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HARMONIA

Progressive Electronic • Germany


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Harmonia biography
Before to start a fruitful career in solo, Michael Rother integrated Cluster's side project called Harmonia. Initially formed by Hans Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius, the band had the intention to go further in ambient music approach. Rejecting a great part of the experimental side of Cluster's music (I & II), they recorded "Musik von" in 1974. Michael Rother who produced the same year Cluster's zukerzeit, collaborated in Harmonia for guitars, ambient synth parts. With rather discreet appearances of the band on stage, the promotion of "Musik von" failed to attract the attention of the public. Musically the compositions stay obscure, consisting of complex, "avant-garde" pieces made for electronic gadgets, organs, including drum machines, repetitive pulses. The atmosphere is "abstract", sometimes "cosmic" but still melodic. In 1975, the trio recorded its seminal "Deluxe" with the participation of Mani Neumeier (Guru Guru) on drums. The album was produced by Michael Rother himself. With new, various compositional ideas, inventive synthesized sounds and Rother's guitar signature, this album is more relaxed, light than the previous one. Historically it remains a pre-ambient electronic standard. Brian ENO who is fascinated by the music of Harmonia joined the musicians on stage during a concert at the Fabrik Club in Hamburg.

He finally collaborated with the band in 1976 for their last album "Harmonia 76- Tracks & traces". The music is clearly into ambient, "aquatic", dreamy atmospheres with floating synth effects, repetitive guitar lines. ENO wrote the lyrics and provided some synth parts. After Harmonia's dissolution, Brian Eno will work with Roedelius & Moebius for several personal albums ("Cluster & Eno", 1977/ "Before and After Science", 1977 / "After the Heat", 1979).

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DeluxeDeluxe
Import
Imports 2004
Audio CD$19.97
$5.43 (used)
Deluxe (180 Gram Vinyl + CD)Deluxe (180 Gram Vinyl + CD)
Lilith 2013
Vinyl$22.11
Live 1974Live 1974
Groenland Records 2012
Audio CD$11.95
$9.91 (used)
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HARMONIA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

HARMONIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.01 | 52 ratings
Musik Von
1974
3.16 | 29 ratings
Deluxe
1975
3.14 | 16 ratings
Tracks & Traces / Harmonia 76
1976

HARMONIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 12 ratings
Harmonia Live 1974
2007

HARMONIA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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HARMONIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Deluxe by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.16 | 29 ratings

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Deluxe
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by Fido73

5 stars How can an album like Harmonia Deluxe, which I consider one of the ultimate Krautrock album, be classified in Progressive Electronic, is beyond me !?! For me, there is 2 type of Krautrock, one organic, like Can, Popol Vuh & Amon Düül and the other, electronic like Clauster, Neu! & this band, Harmonia.

Harmonia is a collaboration between 3 of Krautrock most important creator, Moebius(Clauster), Roedelius(Clauster) & Rother(Neu!). Unfortunately, they made only 2 album, Musik Von Harmonia(1974) & Deluxe(1975) there is a 3 one but not release long after the band was over. It's a shame because the 2 album made by Harmonia are amongst the best album made in Germany during the 70's.

It seems like I'm in the minority of people who really like this album, I like Deluxe so much that I can listen to it in loop for hours without being tired of listening to the same music over and over. The first time I heard it was a very cheap MP3 version that a friend of mine got me from the internet. I didn't like it and was very disappointed because I really like their first one and also, I'm a big, big fan of Krautrock. Since I disapprove illegal downloading and have a enormous CD collection, I had to have that one legal, even if I didn't like it that much. I had their first one so I had to have the second one, for my Krautrock collection. I finally found the remaster version at the HMV in downtown Montréal. Not the place to find a rare album like that ;)

I'm glad I bought it because? It's amazing what a CD with a good sound can change your perception of music your already know and didn't really getting it. I finally got it, it's a cross between the best part of Autoban by Kratfwerk, Hallogallo by Neu! and anything by Clauster. I was looking for an album like that ever since I became a fan of the album Autoban by Kraftwerk and found that their other album, has good as they might be, are more techno than anything. Since my discovery of Krautrock, I knew I was gonna find it, the album. In fact, I found 2, one is Can Future Days and the other, Deluxe by Harmonia. I was surprise to find that it's not as popular of an album in PA that I tough it would be, so I may be in the minority here but, If you like electronic Krautrock, you should try it, you might never know, It could be a winner like it did to me. So I gladly rating it 5 stars, Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music, at least for me it is.

