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Music Review: Hans-Joachim Roedelius – Lustwandel

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The third studio album by Hans-Joachim Roedelius, titled Lustwandel, was originally released in 1981. The German experimental-music pioneer had already made a name for himself as a founding member of the seriously avant-garde Kluster, and its polar opposite, the proto-ambient Harmonia. But as a solo artist, Roedelius was able to pursue his most personal visions, no matter where they might lead.

Lustwandel is unique in the fact that an acoustic piano is used so often. As an artist who was considered by many to be the electronic keyboardist of the Krautrock era, this was a considerable development. It must have helped that Lustwandel was produced by Peter Baumann (of Tangerine Dream) because the album turned out to be one of Roedelius’ finest works.

The record begins with the title track, a deeply introspective piece of piano meditation, which sets the tone for the next 12 tracks. No matter what the context, Roedelius’ music has always been known for the atmospheres he evokes. On Lustwandel, he glides seamlessly through them. “Draufen Vorbei” comes across as playful while “Legende” has its roots in chamber music of the 19th century. “Wilkommen” emanates a vaguely militaristic feel, and “Langer Atem” hearkens back to the composer’s more experimental work.

Sprinkled throughout the album are brief, one-minute interludes that act as something of a palette cleanser for the composer’s next direction. No matter what the idiom of each individual cut, there is an overall tone of calm about Lustwandel that never falters. Much like his previous effort, Jardin Au Fou, the tracks all seem to blend into one long suite. There are a number of twists and turns, but the music is always very clearly that of Hans-Joachim Roedelius.

Lustwandel is a disc that works for any number of moods, but my favorite time to hear it is first thing in the morning, over a nice cup of coffee. It is an album that I have been listening to for nearly 30 years now, and one of the few I never tire of hearing.

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About Greg Barbrick