Selbstportrait I


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This is the third solo album by German keyboardist Hans-Joachim Roedelius, originally released in 1979 on Sky Records. Alongside his ongoing work with Cluster and Harmonia, Roedelius amassed an almost incalculable number of musical notations during his time in the idyllic Weser Uplands. Fleeting sketches, spontaneous improvisations, implied miniatures, rough compositions -- Roedelius recorded virtually every idea he came up with outside the studio sessions on his Revox A77 reel to reel; with the basic intention of capturing his moments of inspiration, he simply let the tape run as he played around on the Farfisa organ. Sound quality was not his prime concern, as he was not as yet entertaining any notion of releasing the results. As Roedelius recalls, costly tape spools were at a premium, so he recorded over older tapes in mono, at a less than ideal speed.

Substandard, technically speaking (or listening), but as a self portrait, nothing short of a masterpiece. It would be inappropriate to measure this album by the hi-fidelity yardstick; see it as something closer to an intimate confession, an unguarded communiqué from one person to another. Bordering on naivety and free of conceit, Roedelius introduces us to his world through these chiffonesque études. There may be little variation in the Farfisa sound, but this is soon forgotten when Roedelius invites us to listen, to enter the experience. No expensive technology, no producer, no collaborators. This is unfiltered personality, the real Roedelius. Musically, Selbstportrait is characterized by a combination of ländler, minimalism and harmonic simplicity. The Weser Uplands, where Roedelius recorded his music, are certainly no Arcadia and the village of Forst is anything but Atlantis, but perhaps it could become the Graceland of German electronic music. Printed innersleeve with original liner notes and new notes by Asmus Tietchens.

    Release Date: 03 Dec 10 Cat No: BB63LP