Michael Rother

Radio: Musick von Michael Rother - Singles, 1977-1993

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This is the Michael Rother album to end all Michael Rother albums in a sense. For the first time since beginning his solo recording career in the mid-'70s, Rother has issued a collection of singles, unreleased album tracks, B-sides, and remixes. There are 21 tracks in all. And unlike other compilations, Rother -- in his usual elegant sense of presentation -- structures this compilation not chronologically, but sonically. Tracks careen across the timescape from 1977-1993, where "Palmero Tango" is juxtaposed against a 1993 remix of "Tierenschärfe," followed by a few tracks from the late '70s and then the title track from Flammende Herzen. Back and forth it goes, with remixes, album tracks, and singles all being woven together in a gorgeous, purposeful soundscape that illustrates all of Rother's best qualities: control, dynamic, melodic frameworks, percussive tension, transcendent emotion, meditative equipoise, and a keen sense of how to induce an esthetic trance. His sheer musicality is astonishing in that he uses a purposeful minimal palette for each album and then turns it inside out and back on itself to wring from it every ounce of emotion, texture, and beauty. Given the simple fact that there are so many examples -- all of them stitched together to form, in essence, another original Rother album -- we can only be grateful. Take a listen to how "Katzenmusick No. 4 and No.5" join together with the title track from Sterntaler preceding them and "Silberstreif" that proceeds from them and you'll get an idea that everything in Rother's sonic universe has a place and a purpose. This is a best-of that is unconventional, but certainly representative of an artist who is not content merely to compile his work, but showcases it anew in hopes of attaining something further.