Harmonia, which Brian Eno called "the world's most important rock band", came about in the early 1970's by the merger of Cluster (Hans Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) and Michael Rother (of Neu! and early Kraftwerk). It seems to have been a natural progression of the musical explorations of all three musicians; fate, if you will. Cluster was experimenting both with the capabilities of their instruments and also with the song format, stretching it into a new direction, one which reflected the industrialism and pace of the post-World War II era. Michael Rother, too, found the need to express himself musically in ways that weren't available to him in Neu!. And so, Harmonia appeared.

Perhaps Eno's reason for praising Harmonia so highly was that their music fit the requirements of ambient rock. Its music was equally suitable for active or passive listening. The careful listener found his/her attentions rewarded by the musical activities and sounds, but Harmonia's music was also capable of setting a sonic environment. Harmonia was also quite willing to use their muscial instruments as sound sources, instead of playing them in the conventional sense. That is not to say, however, that they were mediocre musicians. On the contrary, their playing techniques influenced many. Perhaps, sometimes, the influence was a bit, ahem, too strong. For example, David Bowie's "Red Sails", on "The Lodger", sounds suspiciously like Harmonia's guitar-driven "monza" (from "deluxe"). Harmonia is often imitated, but seldom acknowledged.


musik von Harmonia                        Brain 1044        1974
   personnel:  Hans Roedelius (organ, piano, guitar, electric 
               percussion), Michael Rother (guitar, piano, 
               organ, electric percussion), Dieter Moebius 
               (synthesizer, guitar, electric percussion);
               recorded in Harmonia's studio in Forst, Germany,
               June - November 1973 
        watussi (5:55)
        sehr kosmisch (10:50)
        sonnenschein (3:50)
        dino (3:30)
        ohrwurm (5:05)
        ahoi! (5:00)
        veterano (3:55)
        hausmusik (4:30)
deluxe                                    Brain 1073        1975
   personnel:  Hans Roedelius (keyboards, vocals), Michael Rother
               (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Dieter Moebius 
               (synthesizer, nagoja harp, vocals), "special 
               guest" Mani Neumeier (drums);  recorded in
               Harmonia's studio in Forst, Germany, June 1975 
        deluxe (immer wieder) (9:45)
        walky-talky (10:35)
        monza (rauf und runter) (7:07)
        notre dame (4:15)
        gollum (4:35)
        kekse (5:35)
After these albums, Cluster went on to record four more albums, 
and Michael Rother pursued a solo career.
                   --- Daniel M. Dumych ---                     
                -: ad520@freenet.buffalo.edu :- 

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