Where to begin with Hans-Joachim Roedelius? It’s hard to think of someone else we’ve had on the Exchange who has such a rich musical and personal history. He was born in 1934 in Berlin, a city from which he was evacuated during World War II. Later, after an attempted escape from the GDR landed him in prison, he became a physical therapist and masseur to the elite. A client turned him onto avant-garde music, and by the 1970s he’d found a unique place in the German scene. With Dieter Moebius and Conrad Schnitzler, Roedelius founded Kluster, which, minus Schnitzler, became Cluster, one of the most important and influential German groups of the 20th century. He and Moebius were also part of the equally influential supergroup Harmonia with Michael Rother. Those are the big facts, but as you listen to this interview led by the German music journalist Florian Sievers, they’ll only feel like part of a story that’s flush with small but intriguing details. Roedelius made the stop by our office in advance of the Lifelines festival, which this year honors the life and music of this singular artist.
Author/interviewer: Florian Sievers