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Dieter Moebius, Electronic Music Pioneer, Dead at 71

Longtime Cluster keyboardist was Krautrock, ambient music innovator

Dieter Moebius

Dieter Moebius, a giant in electronic music and co-founder of Cluster and Harmonia, died Monday at the age of 71

Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns

Dieter Moebius, a giant in the genre of electronic music, died Monday, his Harmonia bandmate Michael Rother confirmed on Facebook. Moebius was 71. “Very sad news today for all friends of Dieter Moebius and his unique music. Our friend, neighbor and collaborator passed away this morning, July 20th, 2015,” Rother wrote on Facebook. “He will be missed dearly by all of us. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Irene.” The Facebook account for Cluster, Moebius’ long-running collaboration with Hans-Joachim Roedelius, also confirmed the keyboardist’s passing. No other details were shared.

Moebius and Roedelius, along with Tangerine Dream’s Conrad Schnitzler, first teamed in 1969 to form Kluster; after Schnitzler’s exit in 1971, the duo was named Cluster. Like many of their Krautrock counterparts, the duo’s early work shifted from experimental and dissonant (1971’s Cluster, 1972’s Cluster II) to the genre’s trademark repetition and motorik beats (1974’s Zuckerzeit). The pair also partnered with Neu!’s Rother for their prog-rock side project Harmonia, which released three albums, including 1974’s Musik Von Harmonia and 1975’s Deluxe.

It was the tail end of the latter album that found Moebius and Roedelius venturing into more ambient territory; their 1976 LP Soweisoso is considered their breakthrough in the genre. Soon, ambient music pioneer Brian Eno would team with Cluster on a pair of acclaimed, ambient-leaning LPs: 1977’s all-instrumental Cluster & Eno and 1978’s After the Heat, which featured Eno singing on three tracks. Over the years, Moebius and Roedelius also worked with many of Krautrock’s greatest talents: Sound engineer Conny Plank, Can bassist Holger Czukay and Guru Guru drummer Mani Neumeier.

In addition to Moebius and Roedelius’ extensive catalog – the duo last recorded together for 2009’s Qua – Moebius also recorded over a dozen solo albums, including his most recent work, 2014’s Nidemonex.



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