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Live 1974

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Audio CD, October 1, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Though they only released two albums (1974's Musik Von Harmonia and 1975's De Luxe) in their brief existence Harmonia were considered one of the most important and influential bands of the German Krautrock/Kosmiche scene. Composed of Michael Rother from Neu! and Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius from Cluster, this live recording captures Harmonia at their peak on March 23, 1974 at Penny Station in Griessem, Germany. Previously unreleased and featuring 5 extended, and never before heard, songs. Cosmic German space-rock from the true originators.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 1, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Water
  • ASIN: B000TP5T9S
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,392 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Louie Bourland on January 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Despite their short existence, Harmonia was a supergroup of the German Krautrock era whose influence is still felt over 30 years later. The band consisted of former Kraftwerk and NEU! member Michael Rother alongside the members of Cluster (Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius). Together, these three musicians set out to create hypnotic rhythmic minimalist improvisations that would become the blueprint for techno and rave music decades later.
With interest in Harmonia's music rising to the surface once again as well as a recent reunion concert held in their homeland, the band has dusted off an excellent unreleased live recording from March 1974. Despite it being close to 34 years old, the sound quality of this hour long performance is stellar and shows just what the band was capable of doing before a live audience.
The emphasis throughout this concert is primarily on rhythm and improvisation with a primitive drum machine up front and center . For the uninitiated, the majority of this CD may sound like a record continuously skipping but for those who are fans of Harmonia and the members respective bands (Neu! and Cluster), this is an absolute treasure and a must. Rother's guitar work throughout this CD is amazing as is the quirky keyboard and synth lines coming from the fingers of Moebius and Roedelius. Also, there isn't one bit of applause to be heard between each piece performed (although there is some chatter heard in the background on some tracks) - a testament of an attentive and focused audience.
With this said, Harmonia's "Live 1974" disc is an historic new classic from this legendary band. This disc combined with their two studio discs (as well as their short-lived collaboration with Brian Eno) makes for an excellent open-minded listening experience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike Reed VINE VOICE on May 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Here's one archive live performance I never thought I'd see get, at least a legit release. I do remember reading in Alternative Press around the time the just-discovered 'Tracks & Traces' (see my review) was released that Harmonia did, in fact play a handful of live shows and that someone in their camp was attempting to locate a copy of one of those gigs. Looks like someone HAD struck pay dirt. However, turns out that all five cuts on 'Live 1974' are previously unreleased Harmonia material. Show took place on March 23, 1974 at the Penny Station Club (a former railway station) in Griessem, Germany. It's been noted that Michael Rother recalls a crowd of about fifty patrons in attendance. Must have been mighty out-of-it because I believe this is the quietest crowd I've ever heard on a live recording. Rest assure, the sound quality here is top notch. Fans of such krautrock oddities like Golem, Galactic Explorers, and better known bands like Ash Ra Temple, early Tangerine Dream and Cosmic Jokers will simply love this CD. So extremely highly recommended, it almost makes my head hurt.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Carlberg on March 18, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Harmonia was a band in the middle, straddling the wide divide between pure electronic noise (viz. Kluster, Cluster '71, Conrad Schnitzler, Musik von Harmonia) and more tune-oriented melodic/rhythmic stuff (Deluxe, Zuckerzeit, Rother solo). Nowhere is this more evident than on this archival concert release from March 23, 1974 (just after Musik von, just before Deluxe). Rother (g) and Roedelius (s) improvise modal figures over a drumbox (the same one heard in "Watussi" from MVH) while Moebius spins abstract goo in the background. It's not really "tune-oriented" but the driving rhythms aren't soporific either.

As a live recording it's surprisingly "present" (soundboard?) with zero audience noise. Noise and distortion levels are well within limits for current recordings, and the frequency range is remarkably good too. At just under an hour of previously-unknown material, this is like finding lost rehearsal tapes for MVH. For fans of that era it is a wonderful discovery.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Allaer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
First things first: I recently saw the instructive "Kraftwerk and the Electronic Revolution" DVD documentary, and in it a bunch of Germany's so-called "Krautrock" scene is discussed, including of course Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Neu!, Can, etc, but also a number of bands with whom I was less familiar, or not familiar at all. Harmonia is one of those bands, so I started reading up a bit on these guys, and ordered this CD. Harmonia is basically the guys from Cluster (Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius), with Neu's Michael Rother as the third band member.

"Live 1974" (5 tracks; 58 min.), as others already have noted, consists of a live recording from March, 1974 in a decommissioned train station in Germany that was now a "club" (Kraftwerk played in the same place in 1971, as pointed out in the excellent liner notes). While recorded pretty much at the same time as Cluster's "Zuckerzeit" album, the two albums couldn't sound more different. First of all, I am struck by the overall sound of this live recording, reminding me of Tangerine's Dream in the late 70s and early 80s (just one example: check out the outstanding track "Veteranissimo" on here, and then play "Dr. Destructo" from Tangerine Dream's 1981 "Thief" soundtrack...). The 5 min. "Arabesque" is just a tidbit too short in my opinion, it feels too compact as heard here. The best track is the 15 min. "Holta-Polta", with its threatening underlying drive to it, which at the same time is completely hypnotizing. "Ueber Ottensein" is a nice set closer and sums up the album quite nicely. Beware, the sound quality is not optimal, but given that this recording laid around gathering dust for over 30 years and wasn't released until 2007, we should be just grateful this exists at all.
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