Hans-Joachim Roedelius, “Selbstportrait”

June 24, 2011
By Jordan Anderson

This is the first of two volumes of Selbstportrait, originally released in 1979 by Hans-Joachim Roedelius, cofounder of the legendary German group Cluster, as well as West Berlin music venue the Zodiak Free Arts Lab.  (I recently reviewed the second volume for Foxy Digitalis.)  Selbstportrait is marked by a sense of gentleness, being composed of mainly repetitive electronic piano and organ compositions that circle around one another in dense patterns.

I also find this volume to be the more melancholy and interesting of the two in the “Selbstportrait” series: here analogue synthesizers are characterized by their warmth and beauty, and are accompanied with a manner of emotional tension that moves the music forward and makes the album’s harmonies and melodies compelling and very listenable.  In this way Roedelius created a remarkably interesting album in its mix of “sweetness and light,” to borrow a phrase from Swift, and a very pleasant way to spend time becoming absorbed in music.

Bureau B


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