Hans Joachim Roedelius has been a steady presence in the electronic arts since his duo, Cluster, produced “Cluster and Eno,” the 1977 album that brought producer-performer Brian Eno into the ambient fold before his acclaimed solo projects such as “Music for Airports.” After 30 years of performing and 80 albums to his credit, Roedelius, at the age of 65, is on his first solo tour, performing quaint piano works and dabbling in atmospheric sound portraits.
Roedelius and Roger Eno (Brian’s brother) each performed for 40 minutes and the two gave distinctly different impressions of what it means to be a performer-composer in this arty camp at the close of the millennium.
Roedelius, on four songs of varying lengths, has a fully linear style that goes against the grain of repetition that many younger electronic artists favor. What he shares with contemporaries such as the Orb is an ability to be open-ended and evoke a collection of emotions by shading a work toward extremes; in his first piece, for example, he slowed to a deliberate cascade of four or five notes at a time before shifting to a rolling and eerie passage that gave way to sounds of sheer terror. All it needed was a silent film to accompany.
Roger Eno, on the other hand, shows more of a virtuoso hand as he executes soft melodies with new age flourishes. His version of a habanera was quite watered down and on his finale he echoed a portion of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” yet beyond that his music feels uncategorizable. It lacks the weight of Roedelius but it has a level of sophistication that can’t be dismissed.
Eno was joined by dance remixer Lol Hammond and a third musician, the two of whom provided drones, nature noises and spaceship sounds to his soothing electric piano. It didn’t live up to the adventurous stroll through a castle soundscape that Roedelius had created earlier. His knob-twirling tune had enough variations to hold the interest, from a key dropping to an electric guitar to a house beat to very Cluster-like drones; his keyboard voicings reached back to the electronic vibraphone/piano sound Brian Eno used on side two of “Before and After Science,” which left the music hanging in a gently soothing and blissful state.
Weekend’s program was the conclusion of a seven-city tour to promote the Roger Eno-Hammond project “Damage” and Roedelius’ Global Trotters’ album “Drive.”
Roedelius will continue to tour as a solo act, visiting 25 cities and returning to LunaPark on Nov. 5 and 6.