Tim Story &
Hans Joachim Roedelius,
(Narada, 2003)

Neither Tim Story nor Hans Joachim Roedelius is a stranger to fans of new age music. Both have been creating music for a long time. Roedelius's fascination with electronic music dates back to the influential "Kraut rock" group Cluster, which flourished in the 1970s. Story has issued many recordings, going back to the early 1980s, that combine piano and electronic sounds. Lunz is a felicitous combination of compatible musicians.

Lunz is reminiscent of Brian Eno's landmark ambient album Music for Airports; "Clue," a languid rippling piece, is very similar to the serene first movement of Music for Airports. It's usually a put-down to call music repetitive, but when sounds this beautiful repeat, all you want them to do is to continue. On the other hand, the fadeout of "Carnickel and Pocketboat" seems to linger a little too long, which is an occupational hazard when one emphasizes repetition in one's music. Different listeners, of course, will have different levels of tolerance for this kind of thing.

Story and Roedelius are after more than mere prettiness, however. Some tracks summon images of a movie in the listener's mind. "Dew Climbs" made me think of a psychological thriller where a woman walks the streets of a foreign city, alone and in danger ... or is she just a little crazy and paranoid? There is the sensation of something being wrong, but not being able to tell quite what it is. In the same vein is "Wobbly Flu Twilight," which backs Story's steady piano with odd electronic noises, weird near-birdsongs and random orchestral chords. This is not new age music with which to relax and think pleasant thoughts. This is music that gnaws at you, demanding your attention and teasing your imagination.

Lunz is recommended to those who like ambient music to give them something to think about, not those who want it to lull them to sleep.

- Rambles
written by Jennifer Hanson
published 15 May 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.