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HARMONIA

Progressive Electronic • Germany


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Harmonia biography
Before to start a fruitful career in solo, Michael Rother integrated Cluster's side project called Harmonia. Initially formed by Hans Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius, the band had the intention to go further in ambient music approach. Rejecting a great part of the experimental side of Cluster's music (I & II), they recorded "Musik von" in 1974. Michael Rother who produced the same year Cluster's zukerzeit, collaborated in Harmonia for guitars, ambient synth parts. With rather discreet appearances of the band on stage, the promotion of "Musik von" failed to attract the attention of the public. Musically the compositions stay obscure, consisting of complex, "avant-garde" pieces made for electronic gadgets, organs, including drum machines, repetitive pulses. The atmosphere is "abstract", sometimes "cosmic" but still melodic. In 1975, the trio recorded its seminal "Deluxe" with the participation of Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru) on drums. The album was produced by Michael Rother himself. With new, various compositional ideas, inventive synthesized sounds and Rother's guitar signature, this album is more relaxed, light than the previous one. Historically it remains a pre-ambient electronic standard. Brian ENO who is fascinated by the music of Harmonia joined the musicians on stage during a concert at the Fabrik Club in Hamburg.

He finally collaborated with the band in 1976 for their last album "Harmonia 76- Tracks & traces". The music is clearly into ambient, "aquatic", dreamy atmospheres with floating synth effects, repetitive guitar lines. ENO wrote the lyrics and provided some synth parts. After Harmonia's dissolution, Brian Eno will work with Roedelius & Moebius for several personal albums ("Cluster & Eno", 1977/ "Before and After Science", 1977 / "After the Heat", 1979).

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Musik Von HarmoniaMusik Von Harmonia
Groenland 2016
Audio CD$9.10
$10.16 (used)
Live 1974Live 1974
Groenland Records 2012
Audio CD$8.50
$7.65 (used)
DeluxeDeluxe
Groenland 2016
Audio CD$10.28
$11.47 (used)
Documents 1975Documents 1975
Groenland 2016
Audio CD$10.07
$8.00 (used)
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HARMONIA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HARMONIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 75 ratings
Musik Von
1974
3.29 | 42 ratings
Deluxe
1975
3.14 | 24 ratings
Harmonia 76: Tracks & Traces
1997
4.58 | 7 ratings
Documents 1975
2015

HARMONIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 14 ratings
Harmonia Live 1974
2007

HARMONIA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

HARMONIA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

HARMONIA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

HARMONIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Deluxe by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.29 | 42 ratings

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Deluxe
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars The 2/3 Cluster, 1/3 Neu! supergroup HARMONIA released their Kosmische Kraut followup to their debut "Von Musik" only a year later and was recorded in the secluded forests near Forst, Germany. DELUXE took all the ambient charm of the debut and added a few new elements to the mix which included a real drummer to take the place of the rather mechanical analogue rhythm machine that had been implemented in the past. The band invited Guru Guru founder Mani Neumeier to use his unique vetted motorik style of percussive drive which added a whole new element to the mix creating a much more rocking sound compared to the ambient dreamy debut. Also new to the sound was the use of vocals on a few tracks with both Roedelius and Rother adding their different musical utterings to add a new texture to the band's carefully crafted rhythmic parade of electronic sounds. In short, DELUXE is an improvement in virtually every aspect with the main emphasis on catchy dreamy keyboard oriented melodies crafted by Roedelius that are shrouded in a misty brume of electronic textures provided by Moebius' mastery of synthesizer antics with a robust guitar presence of Rother. Also creating a distinct timbre to the mix is the electro-acoustic use of the Japanese Nagoya harp.

All of these changes steered the musical sound of DELUXE into totally different arenas as it sounds as if the cast members have found the perfect comfort zones in adding their idiosyncratic musicalities into the melting pot. Roedelius and Moebius bring all the Cluster components back for a sophomore appearance but on DELUXE there is much more of a Neu! presence of Michael Rother who in turn also brings a little of his Kraftwerk days along for the ride. In fact DELUXE sounds like a unique blend of Cluster's "Sowieso," Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" era and early Neu! The result is a perfect mix of the three elements with Cluster's dreamy ethereal side slinking around the percussive Neu!-esque rhythmic drives accented by Neumeier's nuance filled motorik drum style. The tracks are vary significantly this time from one another and complexity level turned up for the compositions that somehow nurture pleasant gleeful melodies into stomping pulsing electronic sensations.

