Remembering Dieter Moebius of Cluster

By on July 20, 2015

We’ve learned today here at Night Flight HQ that German composer and musician Dieter Moebius died this morning, age 71.

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Left to right: Brian Eno, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius

His Harmonia bandmate Michael Rother confirmed on Facebook: “Very sad news today for all friends of Dieter Moebius and his unique music. Our friend, neighbor and collaborator passed away this morning, July 20th, 2015. He will be missed dearly by all of us. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Irene.”

The Facebook account for Cluster, Moebius’ long-running collaboration with Hans-Joachim Roedelius, also confirmed the keyboardist’s passing. No other details were shared.

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Cluster: Hans-Joachim Roedelius (left) and Dieter Moebius (right)

Dieter Moebius — born on January 16, 1944, in St. Gallen, Switzerland — was one of the most important protagonists of avant-garde electronic music in Germany. He was founder member of Kluster/Cluster (with Conrad Schnitzer and Hans-Joachim Roedelius) and Harmonia (with Michael Rother and Hans-Joachim Roedelius) and worked together with several other important artists, including Brian Eno, Conny Plank, Mayo Thompson, Hellmut Hattler, Asmus Tietchens, Gerd Beerbohm, Karl Renziehausen, Mani Neumeier, Arno Steffen, Jürgen Engler, Jean Hervé Peron, Zappi Diermaier, and Chris Karrer.

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Moebius was probably best known, however, as one half of Cluster and one third of Harmonia. He was a central figure in the astonishingly fertile creative explosion in 1970s West Germany, and his work with Brian Eno in the late 1970s, helped to create sounds that would go on to influence Eno’s excursions into ambient music.

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After the Heat was a 1978 album by Brian Eno and Cluster, and it’s a particular favorite of ours. It was the second collaboration by the trio, the first being 1977’s Cluster & Eno, both created in collaboration with influential Krautrock producer, Conny Plank.

Here’s a few of our favorites by Eno & Cluster — first, here’s “Tzima N’arki,” which featured Eno’s vocals from his Before And After Science LP track “Kings Lead Hat” played backwards (“If God had listened to my story, none of this ever would have happened / If God had listened to my story, none of this would ever have occurred”).

This one is called “The Belldog”:

The pair also partnered with Neu!’s Rother for their prog-rock side project Harmonia, which released three albums, including 1974’s Musik Von Harmonia and 1975’s Deluxe.

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Conny Plank and Dieter Moebius

Here’s a short film by Jiri Trnka called “A Drop Too Much” featuring music by Moebius and Plank:

Moebius remained prolific as a solo artist once he and Roedelius went their separate ways. In 2012 he recorded an album with Asmus Tietchens. His most recent album, Nidemonex, was released only last year. R.I.P.

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Harmonia: Michael Rother, Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius

About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.