Begegnungen is another welcome krautrock reissue from Water, this time a compilation of tracks recorded from 1976-84 by the four titular musicians playing solo or in various configurations.
It opens with the shimmering, deeply nostalgic tones of Roedelius’ ‘Johanneslust’. There is an almost music-box, ‘lost childhood’ feeling to this beautiful piece which builds layer upon layer of keyboard melodies. Conny Plank’s production brings real space and clarity to what in lesser hands could have become cluttered and indistinct. ‘The Belldog’ (from Cluster & Eno’s After the Heat) is the only track on the album with vocals, with Eno singing a mysterious poem of a worker’s strange nocturnal epiphany in a forest; the sequenced synth parts perfectly evoking the huge implacable machinery alluded to in the lyrics. In stark contrast with this grandiose piece is ‘Nervos’, Moebius’ minimal, playful slice of proto-electronica, which sounds rather like a precocious child attempting to play dub armed with only a cheap synth and an analogue echo unit.
Four other tracks round out the album, which is an excellent introduction to the the seminal work of these German electronic pioneers (yes, I’m counting Eno as an honorary German here!). The package also includes new sleevenotes by Roedelius’ biographer Stephen Iliffe.