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Harmonia & Eno '76

Tracks and Traces LP

Magical moments cannot be fabricated at the push of a button, they simply come to be. In the late summer of 1976 such a moment of revelation befell the musicians of Harmonia as if by chance. The band had made two albums up to then, Musik von Harmonia (1974), and Deluxe (1975). Both works are now considered classics of krautrock and electronic music; nonetheless, afterwards the creative core went its separate ways. All three musicians were tireless and set to work on solo projects. Michael Rother would later release Flammende Herzen, Hans- Joachim Roedelius Durch die Wüste and Dieter Moebius Lilienthal. But then Brian Eno waltzed onto the scene. He had long been aware of Harmonia, and had even spontaneously joined in on a session with the band at a concert in the Fabrik in Hamburg in 1974. The musicians were not shy about expressing their interest in further collaboration and exchanged numbers. Two years later Eno called the members of Harmonia and asked, "Is now a good time?" The answer, "Well, not exactly – we kind of broke up – but sure, as good a time as any."
 
Out of the blue in 1997 Harmonia released the album Tracks and Traces, which included clips from the legendary 1976 recording sessions. Roedelius probed the material in his possession and had it remixed using an elaborate technical process. "I did nothing more than technically remaster the original material (one of the three four-track tapes that we had recorded) with Austrian sound engineers and enhance it so it would be digestible for other listeners besides ourselves," recalls Roedelius. Rother explains more precisely, "Due to discord within the band, Achim put the music together on his own. The new tracks recorded in 1997 are therefore an expression of his personality in their atmospheric emphasis. Möbi and I weren't happy that Achim went it alone, but we had to admit that he had done a hell of a job. All the same, we came to a consensus on the title and the artwork, so Möbi and I were in a sense involved (laughing). But you really can't say a bad word about the music, it's wonderful." One can do nothing but agree with that assessment. In "Vamos Compañeros" a brazen groove hisses to the fore in the form of a looped steam engine sound. The idyllic detour provided in "By the Riverside" abruptly gives way to an abstract experimental phase with a gloomy undertone. A cautionary finger is raised admonishing, "Don't get lost on Lüneburg Heath." After a "Weird Dream" the mood again brightens and the listener is treated to warmer, pop-like harmonies and the slide guitar familiar from Eno's later works, although, in this case, it is Rother playing it.
item # 33733
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