Mueller_Roedelius - Imagori - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Mueller_Roedelius - Imagori

by David Bruggink Rating:6 Release Date:2015-09-04

Imagori sounds great on paper: a collaboration between Krautrock pioneer Hans-Joachim Roedelius (of Cluster and Harmonia) and composer Christoph H Müller, it follows in the tradition of such releases as Hauschka’s Ferndorf, John Roberts' Glass Eights and Wesseltoft & Schwarz’s Duo in its merging of atmospheric acoustic instrumentation (often piano-based) and electronic manipulation. As an anagram for ‘origami’, Imagori suggests a metamorphosis, something more novel and colorful than merely the sum of its 'piano and electronics' parts.

Despite occasionally delivering on its atmospheric promise, thanks to some cinematic piano passages, Imagori falters in its electronics component. The sounds themselves frequently have a canned, dated feeling to them, as if simply selected from a preexisting set of MIDI instruments, and would have benefitted from further modification or more thoughtful selection.

The best example is ‘The Question’, where a solemn and serene piano line is accompanied by a grab-bag of digital effects: there are spaceship sounds; some kind of talking robot; a ceaseless, checkout-line beeping; and a pretentious female voice asking ‘Can you feel it?’, while under it all, some fairly predictable clicks and cuts keep the beat moving along. It comes off as quite bloodless. Where the electronics could have developed and enhanced the mystery of the piano, instead they have a tendency to clutter and complicate, removing any emotional heft.

It seems too often throughout Imagori, Roedelius and Müller are at cross purposes, so when they lock onto a compelling section of symbiosis, it’s a bittersweet indicator of what a strong album the two might have created. 'A Song Or Not (piano version)', perhaps the most successful track, sees the mysteriousness of each musicians' contributions pleasantly intensifying one another; Rodelius wisely constrains his palette, focusing on a warbling synth to steer the overall mood, and allows Müller's piano to take center stage. The partnership also shines on the first section of 'Origami II', as Roedelius' deep electronic bass drives Müller's reflective piano chords forward. All too soon, though, the focus is lost as the uninspired beats begin to intrude.

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