From his early work with the pioneering Krautrock band Cluster to his later solo recordings, Dieter Moebius remained one of the most innovative and prolific voices in contemporary electronic music, anticipating movements from ambient to techno years before the fact.
By day a student at Berlin's Akademie Grafik, Moebius was moonlighting as a cook at an area restaurant when in 1969 he was befriended by Conrad Schnitzler, a key figure in local avant-garde circles, and invited to join Kluster, a band Schnitzler was forming with fellow underground artist Hans Joachim Roedelius. The trio released their debut LP Klopfzeichen in 1970; in the wake of their third album, 1971's Kluster und Eruption, Schnitzler exited to pursue a solo career, and Moebius and Roedelius continued on as a duo, modifying the name to Cluster.
Working with famed producer Conrad Plank, Cluster began to move increasingly towards more structured soundscapes -- with 1974's Zuckerzeit, they even pursued an electronic pop sound similar in spirit to Kraftwerk. Moebius and Roedelius also teamed with Neu!'s Michael Rother in Harmonia, releasing a pair of much-acclaimed mid-'70s LPs which caught the attention of Brian Eno, who in response collaborated with the trio on a legendary session (released much later as Tracks and Traces) heralding a turn towards ambient textures (and influencing the sound of the 1976 Cluster album Sowiesoso). Roedelius and Moebius subsequently worked with Eno on 1977's Cluster and Eno and 1979's After the Heat as well; in the wake of 1981's Curiosum, however, they dissolved Cluster, with both pursuing solo endeavors.
Moebius' first subsequent effort was 1981's Material, a second collaboration with Plank (his proper solo debut, Rastakraut Pasta, had appeared two years earlier); together, they produced some of the most experimental recordings of their respective careers, creating harsh mutant soundscapes which over time gave way to the proto-ambient textures of 1986's En Route, their final work before Plank's untimely death. Concurrently Moebius also teamed with Gerd Beerbohm for 1982's Strange Music and 1983's Double Cut, both explorations of pure noise; meanwhile, with the solo album Tonspuren (also from 1983), Moebius clearly anticipated the emergence of techno. Apart from teaming with Karl Renziehausen in the duo Ersatz, during the early '90s he also reunited with Roedelius to revive Cluster. Collaborations with Mayo Thompson and Mani Neumeier followed, in addition to solo albums such as Blotch and Nurton.
Cluster reunited once again in 2007, resulting in live album Berlin 07 and studio effort Qua, before disbanding for good in 2010, with Roedelius eventually forming Qluster. Moebius released solo albums Kram and Ding, as well as a collaboration with Asmus Tietchens (Moebius + Tietchens). The latter was issued by Bureau B, who also re-released much of Moebius' back catalog, with and without Cluster. Snowghost Pieces, with Tim Story and Jon Leidecker (aka Wobbly), appeared in 2014, as did solo EP Nidemonex. Moebius died of cancer on July 20, 2015, at the age of 71. Following his death, many of his later works were reissued by Bureau B, and the label also released Musik für Metropolis and Familiar (with Story and Leidecker) in 2017. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi