Hans-Joachim Roedelius is a musician who has a prodigious amount of music under his belt in a lifetime of composing and performance. There are nearly a hundred albums that one could buy in an effort to “get it all.” In that respect he reminds me of another musician I like, Bill Nelson. Nelson also has “release incontinence” with handfuls of albums released per year; some multi disc boxed sets. Roedelius also is like Nelson in another regard in that he often works quickly with an “audio sketchbook” approach to get ideas on tape quickly. Nowhere is this more evident and explicit than in his Selbsportrait [“self-portrait”] series of recordings.
# 22 • Hans-Joachim Roedelius: Selbstportrait Vol. III / Reise Durch Arcadien GER CD 
This album reminds me of a recording I love by Fripp and Eno; “Evening Star” in that it has a largely melodic A-side featuring brief compositions with a more experimental B-side that plays longer. “Sonntags” [“Sundays”] is as winsome a melody as one can imagine; the happiest face that synthesizers are capable of making. The playful excursion is like a precursor to synthpop given that it was recorded by Roedelius in the ’78-’80 period.
“Geburtstag” [“Birthday”] could have only been recorded on October 28th, just as a wild guess! The gentle, brief melody plays like dappled sunlight on a lake and reminds me of the impressionism that Kraftwerk once allowed themselves before they adopted their rigid image. Fortunately, Roedelius has no time for such games! There is all of life to experience and report on with his music.
Side one gets some foreshadowing of side two with “Fieber,” [“Fever”] a minor key pulse drone composition that runs twice as long as most of the first half of this album. This composition points towards the Kluster sound much more than the shorter pieces here.
What was once side two is comprised of just two long pieces, “Zuversicht” [“Confidence”] and “Stimmung” [“Tendency”]. Where the bulk of the album is formed from brief, playful interludes, these two return to the somber tone of “Fieber” and the attendant introspection that accompanied that piece. The album as a whole is focused on capturing emotional snapshots; the many faces of Roedelius as it were. That this is number three in his self-portrait series, suggests that he had much time ahead of him for self-reflection on his lifelong artistic trek.
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