Lunz (l-r) Tim Story and Hans-Joachim Roedelius

•• Lunz
•• Published: SoundsXP, September 2005
•• Original article:

Lunz are Hans-Joachim Roedelius, member of seminal experimental krautrockers, Cluster, and Ohio-based, Grammy award nominated composer, Tim Story. Both completely self-taught, they create rich, piano-led ambience that gently stirs and inspires with its warmth and melancholy edge. This year's 'Reinterpretations' saw their eponymously titled album re-released alongside remixes from artists as diverse as Adem, Elbow, Half Cousin, Lloyd Cole and Ulrich Schnauss and they have performed across Europe at a string of festivals this summer. SoundsXP caught up with them both across the continents to talk about inspiration, friendship and the intimate relationship between life and music.

SXP: How are you?

Joachim: I'm fine.

Tim: Same here, it's been a good summer.

SXP: How did you come to work together?

Joachim: It was our music that made us friends immediately from the beginning, but also how our families and friends understand and live their lives, so somehow it was "preprepared" that we had to collaborate one day.

Tim: I discovered Joachim's music - and that of his duo, Cluster - back in the 70's. As a friend of ours Russ Curry brilliantly put it, his music "was like some heavenly music except the primary instrument appeared to be a coffee percolator." So when I travelled to Europe in '83, I made a point to make a swing through Austria to meet Joachim. Since then, we've been great friends, and had often talked about doing a collaboration. In '96 Cluster came for their first US tour, and I spent some time with Joachim here. He came back several times over the next few years, and we did a concert together in Philadelphia. We started recording together during that time - first with the very improvisational, sound-collagey 'Persistence of Memory' and then with our latest 'Lunz', which I'm especially happy with.

SXP: How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?

Joachim: Nice, warm, rich, complex and simple at once, narrative, true, authentic.

Tim: I couldn't improve on that, but I might add a sprinkle of mystery, atmosphere, and idiosyncracy...

SXP: Who or what inspires you musically?

Joachim: Life itself.

Tim: Yes, I think we're both too old to be emulating any other composers at this point! But I think Joachim and I share a similar aesthetic, and more importantly, a similar outlook and appreciation of life and music...

SXP: It must be hard handing your work over to someone else to approach from their own perspective. Are you pleased with the results of the 'Reinterpretations' project and which remixes stand out most for you?

Joachim: Yes, I'm pleased, but my favorite track is almost every time another when I listen to the reinterpretations. (which I now can't do so very often, because of all my work / preoccupations, but...)

Tim: Stylistically, the results of the 'reinterpretations' couldn't be more varied, which I think is a real strength. I was especially happy that the label put no demands on the remixers, so they pretty much were able to take the tracks and run. Like Achim, my favorites change with time, but I like the aggressive Millenia Nova mix, the vocal takes by Adem and Half Cousin, and the heavy but atmospheric Arkham version of "Under Mars We Were".

SXP: Your music is highly emotive. What feeling do you hope to create within people when they listen to it?

Joachim: As I said before, my music grows in life itself and not in tradition, academic experience, therefore (I guess) this music's "life-ingredient" corresponds well with the experience of the open-minded listener. There is no purpose at all with which I would/could try to create a feeling in any listener. Almost every composition I did in my career is "unique", expresses a certain mood, is "a tone-photo of a certain life-situation"

Tim: I have a similar approach to music, trying to fill it with some of the 'honesty' of life as it really is, with both the light and the dark, the epic and the casual. But I never make 'programmatic' music, music that's intended to illustrate a certain place or time. I like to leave the music open-ended, to encourage the listener to inject his or her own experience into the 'mix'. Life is ambiguous, and I like music that has the power to transform itself depending on a listener's own experience. I like art that insinuates instead of shouts.

SXP: You've been busy performing live this summer, what has been your most memorable experience?

Joachim: Meeting up with the people in Albania who invited us for a concert in June in Tirana, and a visit to the beautiful southpart of Albania; an improvisation with two people / musicians with whom I'd never worked before, (coram publico during our little festival in Lunz, Austria in August). We improvised on some Lunzmaterial (piano-lines). But of course the Big-Chill concert in the UK, and the scenery/atmosphere around it which was very impressive as well.

Tim: I loved Albania as well, we met a lot of very special people, and performing on the 'lake stage' of Lunz is always lovely. I got in a little trout fishing in Austria, too, which was great fun in such beautiful surroundings. And the Big Chill had a very special vibe, both as performer and later, as audience.

SXP: What are your plans for the future?

Joachim: Doing what I'm doing all the time: working, taking care of projects, corresponding with people all over the globe. The next concert with Tim will happen in Pristina in Kosovo in November and I'm preparing myself for a lecture-tour in Hungary (University of Budapest) in October - a collaboration with scientists who work on the field of existence-analysis, psychology, psychiatry.

Tim: Joachim and I are beginning work on a new project, and I always look forward to performing with him - after Kosovo, we may play in Madrid in February. I've just finished a collaboration with composer Dwight Ashley called 'Standing and Falling', and am looking forward to beginning work on a new solo project as well.

Warm thanks to both Tim and Joachim for their time and energy.

- Ian Roullier, 09/2005

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