Mueller/Roedelius Imagori on LP
Imagori is the first collaborative recording from musical trailblazers Hans-Joachim Roedelius (of Cluster, Harmonia) and Christoph H. Müeller (Gotan Project). Electronic beats, buoyant piano melodies, percussive elements: an album with atmospheric density that is warm and harmonious throughout – although it thrives on clear contrasts.
Müeller and Roedelius are two legendary musicians who are separated by over a generation and a half. Both share a desire to discover, to break through established patterns of thinking and listening – yet they are soundsmiths with completely different natures: Roedelius, as a pioneer of experimental electronic music and a member of Cluster and Harmonia, two trend-setting band projects of the 1970s; Müeller, as a composer, producer and soundtrack artist who entered the charts in the late 1980s with the electropop group Touch el Arab and who later shifted his focus to South American roots music and played a significant role in moving the world music genre in an innovative and future-oriented direction with projects like Plaza Francia and the electronic tango of Gotan Project.
The collaboration between Roedelius and Müeller arose after they played a series of concerts together in Paris in 2012 where they mainly put on improvised performances based on Roedelius’s “paper” compositions. With Imagori, these two artists have created an album that adds a completely new chapter to their musical oeuvres. It is by no means a typical Müeller album – and neither is it quintessential Roedelius music. For Müeller, Imagori is a return to his roots as an arranger of beats and electronic music composer. With this album, Roedelius reaches a momentary pinnacle in his impressive list of late works, which have become ever more complex and exciting in recent years. After collaborations with Lloyd Cole and Stefan Schneider and concert series with Jean-Benoit Dunckel (Air) and Christopher James Chaplin, Imagori captivates us with its audacious push towards accessibility.
The album grew from short piano pieces and rhythmic experiments that originated from Roedelius’ archives. From there, the musicians worked continuously to create new compositions. They are astonishing pieces with remarkable structural form; as a work of origami, the next sound or element of each track often produces an utterly novel (sound) pattern. For example, the unique downbeat sounds of the track “Origami” are reminiscent of gems like “Atmosphere” from the album Harmonia & Eno ’76 Tracks and Traces. Like a welcome spirit, Brian Eno crops up with a spoken-word cameo on the track “About Tape.” “Himmel über Lima” draws inspiration from a ¾ Afro-Peruvian waltz rhythm, only to harmoniously work its way through a rhythmic shift that culminates in an almost classic Roedelius ambient sound.
Beat-oriented compositions meet melodic improvisations. The articulation often revels in simultaneous legato and staccato elements; Müeller’s beats create a framework with a straight-out pumping downbeat groove, while Roedelius’ piano somnambulistically moves through the tracks. The upshot is an album that comes across as self-contained and pleasantly cohesive – each and every second is enthralling!