Michael Rother @ The Corner
So much can be said of Krautrock’s influence on modern music. Although many of the musicians affiliated with the scene don’t identify themselves as Krautrock; (a term coined by English listeners) the German experimental music scene of the '70s facilitated the growth of future electronic, ambient, post rock and noise movements. It’s stimulus on music and sound art is undeniable. Having seen Michael Rother play an amazing set with Harmonia at ATP in 2009, it was with much anticipation that I ventured to tonight’s show. New War were first on and as usual, blow the audience away. Their sound is tight – the steady, driving drumbeat a perfect backbone for the melodic pairing of bass/keyboard and Chris Pugmire’s intense vocals. The set is slower paced this evening, but nonetheless poignant. Newly released 12” single Ghostwalking amazed in a live capacity.
Baptism Of Uzi were up next, their first song was a Harmonia-esque soaring instrumental that made me wonder why I hadn't seen these guys live before. The set was a nostalgic ride through kraut, prog and psychedelia and it was done really well. The only confusing bit for me was the addition of vocals. Perhaps it’s a reference to the way in which CAN utilises sporadic vocal sections in their songs; but I sound the disco style vocal lines a bit distracting. Regardless, Baptism Of Uzi were great and I look forward to seeing them again soon.
Finally, Michael Rother took to the stage, joined by Dieter Moebius (Harmonia, Cluster) and Hans Lampe (touring drummer for Neu! on occasion). The trio's instruments had remained untouched since soundcheck, the opening bands playing on the smaller stage to the right of the venue. These meticulous precautions display just how serious these musicians are in perfecting their craft. This night's performance saw Rother and Co move through music from seminal Neu! and Harmonia outputs, however, these were not carbon copies of the old recordings. Re-imagining these songs for a new epoch, old favorites had been reworked in a fresh and innovative way. Classics such as Neu!’s Hallo Gallo and I’m Gluck continued to thrill the close-to-capacity crowd. Rother’s distinctive guitar playing ebbed and flowed from lush ambience to harder psychedlic washes, with Lampe’s insistent 4/4 ‘Motorik’ drumbeat was the perfect accompaniment. Some of the most interesting sounds of the night came from Dieter Moebius and his magic box of oscillating synths. Watussi from Harmonia’s 1974 album Music Von Harmonia was a welcome inclusion to the set, reworked in a more driving manner, showcasing Moebius’ machines. Swift proto acid sounds augmented the setlist in an adventurous way and showed just how warm analogue sounds can be. Like Harmonia’s exquisite peformance at Mount Buller, tonight left me feeling thankful I had the opportunity to listen to a piece of musical history, reworked but nonetheless affecting.
BY CASSANDRA KIELY
LOVED: Great crowd.
HATED: Sore back.
DRANK: Very little.