Moebius-Tonspuren

February 18, 2012

Moebius

Tonspuren(Sky 1983)

http://www.mediafire.com/?nlydjzdzxho

As a recent transplant to the universe of fatherhood, the connotations of 3am have changed dramatically. What was once a tardy witching hour spent winding down after an evening that should’ve mercifully ended long ago has been replaced with a piercing cry that jolts you to your very core as it brutally catapults you from the stasis of slumber into a panicked race to cradle and comfort your child. Don’t get me wrong. I greatly prefer my newfound existence far more than my latter days spent aimlessly meandering towards unconsciousness with stoned drones and their ambient counterparts as my trusted escorts towards a deep sleep. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have many fond memories of late night drives to nowhere in particular or burning the last drops of the midnight oil with Moebius’ Tonspuren as my co-pilot on countless bouts with insomnia. I love Tonspuren because it is simultaneously soothing and familiar, yet ominous and alien like some bastardized misappropriation of muzak. Its uneasy listening perfectly captures the vibe of driving through a strange metropolis once all the bars have closed and its citizens are asleep and all that’s left is the gauzy illumination of skyscrapers and steam rising from ramshackle vents until everyone repeats the same routine in the morning. It’s the sound of circuitry winding down as all the machinery slowly comes to a standstill. I’ve always had a fascination for meandering through whatever city I reside after life undergoes its nightly standstill and Tonspuren has been my trusted companion on many a nocturnal voyage.

I guess that’s enough hyperbole for one review, but Tonspuren is one of those albums near and dear to my heart even though it makes for a woozy, tense listen. Tonspuren was Moebius’ first solo album after his break with krautrock pioneers Cluster and a successful series of collaborations with Brian Eno and Conny Plank. Although it doesn’t stray far from the hypnotic, repetitive and lovely blueprint laid down in past works, it possesses an icy coldness and aura of alienation that only lurked in the background of his other works. There is an airy, ethereal ambiance in the forefront at first listen, but a dark, sinister vibe overtakes it on repeated listens as you get the sense he was not in a good place when he recorded this one. I also love how Tonspuren gradually grows more dismal and apocalyptic as each track documents a progression towards light melody to dark dissonance. It kind of serves as a fitting counterpart to Roedelius’, his former partner in Cluster, work during this time period. While Roedelius was crafting shimmering and perfect piano driven soundtracks, Moebius was doing the same, but dragging it through the mud and grime to conjure a wildly opposing reaction from his listener. It’s fitting that one would be the yin to the other’s yang as they both occupy the same stylistic orbit but have always explored diverging trajectories. Both artists aimed to create something moving and beautiful, but I will will always prefer Moebius because his music never settled for gorgeous gracefulness and allowed the ugliness and the glitches in the machinery to serve as a counterpoint, which is what makes Tonspuren an infinitely more compelling listen than most of what his peers ever created.

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