Dieter Moebius – Kram (Klangbad)
Dieter Moebius, having been a part of Harmonia and collaborated with Brian Eno, here takes us on the kind of journey one would imagine taking with a slightly grizzled experimenter. There is gentle menace alongside the blueprints of some of his former works, but he is more than capable of creating sick unease and atmospheric sophistication that leaps into a bizarre dystopia. Not nightmarish in the traditional sense, Kram (translating as Stuff) is comfortable in its unrest, even encouraging us to conjure our own nightmares to accompany these slowly sprawling works. The pace of the record, though it is itself constantly mobile, is key to its success.
It seems a little backwards to attempt this, but the opening track from Dieter Moebius’ Kram must be viewed as a whole. The listener must perceive the piece to be one complete segment. When it starts with jarring Vangelis-derived synthesizer and aimless toying, Start is not so different to its own ending. The tonality hints at the major, but never lets it overrule the atmosphere of ponderous movement. Clanks and industry voice their opinions on the material. That there is a five minute period where rhythms are introduced and gently squeezed into being is irrelevant – it is the widescreen view that must be adhered to.
The album itself benefits from similar abstraction in consideration. Suites come to pass, taking in motorik propulsion and the occasional unfulfilled melodic potential. Treated licks of electric instruments are tantalisingly close to expanding into full-blown tunefulness, but Moebius has his sights set purely on atmospherics. At times, like on the haunted Womit, time appears to stand still. Textures refuse to progress at any pace unwanted by its creator, and Moebius expertly keeps things ticking along with just enough interest to capture the ear. Those melodic fragments swirl and want to be explored, but the nature of the compositions means that they must be sacrificed so as not to cloy the kinetics.
Though at times difficult to penetrate, quiet and reflective listening to Kram will reward massively. It’s heartening that such a sonic technician still exists, and relieving to discover that his music has not aged, but definitely progressed. Indeed, viewed as an entity as of itself, Kram will totally envelope, test and invigorate.
This is out on the splendidly-named Klangbad records on September 14th TWOTHOUSANDANDNINE. Have a lil’ ear-gack.