|Born||26 October 1934|
Electronic art music
New Age music
German rock (Deutschrock)
|Instruments||Synthesizer, keyboards, piano, guitar|
|Years active||1968 to present|
Captain Trip Records, Grönland Records
Hans-Joachim Roedelius (born 26 October 1934 in Berlin) is a German experimental, ambient and electronic musician. He is best known as a co-founder of the krautrock groups Cluster and Harmonia and for his work in the ambient jazz trio Aquarello.
In 1968 Roedelius co-founded the music commune known as "Human Being" and co-formed Zodiak Free Arts Lab, the center of Berlin's Underground Culture at the time, with conceptual artist Conrad Schnitzler. He met Dieter Moebius at the Zodiak. In 1970 Roedelius, Schnitzler and Moebius formed Kluster.
In 1971 Schnitzler left the group to start a long-running solo career and Moebius and Roedelius anglicised the band's name to Cluster. At first Cluster worked along the same lines as their parent group, signed first to Philips then to Brain. In 1974, they worked with Neu! guitarist Michael Rother for the first time.
Rother co-produced their third album, Zuckerzeit, moving the band's style further from avant-garde 'noise' to a more melodic music, similar to modern-day trance. The trio had been touring Germany and the Low Countries since early 1973 and decided to record an album together under the moniker of Harmonia. Musik von Harmonia was released on the back of a huge publicity campaign by Brain.
Harmonia released one further album initially, 1975's Deluxe. British musician Brian Eno, who had become a fan of both Cluster and Harmonia, joined them for several jams, the result of which was released in 1997 as Tracks & Traces.
Rother left Harmonia to pursue his solo career and Cluster returned to the studio to record Sowiesoso which was released on Sky Records. Brian Eno, who had returned to Germany to work with David Bowie, improvised two albums worth of music with Cluster: 1977's Cluster & Eno and 1978's After the Heat, the latter of which gained the band much attention in the British music press.
A further Cluster album, Großes Wasser which extended Cluster's music into long form. Roedelius' solo career began with Durch die Wüste in 1978 and then Jardin au Fou in 1979. This album laid down Roedelius' future style: melodic piano and (often faked) acoustic instruments played with a sharp tinge of electronics.
The first of the lengthy Selbstportrait series was released in 1979, being outtakes from his work with Cluster and Harmonia, without the input of his collaborators. Recorded on only two tracks, the Selbstportraits make up the backbone of Roedelius' early solo recordings.
Leaving Sky in 1982, his work took a more New Age style as he signed to Virgin's Venture sub-label. During this period, his best selling solo album Geschenk des Augenblicks - Gift of the Moment was released.
He was dropped by Venture in 1989 and began releasing on a variety of small labels, notably Multimood and Prudence. He began to venture into the newly emerging genre of techno, starting with 1991's Der Ohrenspiegel, whose 25-minute opener, Reflectorum displays some of the characteristics of the later Sinfonia Contempora series.
By 1994 Roedelius' style was a heady mix of amateur electronics and sometimes clichéd ambient jazz. An album from this year; Theatreworks, was rewarded with the title "album of the month" by experimental music magazine The Wire.
Arguably the biggest turning point in Roedelius' career came in 1994 as well. The release of Sinfonia Contempora No. 1: Von Zeit zu Zeit marked, in Roedelius' own words, "Since the beginning of my career nothing was more important to me than to find my own musical language. I have, so I believe, eventually found it." The album consists of mismatched tape fragments (from numerous jams ranging from the mid-eighties to the mid-nineties) multitracked over the top of each other to create a disjointed but oddly musical sound.
Sinfonia Contempora No. 2: La Nordica (Salz Des Nordens) was released in 1996, making for a much more sinister and muddy sound than its predecessor. Also released in this period was Selbstportrait VI: The Diary of the Unforgotten, the first of the modern Selbstportraits. Now, rather than merely remastering the seventies DAT tapes, Roedelius also played over them, the sound montage Homage á Forst samples many Harmonia and Cluster tracks into the mix.
In the meantime, Cluster had reformed. 1990's Apropos Cluster was an update for the band, being a work of avant-techno not dissimilar in style to Großes Wasser. In 1996 Cluster embarked on two international tours, one of Japan and one of America. Both tours would be summarised on the following years live albums. The new sound of Cluster learns from the Sinfonia Contempora sound whilst adding Moebius' distinctive sound.
