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Obituary Electronic music pioneer Dieter Moebius dead

Moebius released his latest solo album Nidemonex in 2014.

(Seth Tisue, Flickr Commons)

Swiss-born electro-ambient music giant Dieter Moebius passed away on Monday at the age of 71. He was one of the pioneers of the 1960s German “Krautrock“ scene that incorporated synthesizers and other electronic instruments into rock music. 

Born in St Gallen in 1944, Moebius studied classical music as a child. His mother was a classical pianist. After a brief flirtation with jazz in the 1950s, he was drawn to rock music after listening to Chuck Berry and later the Velvet Underground. He left Switzerland to study art in Brussels and then relocated to Berlin. There he was influenced by political protests going on at the time as well as Berlin’s Underground Culture that included artist communes like the Zodiac Free Arts Lab. 

It was in Berlin that he ran into Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler at a bar in 1969 and founded the group Kluster (later renamed Cluster) and then soon relocated to West Germany. Cluster became one of the most recognised names of the so-called “Krautrock” music scene in 1960-70s Germany and is widely considered to be one of the “godfathers of electro-ambient music”. 

Moebius was exposed to a much wider audience when he teamed up with ambient music innovator Brian Eno in 1977 to produce the album Cluster & Eno.

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Cluster & Eno 1977

He also joined up with Neu! co-founder Michael Rother under the name Harmonia to produce two acclaimed albums. He continued to produce music as part of Cluster until 2010, releasing a total of 15 albums, but he also recorded several solo albums, such as his most recent effort, Nidemonex, that was released in 2014. The cause of his death is yet unknown.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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