Below the words: an absolutely wonderful record. Something that epitomises the loving grip certain strands of music hold over us. Weight, texture, touch… and yes, I am a little embarrassed to admit that for me, this is only a recent encounter… my only excuse being the decade or two spent drunk in ditches.
For I’ve been dipping in to quite a chunk of old, relatively obscure German stuff of late. You don’t require a dullard music blog to exalt the virtues of Kraftwerk records for you. And on a similar track, Can, Faust and Neu! – the triumvirate of Krautrock overlordship – these stereo visitation rights have also been frequent over the years (particularly Can, whose fuck-infused space rock delivers a whole sheaf of emotions, up to and including a delightful undertone of panic).
But as with many things in life, a wee bit of digging about is the precursor to treasure. Harmonia were a side project featuring Neu! guitarist Michael Rother. Later, Brian Eno became a collaborator, but before all that came Musik von Harmonia, their 1974, début album. It’s one of those records that assaults the listener with waves of intelligent and generous sentiment; you can hear so many indicators of future delights. Spiritualized, obviously, but also Stereolab, Julian Cope, To Rococo Rot. It’s an album loaded with tracks you can’t listen to without suffering the urge to dance – there’s a restrained tribalism behind percussion and bass track, guitar licks that interweave and entice, and the overriding effect is one of natural flight. Seriously, listen to the below, then tell me that you didn’t jiggle just a little.
From time to time this blog will order you to head directly to your local vinyl emporium with filthy lucre and a shopping list in your paws. This is one of those occasions.
Forthcoming attractions. As you read this I’ll be hiding out in some grainy East Berlin batcave, dragging about turntable, amp, speakers, and cursing the fact that portable music devices are yet to be invented. No room in the equipment crates for the laptop, alas; so expect a temporary slowdown in Lazer Guided Melody activity. Tomorrow I’ll whack up the next Fucked Up Festive Fifty entry that I’ve got sitting in the draft folder – after which I’ll pop up again next weekend or thereabouts, armed with the winning entries of the record store competition (so you can still enter if you fancy – click here) and a 4,000 word creed on why I hope to join The Pussycat Dolls when I grow up. And grow tits.
Harmonia / Dino