DELUXE is a true mastering of nuanced elements that results in a fairly unique sounding album that exists in that strange universe where Kraftwerk stringent rhythms , Neu!'s hypnotic groove and "Cluster's Sowieso" dreaminess merged into one seamless entity. Despite the nerdy electronic precision dominating any given moment, the album is polished with outstandingly strong, catchy hooks that have an air of Berlin School progressive electronic simmered into a steaming hot pot of tasty electro-Krautrock. DELUXE shows the possibilities and positive results of a supergroup and how collaborative efforts can bring out the strengths of the members on board instead of watered down infighting. It sounds as if HARMONIA should have found some sort of cross-over success with this one but the band soon ended after this one and although they would participate in some recording sessions with Brian Eno, those sessions wouldn't be released until the 90s. Personally i much prefer this second HARMONIA album over the monochromatic ambience of the debut.

 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

3 stars One of the first German supergroups in the progressive music realms anyway was the Kraut / Kosmische HARMONIA which was basically the collaboration of the duo Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius who were better known as Cluster along with Neu! founding member Michael Rother (who also had a short-lived gig with Kraftwerk.) Despite being crammed into the Krautrock categories by many lazy databases, their debut album MUSIK VON ("Music From" which is actually supposed to be followed by the band name) is very much an ambient progressive electronic creation with emphasis on repetitive trance-inducing rhythmic pulsations of electronic sound with subtle counterpoints that slowly unfold as the rhythmic drive marches forth utilizing the Motorik 4/4 beat that was prevalent in the music of Neu! with some of the lysergic sonic textures of Cluster. Overall the music is much more accessible than the early Cluster album but not as so as early Neu! Brian Eno was such of fan of this album that he would later become involved in future projects.

The opener "Watussi" begins the all instrumental futuristic sounds with an upbeat rhythmic percussive drive and synthesizers taking on different counterpoint effects including a dripping sound as the guitar creates a distorted backdrop that adds a layer of fuzziness. The music itself sounds very simplistic for the most part. Many of the tracks follow this formula but some are much spacier than others. "Sehr Kosmisch (Very Cosmic)" is slowed down with percussion simulating a heartbeat while the synth and organs create an ethereal Berlin School effect which wouldn't sound terribly out of place on a Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze album. The key word with MUSIK VON is "subtlety." Everything creeps in and out like sine waves of sound slowly slinking through an echo chamber. Some tracks like "Ohrwurm (Earworm)" are downright scary as notes bend and distort as if traveling through a portal to another dimension while "Ahoi!" reflects a mellower mood that is gentle and less startling.

HARMONIA found reasonable success with MUSIK VON not only with the critics with underground music fans as well and would continue on to release one more album and enough leftover tracks for an archival third but ultimately the fertile cross-pollination of the Kraut and progressive electronic world ensured that the trio would not only continue with their retrospective bands of Cluster and Neu! but would also find new ways of musical collaboration. This is by all means an interesting album for those who dig minimalism and subtle ethereal changes in their music but i don't seem to be one of those who enjoys this album more than the albums by Cluster and Neu! themselves. The first few Cluster albums were absolutely brilliant in how they went to outer space and never looked back and likewise Neu! unapologetically rocked the house with their rhythmic drive and electronic embellishments. MUSIK VON seems to be a watered down compromise between these two extremes and while the result is certainly not displeasing it does come off as a step down from past greatness.

3.5 rounded down

 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars Repetitive hallucinogenic electronic organization in the similar vein of a Krautrock giant NEU!. HARMONIA's debut sound article "Musik Von Harmonia" is surprisingly flooded with not only inorganic but also heartwarming synthesizer-based electricadelic convolution. Their eccentric activity might intentionally regulate the inner mind of the audience I guess. In the very beginning of this album "Watussi" the electrogemic phenomenon can be launched over and over based upon sharp-edged beep / noise-oriented sound convulsion. Inorganic Dadaism sounds just like a cleanser bottle upon the sleeve.

Another masterpiece in this debut shot "Sehr Kosmisch", the longest track, would sound the most atmospheric, ambient, and simultaneously warmhearted I imagine. Could this gentle ambience with quiet and deep heartbeats be called as "fruits of the earth"? As if we were embryos in the womb, we are absorbed safe and sound, contrary to the previous one. And likewise, "Ahoi!" has splendid ethnic flavour along with loose electronika, that should be recommended for people hoping to have a dreamy trip, whether in a real life or in a dream.

A mass of variations are developed in a short track, and each track has kaleidoscopic theatrical scenes or characteristics ("Veterano" full of bombastic fragility psychedelia or "Hausmusik" dim brilliance under warping tempo produced with electronic organ sounds and percussion is one of my loves). Although a song sounds simple and monotonous, it has various directions for shooting multiple essence via synthesizers. Entirely the soundscape is filled with closed feeling and hard, itchy sound bullets but actually so frank and intelligible for the audience to fall into this creation. Their inorganic manner cannot simply be inorganic but pretty innovative.

