Deluxe - 1975

The product of a veritable Krautrock supergroup comprising members of Neu! and Cluster, Harmonia's Deluxe was an LP that all but redefined a genre. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. The band's debut Music Von Harmonia was a triumph, if not necessarily a landmark. Ever present were the hypnotic overlapping grooves that had become commonplace within Cluster, while the whole set was moored in Michael Rother's subtly psychedelic flourishes of guitar and keys that float atop Neu!'s motoric pulse. But rather than illustrate the contributions of its members and the specific talents that each brought to the proceedings, Music Von Harmonia was a concentrated group effort. An exercise in the awesome power of subtlety. What makes Deluxe such a tremendous LP is not in the way that they followed this fomula, but in how they managed to amplify it. Understated, yet epic, Deluxe is simultaneously one of Krautrock's most grandiose statements and its most restrained. While the most immediate difference from its predecessor is its more prominent use of vocals, the greasy synths and soaring lines of guitar (often processed to sound like a synths themselves) elevate every track into a majestic statement - never as clean as Kraftwerk, not nearly as funky as Can, but dripping with an inexplicable level of human emotion and utter happiness that neither band could touch. A monumental achievement and a truly joyful listen.


Flux said...

Heh, was just about to post this on mine. Good work, great album.

Anonymous said...

I was unfamiliar with this one. Thanks for the introduction--it's a real mellow treat!

JBL said...

This one is interesting--sort of an electronic/Krautrock supergroup. Much more so than other supergroups, this one really sounds like each individual is contrbuting exactly their own talents & aesthetic sensibilities. I don't mean it as a slight to say that this really sounds like exactly the sum of its parts--in that Teutonic way, it is a highly efficient, highly beautiful LP.

By the by, did you ever hear the Harmonia 76 album that added Eno as a ringer? Much closer in tone to a Cluster LP.

JBL said...

Here's the afforementioned Harmonia 76 LP, "Tracks & Traces".Eno's presence is what separates it from Harmonia sans 76, though though his contributions here are to my ears, fairly minimal.

For whatever reason, its release was delayed for 20 years, and though not a revelation or a lost masterpiece, it's worth listening to if you like other work by its participants.

Anyway, I'd be curious to hear what fans of the Harmonia album think of this one.


Luke said...

I was unfamiliar with Harmonia until I was introduced to an artist named Baltic Fleet. His album was really good and some of his strong musical influences were Harmonia and NEU! I then got into Krautrock. If your a fan of either of those artists or that genre of music, check out Baltic Fleet, hes rather good. www.myspace.com/balticfleet