Photographers: Jrg Winkhaus; Christine Roedelius; Mark Pilkington.
Translator: Gareth Davies .
Germany's Hans Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius made Krautrock history with their group Cluster. Their proto-ambient electronic soundscapes avoided conventional melody and rhythm so steadfastly that Cluster's '70s recordings sound like nothing less than the dreams of sleeping industrial machines. By the '80s, Roedelius and Moebius had made their way to a rhythm-based aesthetic dangerously close to dance music. This definitive album finds the duo midway between those two extremes and offers a good overview of Cluster's approach.
Prior to 1976's SOWIESOSO, Moebius and Roedelius collaborated with Neu! mainman Michael Rother in Harmonia, fusing Cluster's moody textures with Neu!'s simple melodies and gently undulating rhythms for an approach akin to vintage Kraftwerk. The lessons Cluster learned from Rother's poppier ways must have stuck, as SOWIESOSO is solidly in the style of Harmonia's 1975 album DELUXE. Waves of understated synth melodies flow over subtle rhythms for an accessible but never blatantly commercial sound. On "Umleitung," the electronics are set in relief by tribal-sounding banging and chanting. "In Ewigkeit" closes things on a contemplative note, its elegiac tone marked by a soft, funereal beat and atmospheric synthesizer washes.
Uncut (p.76) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "SOWIESOSO is surely the duo's finest work: seven burbling synth pastorals with a playful edge..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.153) - "[I]nnovative and unconventional....[The songs] will make your world a more soothing place."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.81) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "The blend of piano, electronics, subliminal rhythm, effects and Conny Plank's studio trampoline allows the music to shimmer and unfurl at compelling leisure."