The turn of the century was Roedelius' most productive year, an astonishing eight albums being released between 2000 and 2001. Reprising the Selbstportrait series for the seventh time in 2000, Roedelius composed entirely new tracks for the first time on Selfportrait VII: dem Wind voran - ahead of the wind. The new millennium also saw Roedelius begin to work with other, usually younger, musicians than he had done since the late eighties.
Another series is Lieder vom Steinfeld. Begun in 1995, Roedelius recites poems over these pieces, primarily in his native German dialect. In 2001 Roedelius worked with Conrad Schnitzler again for the first time since 1971. The independently released and extremely rare Acon 2000/1 was the result.
Roedelius had been growing substantially in fame since Cluster began touring again in 1996. He is now often cited by electronic musicians and releases several albums a year, many of which are collaborations with modern musicians who are fans. He works extensively with Tim Story and recently released Fibre with the help of Noh 1 (a.k.a. George Taylor), an album which has reached 13th place in "the Third Uncut Playlist of 2009" for Uncut Magazine, ahead of Bruce Springsteen's Working on a Dream.
In November 2010 it was announced that Cluster had split up for the third time. In the official announcement, the split up was described as Moebius leaving the group. In the wake of this news, Roedelius announced that he was beginning a new project called Qluster, to follow on from Cluster and Kluster. The band is made up of Roedelius and accomplished electronic musician Onnen Bock and will release a trilogy named "Rufen", "Fragen" and "Antworten" (Calling, Asking and Answering) in 2011. "Fragen" will be released on 27 May.
- Roedelius' recorded career can be split into roughly 7 eras
- The Schwann Years (1968–1971)
- The Brain Years (1972–1975)
- The Sky Years (1976–1982)
- The Virgin Years (1983–1989)
- The Early Baden Years (1990–1993)
- The Symphonic Years (1994–1998)
- The Modern Years (1999–present)
- In Human Being
- 2008 : Live at the Zodiak - Berlin 1968 (live album)
- In Kluster
- 1970 : Klopfzeichen (studio album)
- 1970 : Zwei-Osterei (studio album)
- 1971 : Eruption (live album, originally released as Kluster und Eruption)
- In Cluster
- 1971 : Cluster '71 (studio album)
- 1972 : Cluster II (studio album)
- 1974 : Zuckerzeit (studio album)
- 1976 : Sowiesoso (studio album)
- 1979 : Großes Wasser (studio album)
- 1980 : Live In Vienna (live album)
- 1981 : Curiosum (studio album)
- 1984 : Stimmungen (compilation album)
- 1990 : Apropos Cluster (studio album, credited to Moebius + Roedelius)
- 1994 : One Hour (live album)
- 1997 : Japan 1996 Live (live album, credited to Roedelius Moebius on some editions)
- 1997 : First Encounter Tour 1996 (live album)
- 2008 : Berlin 07 (live album)
- 2009 : Qua (studio album)
- In Harmonia
- In Aquarello
- 1991 : Friendly Game (studio album, credited to Roedelius, Capanni, Alesini)
- 1993 : To Cover The Dark (studio album)
- 1998 : Aquarello (live album, credited as Roedelius solo album)
- In Global Trotters (Kenji Konishi, Susumu Hirasawa, Alquimia, David Bickley, Felix Jay, Alex Paterson)
- In Qluster
- 2011 : Fragen (studio album)
- 2011 : Rufen (live album)
- 2011 : Antworten (studio album)
- 2013 : Lauschen (studio album)
- 1978 : Durch die Wüste (studio album)
- 1979 : Jardin au Fou (studio album)
- 1979 : Selbstportrait (studio album)
- 1980 : Selbstportrait - Vol. II (studio album)
- 1980 : Selbstportrait Vol. III "Reise durch Arcadien" (studio album)
- 1981 : Lustwandel (studio album)
- 1981 : Wenn Der Südwind Weht (studio album)
- 1981 : Offene Türen (studio album)
- 1982 : Flieg' Vogel fliege (studio album)
