Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: Bureau B
Genre(s): Electronic, Jazz, Electronica, Pop/Rock
Odd as it may seem for a guitar-toting wordsmith to release a collaborative album of electronica in which he never opens his mouth or so much as brushes past a guitar, Lloyd Cole actually has a bit of form in this respect. The Jimmy Carr of book-smart bedsitterdom released the electronic instrumental album Plastic Wood in 2001, and this came to the attention of Cluster co-founder Hans- Joachim Roedelius. In due course, a collaboration was mooted, which has taken a decade-and-a-bit to bear fruit.
Lloyd Cole has always considered himself a serious musician and he wants you to recognise this: he is much more than a decent singer-songwriter. When he wrote Rattlesnakes, he didn’t just write pop songs, he infused them with high-brow literary references to Simone de Beauvoir and Norman Mailer. In 1991’s Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe, he graduated to sweeping orchestras of Burt Bacharach proportions well before indie bands grasped the concept; 2001’s Plastic Wood saw a profound departure from singer-songwriter to ambient instrumentalist, while 2010’s Broken Record saw him embrace the sounds of alt-country.
Pitchfork's Brian Howe provided a useful overview of Hans-Joachim Roedelius in his review of Qluster's Lauschen, noting how prolific the krautrock elder statesman has been in his career. The paint has barely dried on Lauschen, but another full-length album from Roedelius has already surfaced, this time in the form of a collaboration with bookish singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole. Initially it feels like an absurd pairing, with little common ground to be found between Cole's snappy, literate guitar rock and his new partner's fondness for expansive electronic introspection.
On paper, the pairing of Lloyd Cole and Hans-Joachim Roedelius might strike one as, well, odd. Cole, of course, is a British singer-songwriter best known for his ‘80s output with his band the Commotions, and his subsequent work as a solo performer. Roedelius, on the other hand, is a noted ‘70s krautrock superstar who had tenure in the bands Cluster and Harmonia, not to speak of the fact that he collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno and has released a raft of ambient and new age recordings.