Hans-Joachim Roedelius

Selbstportrait, Vol. 2

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If you're familiar with the first Selbstportrait album, then you know what to expect from Vol. 2. If not, don't come to this album looking to hear anything akin to the expansive, electro, Krautrock sounds Hans-Joachim Roedelius pioneered during his Cluster days. Roedelius' solo career, which began in the late ‘70s, followed a more intimate approach, and his Selbstportrait albums are possibly the most intimate-sounding of all his releases. Selbstportrait, Vol. 2 is Roedelius' fourth album, and his second for the Sky label. Like its predecessor, it consists of miniaturist musical sketches made by Roedelius between 1973 and 1977, while spending time in Germany's Weser Uplands. The tracks were recording using the simplest available means, both in terms of instruments and recording technology. Much of the music is built around whatever tones Roedelius could pull out of his faithful Farfisa organ, with a few other axes occasionally providing contrast. The pieces mostly move in an atmospheric/ambient direction, perhaps even more so here than on the first Selbstportrait volume, but there are a couple of slight sonic detours along the way as well. For instance, the minimal but insistent approach of the organ-based "Kicherebsen" brings to mind the early organ works of Philip Glass, while "Alle Jahre Wieder," which seems to feature an electric guitar and bass at its center (or an electronic approximation thereof), almost sounds like an instrumental variant on the Young Marble Giants' brand of gentle, post-punk minimalism. Regardless, Selbstportrait, Vol. 2 is a consistently contemplative release, whose lo-fi origins only contribute to to its organic, intimate quality.

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