Like his more prominent contemporary Brian Eno, Roedelius has been a hugely influential musical catalyst and a master collaborator. He founded Cluster with Conrad Schnitzler, later a member of Tangerine Dream, and Dieter Moebius. He later joined forces with Michael Rother of Neu! to form a supergroup and making Music from Harmonia in 1974. Cluster collaborated with Eno on two important ambient records.
Lunz is seemingly a work in continual progress. Story and Roedelius met in the mountains of Lunz, Austria, in 1983 but did not work together until 1999. Lunz Reinterpretations was a way of re-releasing Lunz as a double album. The tracks were reworked by artists including Faultline, Lloyd Cole, Adem and Elbow. In these disjointed times, it's refreshing to see these layers of collaboration and post-production actually performed in the one room at the same time.
Live, Lunz is at once compelling, eerie and serene. With all the layered tones of Debussy and Satie, Story, Roedelius and the violinist Stefan Steiner paint emotional spaces. The liquid sound shifts and lilts in descending semitones with cinematic poise. Not your usual ambient fare, these pieces are less soothing than questioning, teasing and mourning.
While the more euphoric sounds of Yamaha synthesiser strings seem quite cheesy, it is the real violin's drones and the piano's melodic refrains that make their haunting imprint. The highlight of the evening comes with Kevin Cormack of Half Cousin's reinterpretation of "Dew Climbs": chillingly beautiful.
Lunz and, especially, Lunz Reinterpretations transport ambient music far from its clichéd application as a relaxation soundtrack for stressed-out corporate types. With its circular patterns, curious harmonic shifts and contrasting atmospheres, Roedelius and Story's new music is not as far away from Cluster and Harmonia as you might think.