Drummer, manipulator of the synthesizer, manipulator of the guitar, graphic artist and groundbreaking experimental Ambient, Industrial, Electronic, Techno and Krautrock innovator, Dieter Moebius will be remembered as one of the most important contributors to music so influential that it has penetrated deep into 21st century culture. It’s hard not to hear his and his collaborators and contemporaries influence in most of what is considered the groundbreaking music of today. But the early German experimental music has also influenced contemporary Pop music from behind the scenes since the seventies and eighties. Bowie, Depeche Mode, OMD, Sisters Of Mercy, Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, Ultravox, Gary Numan, Eno and too many others to mention here owe CAN, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Ashra, Cluster and Conny Plank a huge debt.
Originally forming Kluster as a trio with Conrad Schnitzler and Hans-Joachim Roedelius in 1969, Schnitzler left Moebius and Roedelius to continue as a duo, changing their name to Cluster. It’s here where I first heard their music, not on the first self-titled Cluster album (1971) but the second album Cluster II released in 1972. Why did I love it then, why do I love it now?
It’s like watching your favourite film over and over again but each time something different happens to alter your perception of what it’s all about. The album continues to throw out mysteries, no matter how well you know it. It’s like taking the same journey on the same craft with the same people but outside the window, the same place is different to yesterday. Imagine travelling to another world where your reality is constant but the world beyond has changing colours, changing landscapes and the swirling mass of space and churning wells of unknown chemicals on this planet you inhabit has its own conciousness that creates illusions, impossible situations, fear and bliss, warmth, love, anxiety, strangeness. You see yourself floating in the bubbling mud of the cosmos, you observe what you’ve done and what you haven’t, your life flashes before you, a life you’ve never had. Its’ the audio equivalent of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Tarkovsky’s Solaris except here your imagination can run wilder as you can create your own unexplainable images and scenarios – a soundtrack for impossible possibilities.
Cluster continued, developed through two more albums, Zuckerzeit (1974) and Sowiesoso (1976) whilst forming Harmonia with Michael Rother from Neu and releasing, Musik From Harmonia (1974) and Deluxe (1975). They were followed by two collaborations with Eno – Cluster And Eno (1977) and After The Heat (1978) credited to Eno, Moebius and Roedelius. Grosses Wasser (1979) and Curiosum (1981) – this marked the end of an era and the pattern continued with sporadic performances and albums with Harmonia, Cluster and many solo projects from Moebius. Apropos Cluster (1991) was credited to Moebius and Roedelius – One Hour (1995) and Qua (2009).
If you have an interest in the imagination inspired by musical experimentation then the works of Cluster and their contemporaries are essential albums for any collection. Moebius made many wonderful collaborations throughout his career – Rastakraut Pasta with Conny Plank is another essential purchase (they made 5 album projects together outside Cluster where Plank was also originally involved as producer and composer) but there are many other fascinating solo and live works from 1969 onwards and including Moebius’ last solo release, Nidemonex released in 2014.
Sadly Dieter Moebius joins an elite club of passed heroes of mine. Michael Karoli, founder, guitarist, violinist from CAN (died 2001 aged 53) – Conny Plank, producer, engineer and electronic composer (died 1987 aged 47) – Conrad Schnitzler Moebius’s band mate in the original Kluster and electronic composer (died 2011 aged 74) – Florian Fricke, Piano, keys and brains behind Popol Vuh (died 2001 aged 57) – Klaus Dinger, drummer in Neu and La Dusseldorf (died 2008 aged 61) – Edgar Froese, composer, electronic instrumentalist in Tangerine Dream (died 2015 aged 70).
Rest In Peace Dieter Moebius, condolences to friends and family. We the fans miss you already.
1. Plas (0:00)
2. Im Suden (6:20)
3. Fur Die Katz (19:14)
4. Live In Der Fabrik (22:24)
5. Georgel (37:17)
6. Nabitte (42:57)