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Dieter Moebius, 1944–2015

Dieter Moebius died earlier this week.

Dieter Moebius
Dieter Moebius performing in 2010. Image: Wikimedia

If you haven’t heard of him, that’s a shame. He was half of my favourite Krautrock group Cluster.

One of the many wonderful things about Cluster was their other worldliness. I mean this in two ways. Firstly, their music often sounds alien:

Secondly, the music sits resolutely outside the US and British traditions of experimental rock music. No echo of Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard, even though Moebius was amazed when he first heard Chuck Berry and admired the Velvet Underground.

To Moebius, Elvis was Schlage (Schlage was West Germany’s easy listening. It’s slightly disconcerting watching this clip when you consider what was happening in the country just 15–20 years before):

Unlike 60s UK and US rockers, the likes of Amon Düül II, Faust and Cluster never slipped into easy, lucrative retirement. Rather wonderfully, they continue to make radical, obscure and experimental music to this day, in all sorts of collaborations and forms.

Cluster are a stranger Kraftwerk. If you haven’t heard them, start with Zuckerzeit and then try Sowiesoso. You’ll never look back.