with a short piano improvisation—and handled a short technical difficulty with class.

For a handful of years now, I've nurtured a growing appreciation for Roedelius (and Cluster). They are, easily, now my favorites from that particular burst of German creativity. I never imagined I'd get to him live (a feeling compounded when Dieter Moebius passed last year), let alone see him in Asheville, North Carolina. 

NOTES: Hans-Joachim Roedelius; Xambuca