Harmonia is a Krautrock supergroup from Germany. They formed as a collaboration between Michael Rother of Neu! and Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Möbius of Cluster and later included British ambient music artist Brian Eno.
As two-thirds of the original group were the entirety of Cluster, the first album,
Musik Von Harmonia, leaned more towards that band's ambient-tinged rock than Neu's Motorik rock. The second album Deluxe had much stronger beats and a more Motorik and arguably more commercial sound. With the addition of Brian Eno for the 1976 recording sessions the third album, Tracks and Traces, was again more ambient in style.
In 1973 the duo of Moebius and Roedelius, also known as Cluster, moved to the rural village of Forst, West Germany to build their own studio. There Cluster and Neu! co-founder Michael Rother recorded two albums under the name Harmonia: Musik Von Harmonia in 1974 and Deluxe in 1975, both released on Brain. Musician, writer, and rock historian Julian Cope places both albums in his Krautrock Top 50. The trio also toured and a new recording drawn from this period, Live 1974 was released on the UK-based Grönland Records label on October 22, 2007 and the San Francisco based Water Records label in the United States on December 11, 2007.
After the release of the first Harmonia album and a period on tour Michael Rother returned to working with Klaus Dinger and an expanded Neu! lineup in order to complete his contractual obligations. In his absence Cluster went back to work as a duo, releasing Zuckerzeit later in 1974. Rother did contribute some guitar work on this album and his influence is greatly felt. Zuckerzeit sounds different from any other Cluster album, with clearly defined melody and beat and a very rhythmic sound, at times approaching the Motorik style of Neu!
After the release of Deluxe Harmonia went back to the studio with a new fourth member: Brian Eno. Various websites quote Eno as saying that Harmonia was "the world's most important rock band" in the mid '70s, including Sherman Wick in his review of Musik Von Harmonia. Daniel Dumych, who also cites that quote, writes in his article for hyperreal.org: "Perhaps Eno's reason for praising Harmonia so highly was that their music fit the requirements of ambient rock. Its music was equally suitable for active or passive listening. The careful listener found his/her attentions rewarded by the musical activities and sounds, but Harmonia's music was also capable of setting a sonic environment." Clearly Eno had been very impressed with both Musik von Harmonia and Zuckerzeit and had joined Harmonia on tour once, jamming with the group at The Fabrik in Hamburg. The studio album which followed, Tracks and Traces was recorded in 1976 but was not released until 1997. Michael Rother left before the album was completed to pursue a solo career which probably resulted in the shelving of the recordings.
Harmonia continued to influence Brian Eno's work long after its demise. A review of Musik Von Harmonia on the Cult Cargo website cites the track "Ahoi" as "the blueprint for a couple of the tracks on Eno's Apollo LP, with its minimalist picked guitar and simple piano runs."
Harmonia reunited in 2007 and performed live for the first time since 1976, opening the Worldtronics Festival at the at Haus der Weltkulturen in Berlin, Germany on November 27, 2007.
Harmonia made their first live appearance in the UK on 18th April 2008, playing on the opening night of the Ether Festival in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre, London. In July 2008 the band also headlined the final day of the Supersonic Festival in Birmingham.
Harmonia appeared at the All Tomorrow's Parties music festival curated by My Bloody Valentine in 2008. They are scheduled to perform at the Australian series of the festival, curated by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 2009. (-via Wikipedia)
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