Boomkat Product Review:
The problem with Harmonia is that words simply don't do the band justice. A super-group made up of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius (of Cluster) and Michael Rother (of Neu!) they re-defined not only the Krautrock genre but also electronic music in general with a mere two full-length albums ('Musik von Harmonia' and 'Deluxe') so saying that they are an important act, especially on the pages of this particular website just doesn't do them justice. With a flawless blend of electronic and early synthesizer sequences, matched up perfectly with Rother's spiritually-inclined riff-free fretwork they hit upon a sound that would be hugely influential but rarely re-interpreted successfully which is why it is such an event that we're treated with this collection of totally unreleased work. Recorded live in 1974 in Germany this is basically an entirely new record comprising of an hour of 'new' tracks (at least the tracks didn't appear on either of the other two Harmonia records) and catches the band on typically blistering form. Sounding like the band are mostly improvising the expertly synthesized sounds buzz and hiss taking a radically more long-form approach than they ever did on the previously released records, with the five tracks on average clocking in at above the ten-minute mark. Apparently the trio took influence from traditional Eastern music and there is certainly a raga flavour to many of these experiments, something that could be linked to fellow electronic pioneer Terry Riley. I suppose that's what sets this live disc apart from the other albums, wheras 'Musik von Harmonia' set out to prove what the band were capable of and 'Deluxe' was their 'pop' album, 'Live 1974' is the experimental record and catches them sculpting peerless long-form pieces to die for. As the synthesizers and percussion pulse and throb to their satisfying conclusions you're left in no doubt that you've been given a glimpse at a moment in the history of one of the most important electronic music acts of our time. Essential purchase, without a doubt.