Hans-Joachim Roedelius

Wasser im Wind

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The tenth solo album from Roedelius and the last recorded for the Sky label prior to his move to Venture and a more explicitly serene approach, Wasser im Wind is in many ways both a summary of his work, both on his own and with Cluster, over the previous years and an intentionally prickly conclusion to that initial phase. Retaining the murky, far from pristine feeling of such releases as the Selbstportrait albums, Roedelius presents a variety of elements in generally similar contexts, propulsive, often pounding beats and looped melodies contrasted with a wide range of instrumentation song for song. Moaning, wordless vocals in one piece come up against spindly, spiraling, and open-ended guitar parts on another, while his future focus performing on piano becomes clearer given some of the work here. The slightly skronky sax courtesy of guest performer Czjzek, one of his three appearances, on "Am Stadtrand" plays out over muffled, rumbling pulses and sketchy-sounding drone melodies. In turn, a song like the title track, for all its space rock whoosh and truly cryptic atmospherics, also points more clearly toward the next phase of Roedelius' work in parts, if only because Czjzek's sax parts, while not yacht rock by any stretch of the imagination, have a calm, almost inviting edge to them as well. But in contrast, the album's longest piece, "Heilsamer Brunnen," while perhaps the calmest overall, draws from earlier explorations in contemplation to create something of a last gasp of a sound in an early '80s context that was starting to focus elsewhere outside of the realms of incipient new age and deep underground recording efforts until a new generation took it to heart.

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