Mojo SEPTEMBER 2012 - by Mike Barnes


Roedelius explains how his music with Cluster and Harmonia influenced Eno, Bowie and the sound of '77.

"CIuster formed in Berlin at The Zodiak Free Arts Lab in 1969. The Germans needed something new after all the horror and holocaust, and I think it was more or less unconscious, what we did, because none of us was a trained musician: Conrad Schnitzler was a fine artist, Dieter Moebius was a cook, I was a masseur. We just had to do it, and while we were doing what we did, it became a language. I don't think that I gave up being a masseur at all. I'm doing it via music now.

We first met Brian Eno in 1974, he came to a concert of Harmonia. Of course, we knew his work with Roxy Music and the solo stuff. We loved his music and when we met him, we loved the person as well. We jammed together very nicely at this concert and invited him to our place at Forst in mid-Germany. Two years later he stayed with us for about eleven days. You can hear the results on the record by Harmonia '76 with Eno, Tracks And Traces. That was the forerunner of CIuster & Eno (1977). It has the same sort of ambience - nice massaging music.

I learnt a lot from working with him: to focus on certain things, and not put too much material on tape. I think he liked the way we lived at the time; we made our own bread, went out in the forest gathering wood and doing rural work. MusicalIy I think he got something from the way we worked - and the way I still work - is to be open to the moment, and that's part of his programme.

Brian was on his way from Berlin to Lausanne to meet David Bowie to finish Low so perhaps he brought something from Forst to the production. I didn't listen to Low and "Heroes" for a long time, but he must have brought something to the game because David was a big fan of Cluster and Harmonia. I should listen to those records again. I'II probably find out he stole a lot from Harmonia and Cluster!

I think the music I'm doing with [new duo] Qluster is more rich and complex, but it's still improvised and open. I am surprised sometimes by what I'm doing, because I don't know what I am doing - I'm just doing it.

lt's hard to tell how influential Cluster have been. I can't listen to other people's music because I have too much to do: I have a big family. I listen only when I'm driving my car and then I listen to classical music."