 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm still trying to understand why this debut from HARMONIA is rated way higher than their followup "Deluxe" on this site. I prefer the second one where they brought in a real drummer and especially since it was Manni from GURU GURU. On RYM the first two albums are rated almost equally with the "Deluxe" slightly higher. Anyway we get Rother from NEU! joining forces with Roedelius and Moebius from CLUSTER with great results. I'm not a fan of the album cover but it's the music that matters right? Also I really appreciate the pictures in the liner notes of the band and their studio, priceless stuff.

I want to read some of the liner notes to you which were written by a friend of the band Asmus Tietchens who also has been making electronic music since 1965. He says, "It equalled a sensation when music journals announced in 1973 that Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Michael Rother were planning to work together. Under the name CLUSTER, Moebius and Roedelius had already occupied an indispensable place in the electronic music scene from 1969 on. Rother was known as one of the 1971 founding fathers as well as flamboyant member of the band NEU! Yet the prospect of the three of them joining forces seemed all too delicate to be true. By then, the CLUSTER album "Zuckerzeit" had not been released, and thus prospective listeners had to wonder about what Roedelius and Moebius were actually coming to produce when indulging in rhythmic experiments. The fact that they were going for rhythmic music was clear as day, Michael Rother's name itself representing a guarantee for that. His compositions as well as his unmistakable way of playing the guitar and the keyboards could in fact be considered as crucial for the success of the project NEU! People could not wait to listen to HARMONIA, as the three of them called themselves. It was as early as 1973 that HARMONIA started playing gigs before finally releasing their first album with the plain title "Musik Von Harmonia"(Music By Harmonia)".

He goes on to say "Musik Von Harmonia is a beautiful and elegant, a minimalist and lively album that is almost completely played "by hand", apart from the fact that they used an automatic drum machine. Just like CLUSTER and NEU!, they made do without hybrid sequencers or gigantic synthesizers, but rather focussed on reacting in a sensitive way to each other as well as on creating what seemed like extremely odd sounds and noises". Also "Musik Von Harmonia is experimental pop music in the very literal sense of the words. When regarding the harmonious and rhythmic structures and pieces(pop) and the exquisite sounds and noises as well as their arrangements(experimental), there can be not a single doubt about that".

"Watussi" greets us with that familiar beat and those high pitched sounds HARMONIA would be known for. Other sounds join in on this motorik track. "Sehr Kosmisch" is my favourite. It's fairly dark with these heart beat-like beats along with pulses and waves. Piano and high pitched sounds before 4 1/2 minutes as the mood changes somewhat. A distant sounding rhythm will build until it dominates. It will end though before 7 minutes as it turns spacey with sparse piano. A beat around 9 1/2 minutes pulses as the piano stops and spacey sounds continue. "Sonnenschein" has a driving beat with all sorts of sounds helping out. Catchy stuff, I like it! It stops abruptly. "Dino" is another uptempo motorik sounding track and I like the guitar too.

"Ohrwurm" has these mechanical-like sounds that move around starngley as other sounds hover and pulse. This is somewhat eerie and dark. "Ahoi!" is pastoral with picked guitar and other sounds helping out. At 3 1/2 minutes a different soundscape comes in and replaces the first one fairly quickly. "Veterano" is an uptempo track with a driving rhythm once again. Piano and beats lead the way as the guitar plays over top. "Hausmusik" has piano and percussion standing out to start but a minute in a different sound arrives and it eventually over-takes the previous soundscape. It's rhythmic but spacey then the piano returns as that rhythmic soundscape fades away. There's a melancholic vibe to this track.

A great start for these guys and the magic will continue on their second release "Deluxe".

 Documents 1975 by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.58 | 7 ratings

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Documents 1975
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars In the '90's, long after their heyday, and shortly after the close of the post-punk era in which they were first deified, the krautrock bands found themselves the darlings of various music collectors as well as EDM producers looking for inspiration. It was this climate that saw, for one, Harmonia getting their day in the sun, with "Tracks and Traces" dropping in '97, finally allowing their sessions with Brian Eno to be listened to by hordes of hungry fans. Surprisingly, though, it would take longer for some of their other archival material to surface - a collection of live recordings only surfaced in 2007, and only now have we this collection. These tracks represent the carefully recorded and preserved high quality tapes of a one Asmus Tietchens, a massive fan of tapes, Cluster, Neu, and Harmonia from Hamburg who recorded two live shows Harmonia did with Mani Neumeier of Guru Guru on drums in 1975 at different clubs in that city, and who also got his hands on rare tapes of Harmonia studio tracks from the same year. They have now been released in limited amounts to the listening public.

