Day 14

July 20th 2015
Death of Dieter Moebius

The com­mu­nal aspects of Krautrock have ensured that most of the great­est out­put of that genre will always be per­ceived as acts of union, as beau­ti­ful col­lec­tive state­ments. It is fit­ting, there­fore, that it is upon the slen­der shoul­ders of Dieter Moe­bius that rep­re­sent­ing all of Krautrock for the SydArthur Fes­ti­val has fall­en. It is right­eous indeed, for like so many of his imme­di­ate con­tem­po­raries, Moe­bius was a mul­ti-task­ing, mul­ti-genre-split­ting high achiev­er of the first order. He always chose his col­lab­o­ra­tors well: Tan­ger­ine Dream’s Con­rad Schnit­zler, Can’s Hol­ger Czukay, Neu’s Michael Rother, leg­endary Krautrock pro­duc­er Con­ny Plank and of course his Clus­ter col­league Hans-Joachim Roedelius. Aspi­ra­tional in every­thing, Moe­bius even gave away his own art cred­its – nev­er lay­ing claim to some of those pop art clas­sics we most adore: Harmonia’s debut and Clus­ter II included.

It was writ­ten by Wern­er Pieper, for­mer man­ag­er of Amon Düül II, that Krautrock­ers – as the chil­dren of “Adolf Hitler’s foot­folk” – were musi­cians who need­ed to cre­ate music so intense and cleans­ing that it absolved them all of their fore­fa­thers’ sins. This demand for free­dom with­in their art was both right­eous and delib­er­ate: it should nev­er be for­got­ten, for it is at the very heart of what con­sti­tutes “Krautrock”. And out of this need and demand, Krautrock­ers cre­at­ed their own med­i­cines and med­i­ta­tions with which to sooth their tor­tured souls. How this music has endured. Its pop art ingre­di­ents being so all-per­va­sive – indus­tri­al sounds, urban traf­fic noise, west­ern TV, the weath­er itself – has ensured that how­ev­er vis­cer­al the genre became, it has by this time in the 21st cen­tu­ry con­tin­ued to serve the musi­cal under­ground through the sheer pow­er­drive of its exe­cu­tion. Whether soft or hard, Krautrock is always extreme.

The incen­di­ary col­lec­tive pow­er of Krautrock and those involved was achieved only at the expense of Europe’s san­i­ty. For with­out Hitler’s World Fuck Up, there would nev­er have been a need for future Ger­man youth to cre­ate such a vivid musi­cal dance. Unless the world is endur­ing sim­i­lar prob­lems, we can­not there­fore hope to wit­ness artists of such cal­i­bre in the future.

Today on Day 14 of the SydArthur Fes­ti­val, we pay homage to Grand­mas­ter Moe­bius who passed on three years ago, leav­ing us with a huge trail of evi­dent musi­cal genius. Dif­fi­cult though it is to pick one tune to rep­re­sent M, let’s strike an obvi­ous pose by lend­ing an ear now to ‘Watus­si’ – the cycli­cal, emblem­at­ic open­ing of Harmonia’s debut LP. Brim­ming over an foam­ing at the gils with inner beats, out­er beats, sta­t­ic beats, pedes­tri­an beats, ‘Watus­si’ bril­liant­ly sums up its three pro­tag­o­nists but most of all – for our pur­pos­es here­in – show­cas­es the imp­ish Moe­bius at his fop­pish, glo­ri­ous peak. But then again, who else in 70s Kraut­land would have dared por­tray him­self as the co-habitee of his cohort, as did Moe­bius with Roedelius on the cov­er of ZUCKERZEIT? As Den­nis Alcapone would say, “onwards ever, back­wards nev­er!” We love you, Moebius.

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Day 1: Saturday Jul 7th
Day 2: Sunday Jul 8th
Day 3: Monday Jul 9th
Day 4: Tuesday Jul 10th
Day 5: Wednesday Jul 11th
Day 6: Thursday Jul 12th
Day 7: Friday Jul 13th
Day 8: Saturday Jul 14th
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Day 10: Monday Jul 16th
Day 11: Tuesday Jul 17th
Day 12: Wednesday Jul 18th
Day 13: Thursday Jul 19th
Day 14: Friday Jul 20th
Day 15: Saturday Jul 21st
Day 16: Sunday Jul 22nd
Day 17: Monday Jul 23rd
Day 18: Tuesday Jul 24th
Day 19: Wednesday Jul 25th
Day 20: Thursday Jul 26th
Day 21: Friday Jul 27th
Day 22: Saturday Jul 28th
Day 23: Sunday Jul 29th
Day 24: Monday Jul 30th
Day 25: Tuesday Jul 31st
Day 27: Thursday Aug 2nd
Day 28: Friday Aug 3rd