By 1987, Michael Rother
's music had come a long way from the chaotic, electronic rock & roll of Neu!
, but it is easily identifiable as his nonetheless. Rother
created his own brand of ambient and trance musics that were, for lack of any other possible term, spherical in their construction and execution. Rother
understood that meditative music that touches the body as well as the mind must indeed begin somewhere and return to some approximation of that same place, even if it is much further down the sonic road. His elliptical synth lines and precise, mantra-like guitar riffs are all about drift and return, in pattern and prosaic elocution. Like all of his recordings since Katzenmusick
plays everything here himself. The disc opens with the seven-minute ambient track "Südseewellen," stitched together with an intricate weave of subtle and warm keyboard lines against a minimal percussion backdrop. The drift is interrupted on "Reiselust," however, as shifting guitars and deep tom-toms careen across the center of a mix that is open and spacious, kissed with keyboard lines at top and bottom. While the entire album feels like a swim in an ornate sonic ocean and the tracks segue together (figuratively, not literally) better than on any of his other recordings, the guitar ballad "Gloria" has to be singled out for praise. Here, as Rother
's stinging lines state a slow, deliberate melody, buoyed up by an organ as in a church service, a different set of sonic dynamics comes through, as the guitars become distorted and are layered on top of one another, upping the organ frame in the process. By the track's end it is a transcendent song of freedom and tempered, reverent joy created in the way that only a rock & roll guitarist can: with stinging, pronounced notes and controlled feedback. There are four bonus tracks from 1994 tacked onto the end of the CD, making this is a stellar choice for Rother
fans and a great introductory package for those unfamiliar with his solo music. Most notable is 1993's "Trance-Atlantik" for its gradually unfolding theme and found sound textures.