Tim Story may come from Detroit, Michigan, but his heart beats audibly for the European avant-garde. And European labels like Atem and Uniton Records were those that first noticed his “21st Century Chamber Musique” in the early 1980s: dark, melodic ambient miniatures – mostly, but not only, made on synthesizers and piano. Twenty-five albums now bear his name, in addition to numerous contributions to compilations and soundtracks, including that for the documentary Caravan (2005). His acquaintance with Roedelius began with a fan letter. Since then, in addition to numerous concerts the two have produced five albums together. He was also the producer of the Cluster album Qua (2009).
Biographies of the participating artists
Fabrício Carvalho had to travel the furthest to get to Lifelines. After working in various bands in his southern Brazilian hometown of Porto Alegre, in 2000 he began experimenting under the name of Astronauta Pinguim with an equipment pool of historic synthesizers. The pulsating West German machine music of the 1970s is unmistakably his guiding light. His latest album is even called “Zeitgeist/Propaganda.” He recorded the 7 inch vinyl “Automatic/Here She Comes, There She Goes” with the Silver Apples singer Simeon Coxe III. At the same time, Astronauta Pinguim is a researcher in the field of early Electronica: he presents his findings and interviews in a blog and the weekly Oscillations Radio Show broadcast in Brazil and Portugal.
Carolin Brandl, originally from the field of dance, now works in film. Her works, associated with the documentary genre, are also shown in an art context. For her film and artistic work Brandl received an annual art award endowed by the German stock exchange. Alongside her projects as film director, she has worked on a regular basis on artistic collaborations with choreographers and (electronic) musicians for several years. “Unfinished Portrait of Roedelius Today” is her third joint project with Hanno Leichtmann. At HKW Carolin Brandl is showing a conceptual video in which she, like Leichtmann, uses loops and refers to Roedelius’s song titles. The film work oscillates between text and image, producing ever-new references to Leichtmann’s sound installation and the work of Roedelius.
To preserve traditional Corsican music from oblivion, in 1984 the brothers Jean-Jacques and Christian Andreani founded the research organization E Cetera and the ensemble Caramusa. The Andreanis traveled the island, learned the traditional melodies and how to play the traditional instruments. The band’s name refers to one of them: the Corsican bagpipes. In addition, they use pipes and flutes (pirula or pifana), percussion, mouth harp, the urganettu, a polyphonic accordion, and the cetera, a 16-stringed zither. Along with voices they produce a rough, polyphonic sound, which Caramusa have played at numerous festivals and released on four CDs.
Founded in 2007, the Chor der Kulturen der Welt is a polyphonic multipurpose tool whose members interpret pop songs, traditional and contemporary compositions on either side of the tempered tone system under the direction of Barbara Morgenstern and Phillipp Neumann. In 2007, they performed with Harmonia at their legendary Reunion at HKW. For Lifelines, they are rehearsing to premier a cantata composed by Hans-Joachim Roedelius’ ancestor Johann Christoph.
Among his most unlikely and yet typical collaborations is Hans-Joachim Roedelius’s encounter with Charlie Chaplin’s youngest son Christopher Chaplin. After initially following in his famous father’s footsteps in the acting profession, for several years Chaplin has also worked as a pianist and composer. Fabrique Records issued “Seven Echoes” in 2010, an electro-acoustic collaboration with the Viennese sound artist Thomas Pötz aka Kava. Then in Vienna, Roedelius and Chaplin came together for the first time at a concert at Gugging psychiatric clinic. This was followed by Chaplin’s remix of Roedelius’ contribution to the BBC series Late Night Junction, joint appearances and the album “King of Hearts.”
Singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole began his career as the front man of the Commotions, a band navigating between blue-eyed soul, folk and pop that had a short but stormy career. Cole then worked solo and with the even more short-lived U.S. band The Negatives until the Hamburg label Tapete Records honored him with an extensive retrospective. In 2001, Cole trod electronic pathways with his album “Plastic Wood,” from which Roedelius created spontaneous and unsolicited remixes. The two continued their collaboration on the 2013 album “Selected Studies Vol. 1” on the Bureau B label. As the numbering suggests, their alliance is far from over and will be tested live at HKW.
The name Brian Eno stands like no other for the development and definition of what is known as “Ambient:” liquefied sounds following in the footsteps of Erik Satie, which replace the soothing background noise of nature in the technologized noosphere. The former Roxy Music keyboardist has long left his mark going beyond the borders of music into popular culture, establishing both gender- and pitch-bending in pop music and exploring new territories in many interdisciplinary fields like Zen Buddhism, music theory, audiovisual art and software development. His visits to Moebius & Roedelius in Weserbergland are now considered a formative station on his winding pathway.
Sliding ARPs, droning Korgs, mumbling Moogs: For ten days, the three musicians Thomas Poli, Lionel Laquerrière and the composer and multi-instrumentalist Yann Tiersen locked themselves in the latter’s studio, each chose his analog synthetic weapons, and off they went: unrehearsed, intuitive and under the influence of a canon of Kraftwerk, Delia Derbyshire, Tim Hecker, Grouper, Neu!, Popol Vuh and, of course, Roedelius. The session was preceded by a series of live performances. When the recording lamp lit red, the outcome was uncertain, but E S B (Elektrische Staubband) knew exactly what they were doing. The proof will be available this autumn on the debut album issued by Bureau B or on stage at HKW.
Richard Fearless was already exploring somber sound spheres with his band Death in Vegas and he is still in the thrall of heavy bass and atonal noises. It was not by accident that he called his label Drone, and even when the bass drum stomps down below, the harmonies looming above it bear the handwriting of a Roedelius connoisseur. The primary colors of Richard Fearless’s sound palette are still derived from the synth classics Korg MS-20, the Roland SH-09 and the canonical Roland family of the 303, 808 and 909.
