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back in stock as of
december 1st, 2008
first in stock on
march 29th, 2007
|lilith (russia) #lr 123 cd|
harmonia “deluxe” compact disc
- deluxe (immer weider) (9:42)
- walky-talky (10:41)
- monza (rauf und runter ) (7:06)
- notre dame (4:15)
- gollum (4:38)
- kekse (5:34)
by asmus tietchens
with their second album harmonia surprised their listeners by introducing three unexpected changes. firstly, moebius, roedelius and rother had invited a drummer to join them as a guest for their live performances as well as for their studio recordings. secondly, they had taken a vocal piece into their repertoire and thirdly, they started playing underneath a sunshade illuminated by colourful light bulbs. this way, harmonia was presenting a completely new picture not only to people's ears but in the end also to their eyes. the sunshade was becoming some sort of a trademark, the vocals broadened their means of artistic expression and the drummer was breathing new life into harmonia's music. but first things first.
the analogue rhythm machine, which had been such a crucial feature in the past, was only of minor importance on the album deluxe, coming in for two tracks only. it was however used as a metronome for the drummer, who was no less a person than mani neumeier: he had gone through the fires of free jazz in the 1960s before founding the band guru guru, a long-establlshed representative of so-called "krautrock'. he was prepared and able to playas accurately and tirelessly as a living drum machine, at the same time being sensitive enough to react to every tiny nuance uttered by his fellow musicians. this way, harmonia freed themselves from the shackles of stnngent rhythms making their music flow all the more gently. what they were creating was unheard-of music that remained unparalleled, something which they owed to their own special way of combining acoustic, electronic and electro-acoustic instruments, to the imaginative and sometimes some sort of transcendent way of using their studio equipment as well as to the natural discipline they used to display during the recordings. there was no "cosmic" wafting, but cool and sober electronics, no brutal rhythms, but easy-going drums and flowing patterns. roedelius's dreamy keyboard tunes, moebius's skilful use of the synthesizers and the nagoya harp (what an instrument!) and rother's unmistakable guitar sound were virtues that could hardly merge in a better and more successful way than they did on this harmonia album.
compositions on deluxe were more complex. typical song structures were incorporated, for example a-b-a patterns, changes in harmony and not least melodies and metrical vocals. harmonia now disposed of a whole set of pieces they could always get back to, also in their live performances, so that they could no longer be considered as a band concentrating on improvisation only. however, they always took the liberty of deviating from their self-imposed regulations in order to explore new musical and sonic territory. they always remained eager to try things out and to broaden their horizon by following their path like a comet in the electronic universe: beautiful, brilliant and bewitching.
although deluxe is a highly formalist album, it managed to preserve this particular charm that had already characterised harmonia's debut album (musik von harmonia). rother, roedelius and moebius had again joined forces to invent new pieces. every single one of these flamboyant personalities added his own character to deluxe. back in 1975, nobody was aware of the fact yet that this album was to be harmonia's last sign of life pressed on vinyl. at some point soon, however, things became official: harmonia had actually dissolved as a band, no more live performances, no more record releases (except from the 1997 cd tracks & traces containing harmonia's sessions with brian eno dating back to the year 1976).
as it were, deluxe remained the swansong of one of the most influential and innovative german electronic bands of the seventies. although rother, moebius and roedelius haven't turned their back on music whatsoever but have continued working on various projects up to the present day, harmonia's voice as a band was not to be heard again in the future.
but what became of harmonia's rhythm machine? for a little while, it was still being used by cluster and every now and then it could also be heard on the solo albums by moebius and roedelius. then it fell silent as well. but for many years now, the author of these lines has kept it in a special place among his collection of technical devices, in memory of harmonia - and it still works by the way. all the ancient felt tip marks on it have been carefully conserved under a layer of varnish, thus protecting it from the ravages of time. the colourfully illuminated sunshade, under which the members of harmonia used to play for a very long time, had a destiny that is nearly as sad and tragic as the break-up of harmonia itself.
- asmus tietchens, long-standing friend of the band, has been working in the field of electronic music himself since 1965
michael rother: guitars, keyboards, vocals
hans-joachim roedelius: keyboards, vocals
dieter moebius: synthesizer, nagoja harp, vocals
special guest mani neumeier (guru guru): drums by courtesy of wea records
music and concept by rother/roedelius/moebius
recorded june '75 with conny's mobile equipment
at harmonia studio forst, mixed july '75 at conny's studio
engineer: c. plank production: harmonia/ plank
cover concept: harmonia realization: a.hintz
originally released in 1975 on brain 1073