Nowadays, some artists spend years working on an album. Partly, that’s down to the way albums are recorded. Things used to be very different.
Forty years ago, the only way to record an album, was in a recording studio. That cost money. So, the only bands able to record an album, were those signed to a record company. Time spent in a recording studio was expensive. So bands had be focused and disciplined. When the red light went on, they had to be ready to record. Nowadays, that’s not the case.
In the last twenty years, the way in which albums are recorded has changed beyond recognition. No longer, do bands need recording studios. Instead, all that’s needed is laptop or iPad containing a Digital Audio Workstation and some VSTs. Add to this, an audio interface, and any aspiring band or artist can record their debut album. That’s exactly what one of the true legends of music did recently.
Hans-Joachim Roedelius who currently, is working on ten separate projects, recently, collaborated with Christoph H. Mueller. The result was Mueller-Roedelius’ forthcoming new album Imagori which will be released by Grönland Records on 4th September 2015.
Imagori is the first collaboration between Hans-Joachim Roedelius, who co-founded Kluster, Cluster, Harmonia and Qluster, and the Swiss born composer and Christoph H. Mueller. Both men are experienced and talented artists.
In the case of Hans-Joachim Roedelius, prolific is the best way to describes the Berlin born composer. He has released over 200 albums over the past six decades. This includes solo albums and the albums he made Kluster, Cluster, Harmonia and Qluster. Then there are countless collaborations with the great and good of music.
Over the last forty years, Hans-Joachim Roedelius has collaborated with everyone from Brian Eno and Tim Story, to Lloyd Cole, Conrad Schnitzler, Morgan Fisher and Christopher Chaplin. He is a truly prolific musician, who even today is working on ten separate collaborations. However, Hans-Joachim Roedelius latest collaboration is with Christoph H. Mueller.
Just like Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Christoph H. Mueller has enjoyed a lengthy and successful career. The Swiss born composer first played a synth when he was sixteen. That was him hooked. After that, Christoph H. Mueller decided to make a living out of music.
Christoph H. Mueller’s career began in 1987, when he joined Touch El Arab, Basle based band. Success came quickly to Touch El Arab. They released a single in 1987. It wasn’t going anywhere, until someone flipped over to the B-Side. That’s where they found Muhammar Soon, it was climbing the Swiss charts, before settling at number four. Before long, Muhammar became a hit in France and Italy. This was the start of the Touch El Arab story.
The went onto release several singles and E.P.s, but only one album. That album was L.R.K. which was released in 1998. After that, Touch El Arab released just singles and E.P.s. However, it was Christoph H. Mueller’s introduction to music.
By the nineties, Christoph H. Mueller was working on various projects, including Ten Mother Tongues. This was a collaboration between Christoph and Gabriela Arnon. However, Ten Mother Tongues only released one album, The Listening Tree in 1996. A year later, Christoph hooked up with producer Philippe Cohen to found The Boyz From Brazil.
Little did Christoph or Philippe Cohen realise it, but they would go on to work together over the next three decades. Their first release as The Boyz From Brazil came in 1997, when they realised a trio of singles. Another single followed in 1999. Then in 2000 The Boyz From Brazil released their eponymous debut album. By then, Christoph and Philippe had two other projects up-and-running.
The first was Stereo Action Unlimited. They released two 12” singles, Hi-Fi Trumpet in 1999 and Lovelight in 2001. Christoph and Philippe other project was Fruit Of The Loop, who released the single S*Explore in 1999. However, would reunite for their most successful project, Gotan Project.
Since the new millennia dawned, Gotan Project have been the most prolific of the various projects Christoph and Philippe have been involved with. Apart from countless singles and E.P.s, there’s five albums, compilations, a DJ set and a box set.
Gotan Project released their debut album La Revancha Del Tango in 2000. A fusion of ambient, trip hop and Latin, it was a captivating combination. It seemed that Gotan Project were in no hurry to release their sophomore album. Eventually, Lunático followed in 2006, with Gotan Project Live following in 2008. After this, Christoph decided to embark upon another collaboration.
A year later, in 2009 Christoph and Peruvian percussionist Rodolfo Muñoz Radiokijada released an album togther, Nuevos Sonidos Afro Peruanos. The album was built around Afro Peruvian rhythms and culture, but incorporated a moderne sound. Just like previous projects Christoph had been involved in, it was exciting and ambitious. Sadly, it’s never been repeated. However, a year later, Gotan Project returned.
Tango 3.0, Gotan Project’s third studio album was released in 2010. It was the Gotan Project’s first album in two years. When Tango 3.0 was released to critical acclaim, Gotan Project’s star seemed to be in the ascendancy.
