Though Harmonia began as a sideline excursion for Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius of Cluster and Michael Rother of Neu!, the group became one of the most legendary in the entire Krautrock/kosmische scene with the release of several mid-'70s LPs. After two studio albums recorded as Cluster, Roedelius and Moebius moved out to the German countryside to build their own studio in the village of Forst. After several disappointments in his attempt to expand Neu! into a live unit, Rother retreated to Cluster's studio for a series of relaxed, improvisational jam sessions that wedded Cluster's exploratory space music with the chugging rhythms and guitar sense of Rother. Brian Eno had proclaimed Harmonia "the world's most important rock group."
A touch more immediate and song-oriented than its predecessor, but no less enchanting and lovely to hear, De Luxe, originally released in 1975, again features the trio experimenting with a variety of approaches, most particularly including vocals here and there for the first time. There's also a guest musician helping out, namely Mani Neumeier from Guru Guru, and while he's not playing all the time, where he does appear, as on the wonderful lengthy jam Walky-Talky, a blend of his percussion and swooping guitar filigrees and keyboards, it's a fine choice. His slow, subtle build throughout the song helps send it higher and higher without seeming to. The various vocals really do fit the music in a lovely way, and it's little surprise that Brian Eno might have felt even more of an affinity with the group than before, being non-musical but still affecting, like mysterious chants or barks. The motorik pulses and rhythms, however soft and subtle, still dominate the proceedings, while the glazed, warm feeling of the whole album is astounding.