One of the nice things about having a record label is that once in a while you get to do something that amounts to a public service. In the case of Grönland Records, that means releasing the Complete Works of Harmonia in vinyl box set form. Harmonia was, of course, the ’70s German electronic supergroup that included members of Cluster and Neu!, and at one point, Brian Eno. Their pioneering sound prefigured everything from ambient music to synth pop and techno. As you may recall, Cluster/Harmonia core member Dieter Moebius passed away a couple of days ago. It turns out that even during his recent illness he was at work on preparing the box set.
A statement from the label says, in part, “On Monday, July 20th, we received the tragic news that Dieter Moebius had passed away. We at Grönland have had the pleasure to have worked very closely with Dieter in recent years and we will miss him dearly. We knew about his illness and despite this, he continued working closely on the box set with us. He and Grönland always wanted the box to be a statement of this incredible music and of life itself.”
Besides the two studio albums, outtakes collection, and live album that have already seen the light of day, the set will include an album of previously unreleased material, as well as a 36-page booklet, poster, download code and more. It’s due out October 21, 2015, but you can pre-order it now.
Dieter Moebius, who passed away on July 20 at the age of 71, was in on the ground floor of so many innovations it’s hard to imagine what the music world would have been like without him. Certainly, krautrock, ambient music, and electronic music in general would have sounded very different in his absence. The Switzerland-born, Germany-based pioneer first made musical history at the end of the ’60s by forming the electronic group Kluster (later changed to Cluster). With them, Moebius crafted alternately chaotic and meditative (but always cutting-edge) electronic music. Right before Brian leapt into his ambient phase, he worked with Cluster, and his own landmark ambient albums were surely influenced by Moebius and company.
The ’70s also saw Moebius working with supergroup Harmonia, alongside Eno and members of krautrock legends Neu! and Guru Guru. But Moebius was never one to get stuck in a rut — his output at the end of the ’70s and the albums he made with famed krautrock producer Conny Plank in the early ’80s were at the forefront of post-punk and synth pop. And his ’80s solo albums prefigured too many later electronic styles to count.
The tireless Moebius never stopped pushing forward, either. He continued working with Cluster all the way through the 2000s, and released his final solo album, Nidemonex, just last year.
Below you’ll find just a few highlights from the long, rich career of a man who will be greatly missed. If you haven’t already made your way into Moebius’s world, start exploring.