- 1982 : Wasser im Wind (studio album)
- 1984 : Auf leisen Sohlen (compilation album)
- 1984 : Geschenk des Augenblicks - Gift of the Moment (studio album)
- 1984 : Begegnungen (compilation album)
- 1985 : Begegnungen II (compilation album)
- 1986 : Wie das Wispern des Windes (studio album)
- 1987 : Momenti Felici (studio album)
- 1989 : Bastionen der Liebe - Fortress of love (studio album)
- 1990 : Variety of Moods (studio album)
- 1991 : Der Ohrenspiegel (studio album)
- 1991 : Piano Piano (studio album)
- 1992 : Cuando... Adonde (studio album)
- 1992 : Frühling (studio album) later re-released as Romance in the Wilderness
- 1993 : Tace! (studio album)
- 1994 : Sinfonia Contempora No. 1: Von Zeit zu Zeit (studio album)
- 1994 : Theatre Works (studio album)
- 1995 : Selbstportrait VI: The Diary of the Unforgotten (studio album)
- 1995 : Vom Nutzen der Stunden - Lieder vom Steinfeld Vol. I (studio album)
- 1995 : 61sechzigjahr (compilation album, released privately)
- 1996 : Sinfonia Contempora No. 2: La Nordica (Salz Des Nordens) (studio album)
- 1996 : Pink, Blue And Amber (studio album)
- 1999 : Selfportrait VII: dem Wind voran - ahead of the wind (studio album)
- 1999 : Amerika Recycled by America Inc (studio album)
- 1999 : Vom Nutzen der Stunden - Lieder Vom Steinfeld Vol.II (studio album)
- 2000 : Roedeliusweg (studio album)
- 2001 : Roedelius 2001 - Orgel Solo (studio album)
- 2001 : Das Verwirrte Schaf - Wort-Klang Collage zum Aschermittwoch (studio album)
- 2002 : Selbstportrait VIII - Introspection (studio album)
- 2003 : American Steamboat (studio album)
- 2003 : Counterfeit (studio album)
- 2003 : Lieder vom Steinfeld Vol.III (studio album)
- 2003 : Roedelius 1969-2002 (compilation album)
- 2006 : Works 1968-2005 (compilation album)
- 2007 : Snapshots/Sidesteps (studio album)
- 2008 : Back Soon (compilation album)
- 2010 : Ex Animo (studio album)
- 1997 : Tracks and Traces (credited to either Harmonia '76 or Harmonia and Eno '76)
- 2009 : Harmonia & Eno '76 Remixes (remix album)
- 1977 : Cluster & Eno (credited to Cluster & Eno)
- 1978 : After the Heat (studio album)
- 1985 : Old Land (compilation album) (credited to Cluster and Brian Eno)
- 1977 : Before and after Science (studio album)
- Track: "By This River"
- With Alexander Czjzek
- 1987 : Weites Land (studio album)
- With Aqueous
- 1994 : Grace Notes (studio album)
- 1997 : Meeting The Magus (studio album)
- 1998 : T'ai (studio album)
- With Alquimia
- 2000 : Move and Resonate
- With Tim Story (sometimes collectively referred to as Lunz)
- 2000 : The Persistence of Memory (studio album)
- 2002 : Lunz (studio album)
- 2005 : Lunz-Reinterpretations (remix album)
- 2008 : Inlandish (studio album)
- With Conrad Schnitzler
- 2001 : Acon 2000/1 (studio album)
- 2001 : Evermore
- With Lynn
- 2001 : Act of Love (studio album)
- With Nikos Arvanitis
- 2002 : Digital Love (studio album)
- With Noh 1
- 2003 : Imagine Imagine (soundtrack album, released as Roedelius and Fratellis)
- 2009 : Fibre (studio album)
- With Morgan Fisher
- 2005 : Neverless (studio album)
- With David Bickley
- 2008 : Bonaventura (studio album)
- With Kava
- 2008 : The Gugging Album (studio album)
- 2008 : Errata (studio album)
- With Alessandra Celletti
- 2009 : Sustanza di cose sperata (studio album)
- With Christopher Chaplin
- 2012 : King Of Hearts (studio album)
- With Lloyd Cole
- 2013 : Selected Studies Vol. 1 (studio album)
- 2014 : Latitudes (music installation for photography exhibition/studio album)
Painting with Sound: The Life and Music of Hans-Joachim Roedelius by Stephen Iliffe. Foreword by Brian Eno - Meridian Music Guides 2003. ISBN 0-9545995-0-0
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