The pianist, producer and sound engineer Arnold Kasar, a native of the southern Black Forest, feels at home between Nu Jazz and Electronica. Kasar contributed his sound arts to a large number of bands from the Sonar Kollektiv milieu, like Micatone and Nylon, and built the musical stage for the late-blooming hipster Friedrich Liechtenstein. In 2012 he released his first solo album “The Piano Has Been Smoking,” on which he renewed his relationship with the neglected instrument of his childhood: the piano. It is a relationship that he intensified using an orchestra and singing (!) on his successor album “Walk On” and now extends to a quadrangle in duet with Hans-Joachim Roedelius.
Viennese artist, producer and DJ Peter Kruder is a legendary figure in electronic music. The Kruder and Dorfmeister releases “G-Stoned” (G-Stone, 1994), “DJ Kicks” and “The K&D Sessions” (!K7, 1996 and 1998), together with his partner Richard Dorfmeister, are considered pioneering for the genre. Parallel to his partnership with Dorfmeister, Peter Kruder has always followed solo projects. In 1999, he released his debut album “Peace Orchestra”. His remixes include works by Bebel Gilberto, Fauna Flash and many others. In 2001, Kruder kicked off the Voom Voom project with Fauna Flash (Christian Prommer and Roland Appel). Additionally, he has released various singles under his own name on labels such as Gigolo Records, Macro, 2DIY4 and the Compost Black Label. As a DJ, Kruder has been spinning since the early 1990s.
Lukas Lauermann is a cellist, composer, artist and musical aesthete in the Vienna scene. He played with the bands Donauwellenreiter and A Life, A Song, A Cigarette, for Soap&Skin and The Twentieth Century. In addition to solo projects, he also collaborated with Ritornell, Mimu Merz and Der Nino aus Wien. He worked as a theatrical and performance musician with Gelatin, Bree Zucker, Salvatore Viviano and Bruno Galindo. Lauermann studied at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts and the Anton Bruckner University in Linz. In 2014, Lauermann received an Austrian government scholarship for young artists for composition.
At home in the broad field between improvised real-time and digital club music, Hanno Leichtmann is a true child of the anarchic Berlin 1990s. He released solo albums under the names Static and Vulva String Quartett, performed music in projects such as Pole and Band, Denseland and White Hole, composed stage music for Sasha Waltz, film soundtracks for Christoph Schlingensief and, as the drummer of the trio Groupshow (with Andrew Pekler and Jan Jelinek), expressly declared himself Kraut. His installation for Lifelines formally draws on work such as Minimal Studies (2013) and Unfinished Portrait of Youth Today (2015). Loops and sounds distilled from Roedelius’ oeuvre are played by multiple sound media over four sound systems. Supplemented by Carolin Brandl’s video images, every night new, aleatoric Roedelius “variations” are thus generated. A few days ago, Leichtmann was also commissioned by the IMD in Darmstadt to transform its newly opened complete archives into an installation during the 2016 summer courses.
Christoph H. Müller has a magnificent synthpop skeleton in the closet with the novelty wave hit “Muhammar” by his former band Touch El Arab. The Swiss musician has continued to empathize with non-European musical cultures in an unconventional way. He produced “Hot Stuff” for the dance floor with The Boyz from Brazil before they mutated into the sedate Gotan Project in 1999 and broadly electrified the tango. They were working again in a sophisticated way with samplers and drum machines, but also collaborated with such luminaries as Gustavo Beytelmann and Nini Flores. Müller’s penchant for anagrams leads us directly to today’s duo program, Imagori.
Kluster with a K, Cluster with a C, and now Qluster. Begun in Berlin in 1968 by Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Conrad Schnitzler and the late Dieter Moebius, whenever the group changed its lineup it also changed its spelling. The C was dropped when Schnitzler left and Kluster floated along as a duo towards Harmonia, Conny Plank and Brian Eno. When Moebius left after more than 30 years, the Q was adopted along with Onnen Bock, the sound artist and former sound engineer of the Berlin Philharmonic. This lineup of Qluster produced the 2011 trilogy “Rufen.” “Fragen.” “Antworten.” The Lifelines-concert, in which Bock and Roedelius join Armin Metz on three pianos, offers a taste of the upcoming album, “Tasten.”
Born in Berlin-Steglitz in 1934, Hans-Joachim Roedelius was a UFA child actor, refugee, nurse and palliative caregiver, detective, butler, chauffeur and masseur. His life’s path led him through both Germanys to Corsica but he always remained in contact with the world of music. When that world made sparks in West Germany in the late 1960s with the visual arts between Fluxus and expansion of consciousness, Roedelius was part of it with his bands Cluster and Harmonia. They soon were considered outstanding representatives of West German progressive rock, which British journalists tenderly dubbed “Krautrock.” Roedelius’s contributions, however, were neither martial nor overly intellectual; Zen garden-like soundscapes became his trademark, mostly created on the piano and synthesizer. Since then he has tirelessly produced solo works as well as collaborations in addition to installations, sound sculptures, film and stage music. He lives and works tirelessly in Baden near Vienna and regularly returns to Corsica.
As Palindrome Hotel, Albin Paul and Stephan Steiner revitalize the European tradition of Bordun music. In their Hotel Haydn program, for example, they put these playing and singing techniques, which were swept aside by European art music, in global and postmodern contexts. When they perform as Tempus Transit with Heidelinde Graz and Roedelius, they leave the world of reconstruction behind and create a medieval counterpoint to the keyboard performance with their overtone singing and yodeling or on instruments such as bagpipes, nyckelharpa, violin, accordion, reed pipe and clarinet.