Saturday, October 26, 2019

Cluster Cloister: Roedelius 85

We'll finish up the anniversary celebration for my page's sixth b'day with this, a tribute to a great friend and an even greater and more important musician of our epoch.
Sometimes on here, I get to tribute someone I know or have met at some point, and today is one of those (scary!) days, knowing they'll see what I have to say.
The story of today's most esteemed honoree can't be told without the story of the aftermath of WWII, from the perspective of the children of Germany and Austria.
Some of those postwar youth must have wanted to kick their parents through the goalposts of Hell itself for what they'd allowed to occur, and they grew up in an even likelier position to rebel than their younger Baby Boom counterparts in other places, many of whom also desired to overthrow the previous order.
But, as Buckminster Fuller said, you don't overthrow a power structure or set of prevailing attitudes. You invent and implement a viable alternative and people run from the rotten paradigm into the new one.
Our hero of the day is one of the rare individuals who succeeded in doing just that, and in the process created both the conditions and content for a musical revolution that resonates powerfully to this day, and always will.
It's hard to pin down any big movement or cultural shift to one person, but more than any single human today's birthday boy created the genesis of the modern German music some people call Krautrock.
Of course there's tons of others, like Conny Plank and Michael Rother and more. 
But when Hans-Joachim Roedelius -- some call him Achim -- and fellow revolutionary Conrad Schnitzler set up the Zodiak Arts space in the Berlin of the late 1960s, they set into motion a series of creative links on the chain of things that blossomed into the full-on German Rock genre the world knows and loves today.
That isn't the end of his contribution though... no, not at all. The real substance of his work is of course his one-of-a-kind, uncategorizably beautiful music of these last 50 years, and the seminal bands he's been a part of that have inspired some of the most far-ahead folks to change and evolve their own.
Chief among these projects was Cluster, his duo with fellow electronic pioneer Dieter Moebius, another formative figure of the firmament of this stuff.
The influence of this group over musicians the world over, from Brian Eno to David Bowie to Julian Cope to just about anyone you could name, can't even begin to be quantified in the slightest.
A supreme melodic piano deity, his compositions capture something entirely outside -- yet completely within -- the gift of the moment in which they are heard, speaking to a pastoral human-ness that transcends mere temporal barriers and perceptions of the passage of time.
I met him after a concert he and a collaborator gave in San Francisco in 2010, at the afterparty for the show, and he gave me the single best hug I ever received from another person.
To celebrate and honor this extraordinary cat -- born this day in 1934! -- we have perhaps the single greatest unissued Cluster performance there is, and it's criminally undercirculated too.
Cluster
Joan Miró Foundation
Barcelona, Spain
9.15.1994

01 Part 1a
02 Part 1b
03 Part 2a
04 Part 2b

Total time: 1:08:07

Hans-Joachim Roedelius - piano, samplers & synthesizers
Dieter Moebius - synthesizers, sequencers, electronic percussion & processing

master cassette of a DAT from the soundboard
declipped & retracked by EN, October 2019
294 MB FLAC here
So there you have it. I think we'll leave October there, unless I whip out an additional post next week to make an even ten for month ten. Like I said I dunno if I will be doing this for a while, and I may have to get outta dodge and flee the place in which I live, but we shall see.
But before I go, I want to say thank you to Achim Roedelius for the lifetime of Earth-altering music and ideas, and for being a friend. And may he live to be 185 to continue to do what he does <3 --J.

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