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Hans Joachim Roedelius and Friends

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As a co-founder and long-time member of the influential German electronic band Cluster, Hans Joachim Roedelius has been a prime instigator in the EM genre for over thirty years.

Let’s check out a pair of recent collab projects by Roedelius and his global acquaintances.

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ROEDELIUS & ALQUIMIA: Move and Resonate (CD on Prudence Music)

This CD from 2000 features 42 minutes of electronic music with lyrics.

Hans Joachim Roedelius is best known as a member of Cluster. A native of Mexico, Alquimia has released numerous recordings which blend her vocal stylings with electronic textures, generating a unique bridge between Latin American and ambient electronic music. Here, the two collaborate to produce a deep fusion of lyrics and atmospheric soundscapes.

Instrumentation ranges from keyboards and electronics to percussion and flutes, chimes, and a variety of ethnic instruments. And of course Alquimia’s delicate, resonant vocals, which are periodically augmented by some spoken passages provided by Roedelius.

Atmospheric tones are infused with rhythms and a more than harmonic presence. Percussives alternate between sedate moods and energetic tempos, often seated in an ancestral temperament that is further enhanced by Alquimia’s native flutes. The overlapping vocal threads accentuate this primitive demeanor, plunging the audience into an antediluvian era where synthesizers coexist with clay instruments.

Thrill as sampled water merges with electronic effects, becoming a single environmental sound that adds eerie undercurrents to the sonic flow.

The tuneage becomes an intellectual tool that places the listener with one ear in the past and the other ear glued to the future.

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AMERICAN STEAMBOAT: American Steamboat (CD on Space For Music )

This release from 2003 offers 68 minutes of instrumental electronic music.

American Steamboat is: Hans Joachim Roedelius with Eric Bonerz, Alec Way, David Bickley, Eric Marlyn, and Fabio Capanni. These musicians come from diverse backgrounds in five different countries (Ireland, England, Austria, Germany, and USA) in two continents.

Languid electronic textures waft through high altitudes, while earthier tones cavort in local proximity, generating congenial melodies. Softly muffled percussion mixes with cheerfully chugging keyboards and atmospheric synthesizers, resulting in soothing harmonies that sedate and focus the inner psyche. Friendly guitars add a mild pep to some of the tunes, evoking a homespun air that fits nicely with the rest of the electronic palette.

Overall, this music is calm and unobtrusive, functioning perfectly as a soundtrack for going about one’s daily routine. The melodies are purposeful, but hardly overt or overly lively. Pensive passages exist, but even they are crafted to elicit a comfortable smile. The instruments are busy, but their unified product drifts like a peaceful fog, easily merging with the moment at hand.

A strong unification of diverse electronic styles can be found in this music, as European temperaments mix with American styles, resulting in a tastefully well-rounded listening experience.

This music possesses a subtle energy that seeps unnoticed into the audience, invigorating muscles without busy movement. While higher mental functions are mesmerized by the ethereal melodies, the entire body is drenched by this hidden influence, leaving all aspects refreshed.

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