All tracks composed, performed, produced and mixed by JOHANNES SCHMOELLING at Riet-Studio, Berlin 1986.
- Matjora is still alive [4:56]
- Zeit (For Stephan) [6:34]
- Kneeplay No.9 [3:58]
- Walking on wooden legs [3:52]
- Wuivend riet Part I [6:18]
- Wuivend riet Part II [12:48]
Johannes Schmoelling - keyboards, computer programming and electronic percussion.
Hans Bosch - voice.
People might be inclined to categorize Wuivend Riet, Johannes Schmoelling's first solo project, as electronic music. In so far as this tag names the media employed, that is correct. Over and above this, however, such a characteristic of this music's individuality applies only out wardly, while basically concealing instead of stating something conclusive about it.
In actual fact, a major impulse of this music is that it strictly rejects the conventional, which in turn also means the convenience of electronic music. That in this instance Johannes Schmoelling should even use the most advanced technology is not necessarily a contradiction by any means. It rather indicates that he derives his musical creed precisely from the inner tension relationship. Wuivend Riet is an attempt to surmount the mere electronic element and to arrive at a different musically inspired attitude towards electronics and their possibilities.
In Johannes Schmoelling's case it is not a mass of machinery that dominates the scene, but solely the musical consideration, the shape. In place of the monochromes, slow-motion style (like, for instance, »sphere tone«, it has to a certain degree become the synonym for electronic boredom), a dynamic and occasionally even a dramatic impetus predominates. The tonal space begins to move, the tonal surfaces are in motion like adjustable walls - so that in the tonal sector too an impression arises as if faced by a stage set, apparently continually changing of its own volition, bringing forth from the ever constant the ever new.
The title track was originally composed as theatre music - for the play Opus ESP by Hans Bosch, which had its premiere 1985 in Amsterdam. The play's final scene shows human figures hanging on super-dimensional, super-human sized reeds - people swaying to and fro among the reeds. To this stage backdrop, Wuivend Riet tells of nothing but the rhythm of time, the passing of the hour, the mood of the light. Of now a day runs its course. The simplest of all the most mysterious stories ever told.
Wuivend Riet - Parts I and II - is programme music. Far more strongly than in the other, the »more easily assimilated« pieces of this record, the natural sounds are here an integral component of the composition. At the same time it is not a matter of using a nature quotation to awaken the illusion of idyll, but exclusively in the musical structure of the natural sound, in the question of how it can be combined with the electronically created tone picture and even the formative element.
The answer is the endeavor to combine that which in reality strangely and irreconcilably confronts itself as second nature, as music.
This keyboardist was a member of Germany's electronic pioneers Tangerine Dream in the early-'80s.
"Wuivend Riet" is Johannes Schmoelling's first and, overall, best solo album. Still, this record neither is as melodic as "Exit" or "Optical race" nor as consistent as "Phaedra" or "Tangram".
The first four tracks are lofty compositions with ethereal synth waves, piano-driven melodies, and slow-motion rhythms. "Zeit" with its tension-filled atmosphere and relentlessly ticking clocks is the only track reminiscent of TD.
"Wuivend Riet part 1" is a funny soundscape with samples frogs and other natural sounds.
"Part 2" is an interesting, droning nightmare, but uncomfortable and hardly accessible.
All in all, a surprisingly diverse album which transcends the borders of conventional synth-based music. For advanced listeners.
XS / Germany
Tracks 5-6 were originally composed as theatre music for the play "Opus ESP" by Hans Bosch, premiered in 1985 in Amsterdam.
Johannes Schmoelling's 1st solo outing after his departure from Tangerine Dream in 1986 remains for me his finest work to date. The title of the album comes from the Dutch 'Wind Blown Reeds' and when it was originally released in 1987 it confirmed the magnitude of Tangerine Dream's loss. In truth only side 1 (the first 4 tracks) of the (then vinyl) album has seen consistent wear on my turn-table, but I've heard other's proclaim side 2 as a landmark so there are depths to be charted right through this album.
Schmoelling has the ability to produce infectious melody from very simple themes, and there is no better demonstration of this than on the opener "Matjora Is Still Alive". This track is perhaps the best piano/synth composition ever to grace an EM album. Strong words yes, but there are not many who have heard this track that will disagree. It is spell bindingly beautiful and the over-used phrase 'worth it for this one track' was never more apt.
"Zeit (For Stephan)" opens with strange vocal treatments then builds and surges into a synthesised wall of infectious motifs which still send shivers to this day. The piano virtuosity of "Kneeplay Nș 9" takes some getting into but when it clicks there's no looking back. "Walking On Wooden Legs" features sequences and is the most TD-like offering, and graced with Schmoelling's wonderful synth leads it's another winner. If by some weird quirk of fate this album has passed you by, don't waste another moment.
This album is his most Tangerine Dream-like, but it has its very own amazing qualities.
Dante Gambino Vilarrubias