Please tell me that after the last two posts, you saw this one coming like the proverbial freight train. When I first heard of this pairing I though it was one of the more provocative teamings I could have ever heard of. Roedelius is a man who has produced an inordinate body of work over the last 40+ years and honestly, I can imagine him teaming with almost any musician to collaborate… save for the verbally acute Lloyd Cole. My impression of Cole brings lyrics to the fore far in advance of his (admittedly tuneful) music. What would these wildly disparate musicians bring to their collaboration? I had long looked forward to finding out and now the time was ripe.
#13 • Lloyd Cole / Hans-Joachim Roedelius: Selected Studies Vol. 1 GER CD 
- Still Life With Kannyu
- Fehmarn F/O
- Virginie L
A cornucopia of grace, for a start! When the laser hit track one, the sound of a far off rain or wind storm slowly began to rise in the soundstage before the sound of what might be lava rocks jostling in a stream* overwhelmed the earlier ambience to become a constant, random presence throughout the rest of the song. Soon, I was immediately transported into a glade of evanescent beauty once the gentle, loping rhythms of the synths entered the mix, where the presence of acoustic glitch elements, far from undermining the gloriousness of it all, only served to heighten the perception of the overwhelming splendor. Don’t take my word for it. Listen to, and even download the track below, courtesy of Bureau B. You’re welcome. This is one of the most gorgeous instrumental pieces I’ve heard post Fripp + Eno’s “Evening Star.”
But this album is no one trick pony. It explores many territories of sound, some are indeed pastoral. Others can be eerie shadowscapes of sometimes piercing sounds like “Wandelbar.” “Still Life With Kannyu” manages to occupy a landscape reminiscent of Harold Budd, with Roedelius on piano with slowly swelling synth chords underpinning the placid sound, but the skittering, insect-like synth that hovers over this piece adds contrasting textures that serve to once again, heighten the beauty.
The rainstorm again heralds the onset of “TangoLargo” and the piece has strongly rhythmic impetus with the synths creating a reverberant sequence of polyrhythms shot through with trilling synths and sustained chords of cinematic drama. And are those the sound of doves cooing during the song’s ebb and flow? Luscious.
But there is more to offer here. “HIQS” is all droning, industrial synths and sounds like a phalanx of cybernetic cicadas. The subsequent “Fehmarn F/O” offers the most synthetic, and rhythmic construction in this program. The Wasp-like lead patches hint of acid but the pacing here is more methodical and determined than the mindless thrust of acid house. At times near the climax it sounds like the leads are Theremin driven until the dramatic cold ending bring it to a halt.
Then the pure Satie of “Virginie L” arrives as the noise-suite portion of the album recedes for a luxuriant coda. Then the winsome “Lullerby” brings the project to a gentle conclusion. This album was a delight from start to finish and more than fulfilled my interest in it strictly as an object of seeming paradox, with Lloyd Cole, one of the most verbal pop stars collaborating with Roedelius, the ceaselessly productive Krautrock pioneer. I’d recommend this as a must for all fans of Brian Eno or Harold Budd. And maybe even Lloyd Cole fans with an open mind as well. This album represents an exciting journey that I certainly hope isn’t over for these two gentlemen. I’m more than ready for volume two.
CONCLUSION: enjoy… a lot
– 30 –
* I have heard this sound only once before on a record; on Freur’s magnificent “Matters Of The Heart.”