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MUSIK VON

Harmonia

Progressive Electronic


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Harmonia Musik Von album cover
4.00 | 57 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Watussi (5:55)
2. Sehr Kosmisch (10:50)
3. Sonnenschein (3:50)
4. Dino (3:30)
5. Ohrwurm (5:05)
6. Ahoi! (5:00)
7. Veterano (3:55)
8. Hausmusik (4:30)

Total Time: 42:05

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Roedelius / organ, piano, guitar, electronic percussion
- Dieter Moebius / synthesizer, guitar, electronic percussion
- Michael Rother / guitar, piano, organ, electronic percussion

Releases information

Originally released in 1974 on Brain / Metronome
Re-releases:
CD 06024 981298-3 Brain / Motor Music / Universal Music

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HARMONIA Musik Von ratings distribution


4.00
(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
30%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
33%
Good, but non-essential (32%)
32%
Collectors/fans only (4%)
4%
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)
2%

HARMONIA Musik Von reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Cluster tended to produce their best work when collaborating with other musicians, as their brilliant work with Brian Eno proves. This 1974 work with Michael Rother of Neu! is another example of musicians bringing out the best in each other - Rother brings a sense of structure to Clusters sometimes aimless soundscapes, while Cluster add a warmth of feeling that is sometimes absent from Rother's work (for example side 1 of Neu! 75). There's also a slightly ramshackle feel to the whole affair - the rhythm is supplied by drum machines that probably weren't state of the art even in 1974, and the whole thing was recorded in a home made studio in an old farmhouse on partly home made equipment, so despite the exclusively electronic instrumentation there's an almost bucolic feel to much of the album.

About half of the album displays an obvious Neu! influence in the form of rhythmic, repetitive pieces with Rother's guitar upfront, whilst the remainder is the more atmospheric proto ambient style of music which was Cluster's trademark. This is neatly illustrated by the first two tracks - Watussi is built around a loping rhythm track with Rother's guitar and Cluster's synths chasing each other around and across the relentless pulse of the drum machine. Serr Kosmich, on the other hand, is barely audible at times - a slow beat underpins some extremely low key electornis, with occasional brief clusters of notes surfacing for a few moments. At times it's barely audible, almost as though the backing track was based on the breath and heartbeat of one of the members. This pattern continus through the remaining shorter pieces on the album. Although some form of beat is present on all tracks, the relentless motorik of Klaus Dinger is notably absent, and for the most part the rhythms are more relaxed than on Neu's albums. It's also odd that the final track is called Hausmusik - perhaps Harmonia were about 15 years ahead of their time.

Musik Von Harmonia may sound slightly dated today, but the ideas behind it and the sense of adventure that permeated the sessions are as fresh as ever. There was more to 70s German music than Can, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk, and this album is a good place to start exploring.

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Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

Behind this tackiest (and goofiest) detergent gatefold artwork sits one of Germany electro-pop avant- garde's most endearing albums, even if it didn't make its way in the sales dept. Originally a side-project to further on Cluster's musical explorations, Harmonia integrated Michael Rother (of Neu!'s fame) and made this album, one that will redirect the main project to change the course of its adventures, creating the Kraftwerk-like Zuckerzeit the very next year. The inside gatefold shows the trio in their rehearsal room and one can easily understand how such music evolved from this trio let loose with tape machines around them.

Musically, the album is a bit like if you've thrown some of the Harmonia detergent and it acted as javel would hit the speakers of your stereo, cleansing it from all previous musical conception, but leaving intact the speaker cones and the coils. Half the tracks sound a bit Neu! than the fore-coming Zuckerzeit, but it's also much closer to Zuckerzeit than their previous album Cluster 1 or II. An odd thing is the closing track, the 5-minutes Hausmusik, which predates by almost two decades the famous house music movement.

Certainly Harmonia's most interesting album, it might just be their most groundbreaking as well, as this will lead the Cluster trio into Kraftwerk-type of music with the fore-coming Zuckerzeit album. As close to essential as you can get, especially for electronic music historians, every kid into techno should also its birth.

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Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Consisting of two parts CLUSTER(Hans-Joachim Rodelius and Dieter Moebius)and one part NEU!(Michael Rother), HARMONIA emerged during 1973 with one of the genre's most colourful and recognisable sleeves. And never has an album cover been so different from the music it represents yet somehow been so justifiable.

MUSIK VON HARMONIA sports a brash, bold, comic-book art drawing of a simple bottle of detergent with the bands name encased in a spiky yellow explosion of a speech bubble. The bubble is featured on the electric blue-coloured detergent bottle's lower half with the names of the musicians sit ting above the band motif in smaller, sparser letters whilst behind the central image strange, ornate flames flicker and loom in the darkness.

