INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Uncut OCTOBER 2015 - by Rob Hughes
Electronica pioneer (1944-2015)
The death of Dieter Moebius has robbed the music world of one of the great innovators of electronica. His work with Cluster and Harmonia helped define the new strain of experimental and ambient sounds that began spreading from Germany in the early '70s. Moebius himself always insisted there was no great design to the music he made, be it the abstract dissonance of Cluster, the synthetic kosmische of Harmonia or his eclectic recordings as a solo artist. "The concept," he once said, "was not to have a concept."
Swiss-born Moebius first met Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler at the Zodiak Free Arts Lab in Berlin, where he'd gone to study. In 1969 the trio formed Kluster, who announced their arrival with a twelve-hour gig at a local art gallery. After two LPs of proto-industrial improv (Klopfzeichen and Zwei-Osterei, each recorded in a single night with engineer Conny Plank), Schnitzler quit in 1971, upon which the remaining duo elected to press on as Cluster. The music gradually became less chaotic, with Moebius and Roedelius, both of whom were autodidacts, introducing more harmonic elements. It was a fruitful union that was to survive, on and off, for nearly forty years and produce eleven albums. "It worked out quite well as Achim [Roedelius] is more of a romantic guy," Moebius explained to arts magazine Frieze in 2012. "I was more of the 'flippy' one that works a lot with rhythms."
In 1973 the pair moved to rural Germany,built their own studio in Forst and teamed up with Neu!'s Michael Rother to form Harmonia. The two albums they made, the following year's Muzik Von Harmonia and 1975's Deluxe, proved to be hugely influential, forging links between warm ambience, loop-based repetition and motorik rhythms. Brian Eno called them the "world's most important rock band", leading to a collaboration that yielded Tracks And Traces, though the album remained unreleased until 1997. Eno also worked with Moebius and Roedelius on 1977's Cluster & Eno and After The Heat (1978). Moebius made over a dozen solo albums and issued his final effort with 2014's Nidemonex.