Boomkat Product Review:
In recent times we've been bombarded with reissues of solo work from the shelf-straining catalogues of Cluster herren Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius, so you could be forgiven for letting some of the lesser-known albums pass you by, particularly those made post-1990. But you really don't want to miss this one. Selbsportrait VIII is, as its title suggests, the eighth instalment in Roedelius's ongoing series of tranquil, meditative LP offerings which began in 1979. Electronic sound is a liquid quantity in Roedelius's masterful hands, and on Selbsportrait VIII he uses it to paint kosmische landscapes of uncommon beauty and grace. It's very much "late" Roedelius - first released in 2002 with the telling subtitle of Introspection - but it has that out-of-time quality that characterises all his finest work, conjuring images of past utopias and time irredeemable even as it gestures towards a future where machines have feelings too. 'Side By Side''s ominous drones and eerie birdsong wouldn't sound out of place on Aphex’s SAW II, while charged with the strange, cylical momentum of classic Cluster or Harmonia & Eno '76,' Ponte' is a dead ringer for the rain-slicked drift jazz of Vangelis and his latter day disciple Dylan Ettinger, while 'Trailing Along' is the kind of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed synthetic daydream that Belbury Poly has made a career out of pastiching. The more lightweight, twinkingly new agey numbers like 'Lovely Morning' and 'Si Es Esto' are offset by the truly eerie, oceanic closer 'El Castillo de la tranquilidad’.This is music made for peaceful reflection, but Roedelius can’t help but bring a melancholy, even sinister edge to proceedings, and it's these cracks and disturbances in the pastoral ambience that make Selbsportrait VIII such compelling listening.