Is it a joke? An acerbic attack on the erosive cultural capabilities of bland pop? Or is it a serious statement regarding the disposable nature of modern music? Or maybe a mix of all the above? Whatever the meaning, the crisp, hypnotic electronic rhythms are immediate. The juxtaposition of a mundane household item and the strange, beautiful, emotive cosmic sounds of this three-piece is both jarring and yet utterly correct. The brave, bright colouring signals that, yes, this is a simple bottle of detergent, but inside there is something unexpected, something much complex and fascinating. The reference point is obviously Warhol in his more jocular, mainstream-courting moments, framing the mixture of the mundane with the extraordinary and the bizarre. The music itself is classic Krautrock. Electro-grooves, motorik drumming, tribal beats, fizzing keyboards, primitive technology and psychedelic sonic textures all rolled up into a blissful spaced-out mixture of instrumental avant-garde ambience.

From the fragile synth-backed groove of WATUSSI to the guitar-flecked, sun-dappled meditations of DINO, MUSIK VON HARMONIA ebbs and flows naturally and effortlessly, eschewing accepted musical structures for experimental new excursions into lengthy, ad- libbed electronic jams. Darker pieces, such as the ominous OHRWURM, maybe delve too deep into the distorted sound-of-electrics experiments once produced by innovative genre- mates CLUSTER ditching melodies in favour of a discordant brew of mysteriously archaic neo-futuristic soundscapes. But the overall feel of the album is both mellow and upbeat, with layers of keyboards and guitars adding a warm glow to proceedings. Unfortunately, despite the ornate beauty of their work, Harmonia's career was a sadly truncated one, with just three studio albums and one live effort making up their entire back catalogue. MUSIK VON HARMONIA is the pick of the bunch, its influences instantly identifiable in a whole host of latter-day pop, dance and rock records. DELUXE, although similar in style, is a less whimsical offering which drenches everything in a thick, glutinous array of dreamy synthesizers that dispenses with the bands darker, more experimental tendencies, thus rendering it in a more simplistic and less challenging light.

LIVE 1974, however, is a wonderful account of the bands live setup as well as a rare example of genuinely well-recorded live electronic Krautrock. It is here that the band stretch and meld many of the pieces featured on MUSIK VON HARMONIA and DELUXE into long, winding experimental epics that bathe the listener in a golden glow of strange, sensual electronic sounds. It is also here that we find Harmonia performing in prime condition, twisting original ideas into wonderful sonic textures and platforms; expressing new ideas without fearing the consequences, bringing forth exceptional music of the like that has rarely been attempted and conjuring up beautiful organic sounds from strange, electronic devices?Harmonia's career was brief, but, as time is beginning to tell, it was also singularly brilliant. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2009

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Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Musik Von Harmonia consists of the members of Cluster joining Neu!'s Michael Rother to explore a fusion of their musical approaches. The result is an album which displays both the driving, proto-punk tendencies of Neu! and Cluster's always exceptional production values and synth mastery. To be honest, the two musical approaches never quite meet in the middle - tracks tend to be either Neu!-ish guitar-led punk-ish affairs or Cluster-type ambient works, though to be fair it's hard to see how the two approaches could be completely reconciled. But if you like both Neu! and Cluster, then it's worth tracking down Harmonia just to get more of the same - especially on the Neu! side of things, since they released precious little material over their career. That said, it is worth noting that "more of the same" means just that - Harmonia don't really expand the boundaries of Krautrock in the same way that their constituent members did in their main groups.

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Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Harmonia's first albums sounds exactly like a collaboration effort from Cluster and Neu! without all of the boring repetitiveness that suffocates some of Neu!'s discography.

Musik Von basically sounds like Cluster, but a lot warmer and eclectic with a stronger element of poppy Kraftwerkian melody (somewhat comparable to Zuckerzeit). The krautrock-inspired strong motorik beat expected from Neu! (experts at this method) propels a good amount of these tracks.

With the longest track, "Sehr Kosmisch", being just over 10 minutes and along with "Ohrwurn" being the most experimental and drone-oriented on the album, Musik Von is very manageable for listeners looking for something retro and reasonably accessible and melodic in regard to krautrock-inspired electronic music.

The range of tempi on this album are surprisingly refreshing, ranging from rather fast and powerful to slow and sentimental, though always employing the typical '70s German electronic groove.

A lot of this album sounds a lot like the underrated Kraftwerk and Kraftwerk 2 albums but injected with a considerable amount of emotion while still remaining mostly robotic and cold. I think fans of Cluster and early Kraftwerk will find much to enjoy about Musik Von, but for those looking for something even more obviously rooted in krautrock then Harmonia's follow-up album may be more appropriate.

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Review by admireArt
COLLABORATOR PSIKE Team
5 stars I'm not going to bore you with the musicians whereabouts, why they played together ?, or if they sound like their respective origins, to be honest, I care for the musical results, the rest is for historians. If not for the date of issue, to keep track, of who came first with what. So, taking that into account, this, 1974, HARMONIA album, has become with time, more like a perfect and accurate forecast, of how progressive-electronic, did develop, to what it is today, WOW! How they were able to ellaborate, play, imagine or at least intuit these languages?,. is by far, what makes this project a 5- PA stars (for me), super Progressive-.Electronic project. Add to that, the perfect distribution of the songs, their timing and the variety of electronic ideas and tendencies they cover (from experimental, to ambient, to pulses to drum-boxes, to electric guitar/synth compositions, all merged together into one, UNPRETENTIOUS, 42 minute-album, and into single, 3 to 10 minutes, songs. When others, at the time, were caught in exploring only, specific parts of the whole picture, Harmonia was having fun, using the most relevant and unexplored elements and putting them all together, as a result of this "brainsorm", no impossition is felt when listened, a lot of surprises are encountered, and the perfect identity of each song is never lost in the bundle. And to close things down, even though, it offers some "serious" song-writing, it never loses its humour or unpretentiosness. Very "Krautrock" in that aspect. So. *****5 PA stars, just for having such a long, long term vision and for being able to conjure and record it, for us P.E. audiophiles!

