BB 209CD BB 209CD

Dieter Moebius -- half of the legendary duo Cluster and the godfather of electronic krautrock -- passed away in the summer of 2015. In 2016, Bureau B begins rereleasing his final four solo albums, starting with his 1999 album Blotch. Moebius's most famous collaboration is, of course, the "long-term project" Cluster with Hans-Joachim Roedelius, which existed from 1969 until 2010 (with some lengthy breaks). The duo existed in changing formations involving such legendary colleagues as Conny Plank, Michael Rother, and Brian Eno. Yet solo albums remained an exception. In 1983 Moebius released his first, titled Tonspuren (BB 040CD), which was followed a full 16 years later by his second solo album, Blotch. Typical for an oeuvre characterized by understatement, Moebius named his album after a mere dab of paint. Nevertheless, this record marks a turning point in his work. From this album onward, up until his death in the summer of 2015, he focused increasingly on his solo work, enabling audiences to examine his music separately and microscopically. Blotch is far removed from the ease that defines Tonspuren. Its tracks feel like loop-based sketches, which stoically delve into experimental sonic atmospheres -- seasoned with snippets of speech -- that hypnotize the listener with the smallest of variations and embellishments. The surprising 11-minute track "Kohlzug" sticks out, with a no wave saxophone that suggests a decelerated version of Ted Milton's jazz-punk. Sonically, Blotch is clearly a product of its time; Moebius used an E-mu Orbit 9090 sound module and the then-current Korg Prophecy solo synth. This pioneering digital synthesizer was among the first to provide various algorithms and modes of synthesis to mimic the sounds of analog synthesizers in detail. Moebius recorded his tracks with a Yamaha eight-track recorder. The mastering was completed by the renowned American composer and ambient veteran Tim Story at his studio in Ohio. Story, who also produced Cluster's final album, Qua, in 2009, himself contributed some atmospheric highlights using a prepared piano, a heavily processed steel guitar, and a piano miniature on closer "Balistory." Blotch is a turning point in the work of Dieter Moebius, and his late solo work holds some very exciting releases in store. While its predecessor, Tonspuren, was marked by an erratic lightness and an exhilarating sweetness in the elektrokraut style of NEU! and Harmonia, Blotch marks a late revival of the somewhat more oblique and experimental early work of Cluster.