The first studio track, "Tiki-Taka", is a unique beast in the Harmonia discography, a dark track filed to the brim with skittering instruments, including a never before or since used by them nagoja harp. This alone makes "Documents" a revelatory release, showing a never before seen part of the supergroup's creative consciousness. Its studio cousin is "Proto-Deluxe", a standard though as usual fun and relaxing cut of theirs. The other revelations come from the live cuts, which merge their electronic styles and experiments with psychkraut jamming that compares to live Floyd and the first Ash Ra Tempel album. This is another very different side of the band. Altogether, this is a revealing and excellent little collection, proving once and for all the varied, versatile, and enduring creativity of these legendary musicians.

 Deluxe by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.29 | 42 ratings

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Deluxe
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by Fido73

5 stars How can an album like Harmonia Deluxe, which I consider one of the ultimate Krautrock album, be classified in Progressive Electronic, is beyond me !?! For me, there is 2 type of Krautrock, one organic, like Can, Popol Vuh & Amon Düül and the other, electronic like Clauster, Neu! & this band, Harmonia.

Harmonia is a collaboration between 3 of Krautrock most important creator, Moebius(Clauster), Roedelius(Clauster) & Rother(Neu!). Unfortunately, they made only 2 album, Musik Von Harmonia(1974) & Deluxe(1975) there is a 3 one but not release long after the band was over. It's a shame because the 2 album made by Harmonia are amongst the best album made in Germany during the 70's.

It seems like I'm in the minority of people who really like this album, I like Deluxe so much that I can listen to it in loop for hours without being tired of listening to the same music over and over. The first time I heard it was a very cheap MP3 version that a friend of mine got me from the internet. I didn't like it and was very disappointed because I really like their first one and also, I'm a big, big fan of Krautrock. Since I disapprove illegal downloading and have a enormous CD collection, I had to have that one legal, even if I didn't like it that much. I had their first one so I had to have the second one, for my Krautrock collection. I finally found the remaster version at the HMV in downtown Montréal. Not the place to find a rare album like that ;)

I'm glad I bought it because? It's amazing what a CD with a good sound can change your perception of music your already know and didn't really getting it. I finally got it, it's a cross between the best part of Autoban by Kratfwerk, Hallogallo by Neu! and anything by Clauster. I was looking for an album like that ever since I became a fan of the album Autoban by Kraftwerk and found that their other album, has good as they might be, are more techno than anything. Since my discovery of Krautrock, I knew I was gonna find it, the album. In fact, I found 2, one is Can Future Days and the other, Deluxe by Harmonia. I was surprise to find that it's not as popular of an album in PA that I tough it would be, so I may be in the minority here but, If you like electronic Krautrock, you should try it, you might never know, It could be a winner like it did to me. So I gladly rating it 5 stars, Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music, at least for me it is.

 Harmonia Live 1974 by HARMONIA album cover Live, 2007
3.67 | 14 ratings

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Harmonia Live 1974
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This one is hard to rate impartially. But that is the idea of universal information.

So here it goes.........I never considered Harmonia as a "guitar leaded" band. Their studio albums, by rule, never stick to the same option of styling, among so many choices of electronic gadgets usually found in studios and the ones each brought in. The best part of this "Live-1974" cd, is that you will never have noticed it is "live". No applauses, cheers, whistling nor stuff like that. The "live" music went directly to the tape.

The performance is constructed as a sole base. The songs, most of the time are intense in repetition, more than in creativity. The incessant drum box beats more than once overshadow, the frontal music. Now, talking straight, they have to rely constantly in the "human" nature of the electric guitar performance, which of course has always been an integral part in their "studio" albums, but never that much, as to become too much.

So, an outdated drum box sound, a somehow leadind guitar, which at times is not that creative, because it is holding the whole song alone, because the other two guys are busy, "live" controlling their synths, sequencers, drum boxes and other simmilar tools.

The song writing has its occasional awesome heights, the "drone" like "live" experience should have been amazing, but as recorded material or album as such, ***3.5 "I admire the band, but this is "universal" information" PA stars.

