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Roedelius & Schneider – Tiden

Bureau B

Roedelius & Schneider - TidenRemember that brief, optimistic period in the late ’90s when it seemed that every style of music could be bettered by adding electronics? Like William Orbit‘s Pieces In A Modern Style or Tortoise‘s dub-infused exotica, we were hell bent on improving the past and stitching it to the present. That mission has been re-instated on Tiden, the second collaboration from legendary future classicist Hans-Joachim Roedelius, best known for his work in the ’70s with Harmonia and Cluster, and Stefan Schneider, of To Rococo Rot, Kreidler, and Mapstation.

Roedelius and Schneider have claimed mutual admiration for two giants of ambient music, (if such a term can be used for such slight, subtle musicians): Erik Satie and Brian Eno. Tiden does function well as furniture music, or an endless Buddha Box loop to accompany yr day. It would be more accurate to say inspired by, as the pair have updated the ambient fakebook with flourishes of dub techno and all the best of what modern Minimalism has to offer – Philip Glass‘ circular piano motifs, stacked, stretched and looped; like smoking hookah in La Monte Young‘s Theater Of Eternal Music. The press release also mentions Franz Schubert, and Tiden is in the spirit and tradition of German romantic, expressionist decadence. This is like watching Handel‘s Fireworks, reflecting in the dark surface of the Rhine, as you speed by on Kraftwerk‘s autobahn.

Roedelius and Schneider are assimilating the best of what 100 years of atmospheric avantgarde music has to offer, and offering 13 tracks of sublime melodies and loping trance rhythms, richly-produced for a rich warm Technicolor listening experience. It is the perfect compliment for watching wind blow through crimson leaves, as the seasons change. Throughout Tiden there is a sensation of time travel, of warping through decades – light ’70s chamber classical gives way to late ’90s arthouse electronica. The pair seem to thoroughly understand the medium they work in; it does not have the feeling of a cheesy techno remix of a classical theme, as is often the case when the classic and the modern come together. On top of this, both Roedelius and Schneider have been active on the music scene for decades in numerous bands, and musicians with this level of experience frequently have the best production and gear. Most of the material you hear on Tiden has been glowingly reproduced from vintage ’70s electric pianos and a full-on, no-joke Baby Grand. The rich acoustic harmonics are accentuated with subtle electronic flourishes. bouncing machine drum rhythms and arcing electricity. It is a relief, after hearing so many shoddy, home-made electronic overtures, rudely ripped from Ableton Live.

Tiden has a tradition and a trajectory, but it seems self-contained also. The musicians decide, each and every moment, what is called for, in service of the music, paying no attention to genre or trend. This is pure creativity, pure expression with no limitations. At times, it sounds like Eno’s ’70s ambient works (on “Indie Woogle” you can hear, almost verbatim, strains of Music For Airports), and it frequently brings to mind the instrumental passages of Bowie‘s Berlin records. Piano fanatics and ambient heads alike will find something to swoon over here: it also brings to mind atmospheric modern chamber classics like Gonzales‘ Solo Piano works, Keith Jarrett‘s Köln Concert, and the new wave classicism of Nils Frahm. It is active, it is pensive; it works equally well for sitting and dreaming and running around, getting things done. Music for walking, music for kissing; I can imagine this in a million kitchens, the world over. It deserves to be, as this is world class music.

Here’s to the next renaissance of Classical and electronic music!

-J Simpson-

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