The following year, 2011, Gotan Project returned with La Revancha En Cumbia. This proved to be the last studio album that Gotan Project released. However, Christoph and another member of the Gotan Project formed a new group,
Following the release of Gotan Project’s fourth studio album, Christoph and Eduardo Makaroff of the Gotan Project founded a new project, Plaza Francia. It was a collaboration with French chanteuse Catherine Ringer of Les Rita Mitsouko. They released their debut album A New Tango Song Book in 2014, and earlier in 2015, released Live Re-Experience. However, that’s not the only album Christop will release during 2015.
Recently, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Christoph H. Mueller collaborated together on an album of ten tracks, Imagori. This new album from Mueller-Roedelius will be released by Grönland Records on 4th September 2015.
Mostly, Imagori is the work of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Christoph H. Mueller. They composed, performed and produced Imagori. Onnen Beck recorded and edited some of the acoustic piano and synth parts. The only other musician to feature on Imagori is Brian Eno. Even then, it’s just a sample of his voice that can be heard on About Tape. Just like the rest of Imagori, it’s just Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Christoph H. Mueller and the latest in musical technology.
Opening Imagori is Time Has Come. The arrangement crackles and bristles, before a slow, deliberate and melancholy piano plays. Still, the almost rhythmic sound of bristling, and crackling sound remains . It’s joined by pounding, dramatic drums and synths. Later, percussion is added. However, still, the piano takes centre-stage. It’s played slowly and deliberately, space being left in the arrangement. Gradually, the tempo increases, as a bass synth plays and another layer of percussion are added. So are a myriad of sci-fi sounds. Later, ghostly whispers can be heard. By then, musical genres are melting into one. Elements of ambient, avant-garde, electronica and jazz are seamlessly melting into one; and the combination of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Christoph H. Mueller is proving a potent one. They’re responsible for a captivating and cinematic track.
Swells of disparate sounds open QM. They’re joined by drums and a bass synth. As the synth beeps and squeaks, the drums tap out a code. Washes of synths accompany the crystalline piano. Then when the piano drops out, it’s replaced by neo industrial sound. When the piano returns, it’s cocooned by a variety of disparate sounds. They flit in and out of the arrangement, leaving the beeping, squeaking synth and piano to form an unlikely but successful partnership, in what’s another genre-melting track.
As the piano plays on Origami II, it adds an element of drama. It’s as if Mueller-Roedelius are setting the scene. That proves to be the case. When other instruments are added to this soundscape, the drama builds. Especially when the arrangement is panned. That when percussion and drums are added. Still, the arrangement meanders along, as washes of futuristic synths are added. By then, there’s a mesmeric, meditative quality to Origami II. It washes over you, and suddenly, the world seems a better place.
About Tape sounds like soundtrack to a 21st Century sci-fi movie. Synths add a futuristic language, while drums pound. Then the darkness descends. Partly, that’s down to the piano. It adds a darkness, as the arrangement builds. Instruments are dropped in. Thunderous drums and shrieking, chattering synths are added as the arrangement gallops along, Then a sample of Brian Eno talking About Tape is added. Filters are added the sample, as Roedelius-Mueller make Brian Eno into a possible dance-floor sensation. This track is guaranteed to fill dance-floors everywhere. It’s Mueller-Roedelius at their innovative and inventive best.
There’s an almost haunting quality as A Song Or Not (Piano Version) begins to unfolds. Sounds flit in and out. Some are subtle, others more obvious. They accompany the piano. Effects are added. So are sci-fi sounds, handclaps and percussion. Then a big, bold bass synth kicks in. Gradually, this enthralling fusion of genres unfolds. Both Mueller-Roedelius’ influences can be heard. Elements of ambient, avant-garde, electronica, jazz and world music shine through,as two generations of musicians create a quite beautiful, but thoughtful track.
Valse Mecanique cheeps, beeps and squeaks. It’s as if a code is emerging from the arrangement. Soon, synths enter. A bass synth lumbers, looming large over the arrangement. By then the piano is being played deliberately, and sci-fi sounds. This adds to the cinematic sound, that gradually is emerging. It’s as if Mueller-Roedelius have been asked to write the score for some dramatic sci-fi epic, and have passed with flying colours.
First came Origami II, then came Origami. From the distance stabs of keyboards, percussion and bass synth combine. They usher in the piano, which glides elegiacally across the arrangement. Mesmeric drums and washes of swirling synths join the percussion and sci-fi sounds. Elements of ambient, electronica and dance music are combined, as this gorgeous arrangement gradually shows its hidden secrets.
