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Music Review: Moebius – Blue Moon OST

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Dieter Moebius has long been a leading figure in the German avant-garde scene. His career began with Kluster in 1969, which later became Cluster. Moebius then moved on to work with Harmonia and Brian Eno in the seventies, and has pursued a solo career since the early eighties.

His minimalist style, and fondness for unique electronic sounds always made his music well-suited for soundtrack work. It is a little surprising that it took him until 1986 to score a film. Blue Moon (1986) is a little known German thriller from director Karsten Wichniarz. The soundtrack was Moebius’ last release on Sky Records, and is now available on CD for the first time.

The opening cut is titled “Intro 2,” for some reason, and it is most definitely state of the art electronic soundtrack music, circa 1986. The closest comparison I can come up with is the incidental music for the TV show Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Not to be confused with the style of Danny Elfman, who scored the film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985), this track is reminiscent of The Residents, who worked on the series.

From there Moebius takes an electro dip into the waters surrounding Australia, and The Church. They had just released one of their finest efforts titled Heyday. The lone instrumental on it was “Happy Hunting Ground.” By accident (most likely) or design, “Falsche Ruhe” recalls the sweeping grandeur of the piece.

The liner notes by Asmus Tietchens point out the fact that as soundtrack music, these eleven tracks were created to serve a function. And that just as some begin to really take off, they end – because the scene they were written for would end. I hear what he is saying particularly on “Im Wedding,” “Kriminelle Energie,” and “Traurige Zita.” All three are way too short, and really do leave the listener hanging at the end.

On the other hand, the abbreviated lengths serve some of the tracks quite well. If you can imagine music that simulates the act of dusting off one’s jacket, you have “Dust Off.” I hear some of what the Pelican Daughters would later do in “Hoffnungsschimmer.” Many years later the French duo Air would record a series of 12 – inch singles, including “Casonova 70.” Moebius’ “Das End” is a definite precursor to their early work.

Blue Moon OST is going to appeal to hardcore Krautrock fans like myself. But there is a lot of interesting music to be heard here. For fans of electronic music and soundtracks in particular, this is an obscurity worth seeking out.

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