 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

5 stars I'm not going to bore you with the musicians whereabouts, why they played together ?, or if they sound like their respective origins, to be honest, I care for the musical results, the rest is for historians. If not for the date of issue, to keep track, of who came first with what. So, taking that into account, this, 1974, HARMONIA album, has become with time, more like a perfect and accurate forecast, of how progressive-electronic, did develop, to what it is today, WOW! How they were able to ellaborate, play, imagine or at least intuit these languages?,. is by far, what makes this project a 5- PA stars (for me), super Progressive-.Electronic project. Add to that, the perfect distribution of the songs, their timing and the variety of electronic ideas and tendencies they cover (from experimental, to ambient, to pulses to drum-boxes, to electric guitar/synth compositions, all merged together into one, UNPRETENTIOUS, 42 minute-album, and into single, 3 to 10 minutes, songs. When others, at the time, were caught in exploring only, specific parts of the whole picture, Harmonia was having fun, using the most relevant and unexplored elements and putting them all together, as a result of this "brainsorm", no impossition is felt when listened, a lot of surprises are encountered, and the perfect identity of each song is never lost in the bundle. And to close things down, even though, it offers some "serious" song-writing, it never loses its humour or unpretentiosness. Very "Krautrock" in that aspect. So. *****5 PA stars, just for having such a long, long term vision and for being able to conjure and record it, for us P.E. audiophiles!
 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Harmonia's first albums sounds exactly like a collaboration effort from Cluster and Neu! without all of the boring repetitiveness that suffocates some of Neu!'s discography.

Musik Von basically sounds like Cluster, but a lot warmer and eclectic with a stronger element of poppy Kraftwerkian melody (somewhat comparable to Zuckerzeit). The krautrock-inspired strong motorik beat expected from Neu! (experts at this method) propels a good amount of these tracks.

With the longest track, "Sehr Kosmisch", being just over 10 minutes and along with "Ohrwurn" being the most experimental and drone-oriented on the album, Musik Von is very manageable for listeners looking for something retro and reasonably accessible and melodic in regard to krautrock-inspired electronic music.

The range of tempi on this album are surprisingly refreshing, ranging from rather fast and powerful to slow and sentimental, though always employing the typical '70s German electronic groove.

A lot of this album sounds a lot like the underrated Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2 albums but injected with a considerable amount of emotion while still remaining mostly robotic and cold. I think fans of Cluster and early Kraftwerk will find much to enjoy about Musik Von, but for those looking for something even more obviously rooted in krautrock then Harmonia's follow-up album may be more appropriate.

 Harmonia Live 1974 by HARMONIA album cover Live, 2007
3.67 | 14 ratings

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Harmonia Live 1974
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by Guldbamsen
Special Collaborator Retired Admin

4 stars Chug chug chugging along

If you know those old electronic rhythm devices such as you´d find on old organs - that snuffle and chug like a puffing steam train, then look no further if you want to know how this sounds applied to music.

Harmonia was a German trio consisting of Michael Rother off legendary Krautrock band NEU! and the 2 electronic wizards from Cluster Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius. One could almost call this a super group, if these guys were better known to the world outside of Germany and the few Krautrock connoisseurs out there.

As the title suggests this record was cut in 1974, and luckily so because all 3 musicians here was at the very top of their game. None of these tracks feature anywhere else in their discography (at least to my knowledge), which means that you get 5 sparkling new tracks. On top of this, the sound quality of this release happens to be vibrant and warm, and by the flick of the switch - with eyes closed - ready for a mind movie, you´re transported back in time to this tasty and imaginative gig. This is serious headphone music, and it helps big time if you can picture the Penny Station in Griessen Germany filled with long haired freaks and folks sitting on their jackets smoking, drinking, tripping doing their very best to escape the earthly bounds of the floor.

All of these tracks sound improvised with blowing ambient synth landscapes that consistently prowls the airwaves like soft and delicate wolverines in flight. Together with Michael Rother´s spacey and lingering guitar work, the music takes on an effervescent characteristic, that makes the music soar and glide in and out of psychedelic terrains and electronic currents.

It is a boat ride just as much as it is a train journey, - a realistic musical adaptation of a trip through the swooping autobahn on a huge robotic vessel. The music is cradling and motorik laden, but still a long way from being gentle and sedate. It feels determined like a commercial ferry ploughing through the streets headed for its home harbour. Just like German engineering the rhythm boxes showers this release in a very conform coating, but that only ads to the mystery, as to why this album sounds so free.

If you enjoy your music psychedelic, chugging, minimalistic, improvised and hypnotic, then you could do worse than this fine record, which is a fine example of a journey well spent on your bottom. Your head on the other hand has been places, where objects move like echoing slow lightnings through the skies, and your senses feel heightened and crisp like a metaphysical conductor licking the rail road tracks in sheer exuberance.

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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