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 Harmonia Live 1974 by HARMONIA album cover Live, 2007
3.66 | 12 ratings

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Harmonia Live 1974
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars This one is hard to rate impartially. But that is the idea of universal information.

So here it goes.........I never considered Harmonia as a "guitar leaded" band. Their studio albums, by rule, never stick to the same option of styling, among so many choices of electronic gadgets usually found in studios and the ones each brought in. The best part of this "Live-1974" cd, is that you will never have noticed it is "live". No applauses, cheers, whistling nor stuff like that. The "live" music went directly to the tape.

The performance is constructed as a sole base. The songs, most of the time are intense in repetition, more than in creativity. The incessant drum box beats more than once overshadow, the frontal music. Now, talking straight, they have to rely constantly in the "human" nature of the electric guitar performance, which of course has always been an integral part in their "studio" albums, but never that much, as to become too much.

So, an outdated drum box sound, a somehow leadind guitar, which at times is not that creative, because it is holding the whole song alone, because the other two guys are busy, "live" controlling their synths, sequencers, drum boxes and other simmilar tools.

The song writing has its occasional awesome heights, the "drone" like "live" experience should have been amazing, but as recorded material or album as such, ***3.5 "I admire the band, but this is "universal" information" PA stars.

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 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.01 | 52 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

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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 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.01 | 52 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

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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 Harmonia Live 1974 by HARMONIA album cover Live, 2007
3.66 | 12 ratings

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Harmonia Live 1974
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by Guldbamsen
Prog Reviewer Retired Admin

4 stars Chug chug chugging along

If you know those old electronic rhythm devices such as you´d find on old organs - that snuffle and chug like a puffing steam train, then look no further if you want to know how this sounds applied to music.

Harmonia was a German trio consisting of Michael Rother off legendary Krautrock band NEU! and the 2 electronic wizards from Cluster Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius. One could almost call this a super group, if these guys were better known to the world outside of Germany and the few Krautrock connoisseurs out there.

As the title suggests this record was cut in 1974, and luckily so because all 3 musicians here was at the very top of their game. None of these tracks feature anywhere else in their discography (at least to my knowledge), which means that you get 5 sparkling new tracks. On top of this, the sound quality of this release happens to be vibrant and warm, and by the flick of the switch - with eyes closed - ready for a mind movie, you´re transported back in time to this tasty and imaginative gig. This is serious headphone music, and it helps big time if you can picture the Penny Station in Griessen Germany filled with long haired freaks and folks sitting on their jackets smoking, drinking, tripping doing their very best to escape the earthly bounds of the floor.

All of these tracks sound improvised with blowing ambient synth landscapes that consistently prowls the airwaves like soft and delicate wolverines in flight. Together with Michael Rother´s spacey and lingering guitar work, the music takes on an effervescent characteristic, that makes the music soar and glide in and out of psychedelic terrains and electronic currents.

It is a boat ride just as much as it is a train journey, - a realistic musical adaptation of a trip through the swooping autobahn on a huge robotic vessel. The music is cradling and motorik laden, but still a long way from being gentle and sedate. It feels determined like a commercial ferry ploughing through the streets headed for its home harbour. Just like German engineering the rhythm boxes showers this release in a very conform coating, but that only ads to the mystery, as to why this album sounds so free.

