Edit this event
- Harmonia »
Ushered on as idle chatter dies away and pin-drop silence fills the QEH, Harmonia set up shop in a manner not far removed from Dr. Gunther von Hagens’ prepping his televised lobotomies, readying to rip brain tissues for all to gawp at in fascination as they gnaw on supper. As Michael Rother, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Möebius skulk on towards each of their desks it doesn’t half seem like we’re sat in at a Regency autopsy viewing gallery waiting for an innocent serf to be torn open or, worse still, Peter Ebdon’s latest Crucible-based tedium. But these collaborating professors don’t want to dissect your spleen nor rack up laborious 147s, they want to burrow back into their well dug krautrock furrows for the first time ever in the UK. As all opens, a father and his Wotsit-stained, snot-drenched son find their seat. Poor fucker.
After reforming to perform last year following three decades pursuing various alternative avenues (with Roedelius releasing the acclaimed Inlandish with Tim Story earlier this year), Harmonia marked their return with the release of Live 1974 for all to rekindle memories of what was or, for young Kharas and I, familiarise ourselves with their well-noted live incarnation, often withdrawn from their tendency for doting ambience. But opening with a batch of comatose beats in unenthused fits and starts it’s not quite the start that seemed obvious to anticipate. Projections overhead play clips of the outfit from their initial days circa ‘73-‘76 with flashbacks to three stern-looking men manning vast machinery, with three weathered but buff gentlemen in front stood before a modest array of equipment, seemingly not much more than a sampler and laptop each (and is that a CD player? CHEATS!).
Quit crying, kid. A solitary box of tricks is all Panda Bear and el Guincho have needed to enthral in recent months so it’s enough for these Kosmische forefathers and, soon enough, rising out of the minimal chirrups and meandering ambience methodical Motorik kicks interrupt (fitting given the recent death of NEU! noisenik Klaus Dinger, who established the signature beat), with ‘Deluxe’ getting an outing in one form or another, serving to point the influence the trio have had, whether upon the intricate micro-house of Ricardo Villalobos or the straight-laced imitation from ex-Tussle man Arp. These waves come and go, lapping against wine-soaked minds ‘til heads start to droop towards the end of the hour and a half procession, until Rother’s crunching guitar hooks flood the event with striding NEU!-isms and all wish this Friday draw was a place for bitter-tongued revelry rather than polite inspection, and offer up the remarkable spectacle that was anticipated.
The setting is both the making and breaking of the show. For all the cosy comfort of watching Harmonia in such a lethargic state this music needn’t be such a sterilised sat-down study. Regardless, the kid may be sobbing tears of infuriation into mother’s knit but it’s a remarkable showcase of former glories.
Photography by Maria Jefferis / Shot2Bits
- Harmonia & Eno, Tracks and Traces ’76 (Groenland)
- ATP Australia: the DiS review
- Listen: ATP New York live on the interweb
- Foals: on the past, the present, and the surf-rock future
- Supersonic 2008: the DiS review
- Supersonic 2008: the DiS preview
- Two weeks 'til Supersonic: have you got your ticket to the Festival of the Year?
- Supersonic organisers drawing up festival schedule