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Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I'm still trying to understand why this debut from HARMONIA is rated way higher than their followup "Deluxe" on this site. I prefer the second one where they brought in a real drummer and especially since it was Manni from GURU GURU. On RYM the first two albums are rated almost equally with the "Deluxe" slightly higher. Anyway we get Rother from NEU! joining forces with Roedelius and Moebius from CLUSTER with great results. I'm not a fan of the album cover but it's the music that matters right? Also I really appreciate the pictures in the liner notes of the band and their studio, priceless stuff.

I want to read some of the liner notes to you which were written by a friend of the band Asmus Tietchens who also has been making electronic music since 1965. He says, "It equalled a sensation when music journals announced in 1973 that Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Michael Rother were planning to work together. Under the name CLUSTER, Moebius and Roedelius had already occupied an indispensable place in the electronic music scene from 1969 on. Rother was known as one of the 1971 founding fathers as well as flamboyant member of the band NEU! Yet the prospect of the three of them joining forces seemed all too delicate to be true. By then, the CLUSTER album "Zuckerzeit" had not been released, and thus prospective listeners had to wonder about what Roedelius and Moebius were actually coming to produce when indulging in rhythmic experiments. The fact that they were going for rhythmic music was clear as day, Michael Rother's name itself representing a guarantee for that. His compositions as well as his unmistakable way of playing the guitar and the keyboards could in fact be considered as crucial for the success of the project NEU! People could not wait to listen to HARMONIA, as the three of them called themselves. It was as early as 1973 that HARMONIA started playing gigs before finally releasing their first album with the plain title "Musik Von Harmonia"(Music By Harmonia)".

He goes on to say "Musik Von Harmonia is a beautiful and elegant, a minimalist and lively album that is almost completely played "by hand", apart from the fact that they used an automatic drum machine. Just like CLUSTER and NEU!, they made do without hybrid sequencers or gigantic synthesizers, but rather focussed on reacting in a sensitive way to each other as well as on creating what seemed like extremely odd sounds and noises". Also "Musik Von Harmonia is experimental pop music in the very literal sense of the words. When regarding the harmonious and rhythmic structures and pieces(pop) and the exquisite sounds and noises as well as their arrangements(experimental), there can be not a single doubt about that".

"Watussi" greets us with that familiar beat and those high pitched sounds HARMONIA would be known for. Other sounds join in on this motorik track. "Sehr Kosmisch" is my favourite. It's fairly dark with these heart beat-like beats along with pulses and waves. Piano and high pitched sounds before 4 1/2 minutes as the mood changes somewhat. A distant sounding rhythm will build until it dominates. It will end though before 7 minutes as it turns spacey with sparse piano. A beat around 9 1/2 minutes pulses as the piano stops and spacey sounds continue. "Sonnenschein" has a driving beat with all sorts of sounds helping out. Catchy stuff, I like it! It stops abruptly. "Dino" is another uptempo motorik sounding track and I like the guitar too.

"Ohrwurm" has these mechanical-like sounds that move around starngley as other sounds hover and pulse. This is somewhat eerie and dark. "Ahoi!" is pastoral with picked guitar and other sounds helping out. At 3 1/2 minutes a different soundscape comes in and replaces the first one fairly quickly. "Veterano" is an uptempo track with a driving rhythm once again. Piano and beats lead the way as the guitar plays over top. "Hausmusik" has piano and percussion standing out to start but a minute in a different sound arrives and it eventually over-takes the previous soundscape. It's rhythmic but spacey then the piano returns as that rhythmic soundscape fades away. There's a melancholic vibe to this track.

A great start for these guys and the magic will continue on their second release "Deluxe".

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Latest members reviews

4 stars I had my eureka moment with it on headphones in the dark and marvelled at the depth of sounds and at how sci-fi it came across. Compared to a lot of soundscapes from this last decade Musik von Harmonia sounds organic and fresh, yet oozes futurism. Here a track-by-track: Watussi - 6 An i ... (read more)

Report this review (#156735) | Posted by dholl | Wednesday, December 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can't add that much to Chris's fine review, but this is one of my favorite electronic/rock albums of the '70s and I highly recommend it to anyone who makes post-rock too as it predates that scene by about 20 years. When you play this in a club the air hums with electricity, which is why it's be ... (read more)

Report this review (#114508) | Posted by mixmastermorris | Thursday, March 08, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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