If you enjoy your music psychedelic, chugging, minimalistic, improvised and hypnotic, then you could do worse than this fine record, which is a fine example of a journey well spent on your bottom. Your head on the other hand has been places, where objects move like echoing slow lightnings through the skies, and your senses feel heightened and crisp like a metaphysical conductor licking the rail road tracks in sheer exuberance.

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 Deluxe by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.16 | 29 ratings

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Deluxe
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The process of recording Neu! 75 was characterised by sharp disagreements over musical direction. These seem to have left a bad taste in Michael Rother's mouth which persisted to the recording of this second Harmonium album, which adds Mani Neumeier from Guru Guru to provide compelling motorik drumming but fails to provide him (or any of the other instrumentalists) with any really compelling compositions to get their teeth into. Failing to reach the standards of its predecessor, the album at points (particularly when the vocals creep in) reminds me of an inferior attempt at the sort of ambient rock that Brian Eno had perfected on Another Green World at around the same time. Not the finest hour of Cluster, Rother, or Neumeier to be honest.

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 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.01 | 52 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

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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 Tracks & Traces / Harmonia 76 by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.14 | 16 ratings

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Tracks & Traces / Harmonia 76
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Last Harmonia's album is a product of early electronic super group. No jokes, great German early electronic experimentators Moebius, Roedelius and Rother there collaborates with British ambient guru Brian Eno.

Unhappily, result isn't so great, as could be expected. Harmonium changed direction from their earlier experimental works to more accessible, and Eno lyrics, vocals and some electronic ambient effects doesn't bring the magic to refresh the sound.

Album was recorded in 1976, but didn't released till 1997. Looking from now, it sounds simplistic and quite dated. For sure, Cluster and Eno ambient sound fan will easily find there many pleasant elements, but for not such involved listener this work is pleasant, but dated recording, more nostalgic reminder about mid 70-s electronic music, then really good music to listen today.

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 Musik Von by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.01 | 52 ratings

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Musik Von
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

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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 Deluxe by HARMONIA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.16 | 29 ratings

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Deluxe
Harmonia Progressive Electronic

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is HARMONIA's second album and they've added the legendary Mani Neumeie (GURU GURU) on drums. We still have the duo (Moebius & Roedelius) from CLUSTER as well as Michael Rother from NEU !. I'm a big fan of the three bands represented here, but this is quite different from them all. I'll quote the liner notes. "What they were creating was unheard of music that remained unparalleled, something which they owed to their own special way of combining acoustic, electronic and electro-acoustic instruments,to the imaginative and sometimes some sort of transcendent way of using their studio equipment as well as to the natural discipline they used to display during the recordings.There was no cosmic wafting, but cool and sober electronics, no brutal rhythms but easy going drums and flowing patterns. Roedelius's dreamy keyboards tunes, Moebius's skilful use of the synthesizers and the Nagoya harp and Rother's unmistakable guitar sound were virtues that could hardly merge in a better way than they did on this HARMONIA album".

The compositions on this album were more complex than they were on the debut yet there is this charm about this recording that can't be missed. "Deluxe (Immer Wieder)" is such a great track. It just sounds so good early on with those spacey sounds then we get sort of a mechanical sounding beat as vocals come in. Guitar sounds come and go. This is catchy until after 4 minutes when it settles right down. Vocals are back 8 minutes in after a long break. "Walky-Talky" is led by what sounds like percussion, drums and various electronics.

"Monza (Rauf Und Runter)" is spacey to open. It stops after 1 1/2 minutes then the guitar sound signals a change as a catchy beat with vocals comes in. This is fun. "Notre Dame" opens with organ sounds as a beat joins in. It settles before 1 1/2 minutes and turns spacey. Contrasts continue. "Gollum" sounds silly to open but the melancholic synths a minute in and later after 2 minutes are very good. "Kekse" sounds so simple for the first 4 1/2 minutes then it changes for the final minute to an experimental soundscape.

I do know people who rave about this release despite the poor ratings on this site, and I have to join in on their praise.

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Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to easy livin for the last updates

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