The squelchiest of bass synths is deployed on The Question. It’s a scene setter. Soon, bells ring out, and thunder sounds. A piano plays, and briefly, a storm blows. Meanwhile, Morse Code punctuates the arrangement, asking The Question. By then, the drama is building. Mueller-Roedelius drop in a spoken word sample. It too has a futuristic sound. Before long, another sample replies to the first. It’s akin to theatre from Mueller-Roedelius as they take futuristic and sometimes ethereal journey to another galaxy, where they ask The Question.
Himmel Über Lima has an understated, thoughtful quality. At the start it’s just a piano playing. However, gradually, Mueller-Roedelius begin to drop in instruments and effects. Heavenly music plays, but a bristling sound interjects. This is cue for the bass synth to enter. Soon, filters are added, and the arrangement becomes choppy and dramatic. Still, the piano persists, growing in volume and power. Eventually, it’s briefly allowed to take centre-stage. Then when other instruments are added, they compliment the arrangement. Mueller-Roedelius are in full flow but with just over a minute to go, slow things way down. Again the bristling sound interjects, as the arrangement reverberates, before heading into the ether, leaving just a a pleasant memory.
808 Fantasy closes Imagori, Mueller-Roedelius’ first collaboration. Deliberate synths are joined by a jazz-tinged piano and a rumbling bass synth. They’re united, before Hans-Joachim Roedelius’ piano escapes from the pack. Soon, it’s taking centre-stage, as drums crack and the bass synth lumbers along. All the time, Mueller-Roedelius continue to paint music with their music, which isn’t enchanting, but has a timeless quality.
That’s the case throughout Imagori, Mueller-Roedelius’ first collaboration. It features two generations of musical pioneers. Both have ploughed lone furrows, by releasing music that’s ambitious and innovative.
In the case of Hans-Joachim Roedelius, he’s been doing this since 1969. He’s been a member of several groundbreaking groups. This started with Kluster, then Cluster and Harmonia. For the last five years, Hans-Joachim Roedelius has been part of Qluster. Just like the other groups he has been part of, they continually made music that’s innovative, inventive, imaginative and inventive. That has been the case throughout Hans-Joachim Roedelius’ career. This music has influenced several generations of musicians. I’m sure that Christoph H. Mueller has been inspired and influenced by Hans-Joachim Roedelius.
Christoph has also been part of a several successful projects. His most successful project was Gotan Project. More recently, Christoph has been involved with a new project, Plaza Francia. However, his latest project is Mueller-Roedelius.
Using the latest technology, Mueller-Roedelius recorded ten tracks. These tracks became Imagori, an album of genre-melting music. Over Imagori’s ten tracks, Mueller-Roedelius combine elements of ambient, avant-garde, classical, electronica, experimental, industrial, jazz and even techno. The music is variously captivating, cinematic, dark, dreamy, dramatic, ethereal and moody. Much of the music on Imagori is like the soundtrack to a film that’s yet to be made. Some of the tracks have a futuristic sound, and wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack to a sci-fi movie. An alternative title to Imagori, could’ve been Music For Films. However, Brian Eno got their first. Imagori however, is the perfect title.
The music on Imagori conjures up images in your mind’s eye. It’s easily to visualise scenes unfolding before your eyes. Suddenly, the listener is directing their own film. All they need to supply is their imagination. They’re soon providing the film that’s yet to be made. Meanwhile, as Imagori plays, Mueller-Roedelius supply the soundtrack.
Imagori, Mueller-Roedelius’ first collaboration will be released by Grönland Records on 4th September 2015. That’s very fitting.
By then, a four day festival to to celebrate the life and music of Hans-Joachim Roedelius will be in full swing in Berlin. It’s been arranged by the HWK, and begins on the 3rd September 2015. Over four days, Hans-Joachim Roedelius will be joined by E.S.B., Peter Kruder, Caramusa, Richard Fearless, Qluster, Christoph Müller, Tempus Transit, Lloyd Cole, Christopher Chaplin, Astronauta Pinguim, Stefan Schneider and The Chor der Kulturen der Welt. It’s a truly star studded lineup, that will provide a fitting celebration of a musical legend who has released over 200 albums.
The latest is Imagori, the first collaboration between Mueller-Roedelius. Given the quality of the music on Imagori, I hope their will be a followup. That could well happen.
Hans-Joachim Roedelius’ love affair with music continues. It’s being going on for forty-six years. Still, he loves music and is currently juggling ten different projects. That’s pretty impressive, given Hans-Joachim Roedelius is now eighty-one. It’s hard to believe. He has more energy than men half his age, and is still making music that innovative, influential and inspiring. This includes Imagori, the captivating, cinematic and critically acclaimed collaboration from Mueller-Roedelius.