R.I.P. Yeti

We lost a vital member of the Was Ist Dad? family yesterday, our dog Yeti. His main contribution was wandering into the frame during my video reviews with an almost knowing approach to mise-en-scene, bringing a little life and humility to counteract my music rambles. He also sat next to me while I DJ’d a couple of times. You can also see him on the poster for the Tor Ist Das! Festival. A celebrity on the Hebden Bridge pub scene, he will be sorely missed.

R.I.P. Dieter Moebius

Sorry to learn that Dieter Moebius passed away this morning.

Moebius was first in the band Kluster with Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler. Their recordings in this era were unusually harsh, almost industrial. Then Moebius/Roedelius broke away from Schnitzler and began recording as Cluster with producer Conny Plank. This era saw them embrace a sound more in tune with the German scene of that era and they made records just as challenging, timeless and innovative as Kluster but with softer edges.

A collaboration with Michael Rother of Neu! lead to three piece supergroup Harmonia whose two studio albums are held up as absolute classics of the era and drew in Brian Eno as a collaborator both with Harmonia and Cluster.

Moebius leaves behind a vast body of work and many more classic collaborations such as his albums “Material” and “Rastakraut Pasta” made with Conny Plank. I had the pleasure of meeting him once when he played Hebden Bridge back in 2006 and I was DJing. He seemed sweet, unassuming and charming. He also gave me a couple of bottles of beer from his rider which guarantees my eternal thanks.

This October German label Groenland are releasing a deluxe Harmonia box set with both studio albums, the Brian Eno collaboration, their live album and some unreleased material. Although Moebius may have sadly left us, his music shows no signs of going away and continues to fascinate and inspire. Our commiserations to all who knew him well.

R.I.P. Joe Yamanaka

Less than 24 hours after writing an obituary for Conrad Schnitzler and here I am having to write that Joe Yamanaka has passed away today.

Joe will be best known to our readers as singer from classic Japanese heavy psychedelic rock band Flower Travellin Band. Emerging from the ashes of previous band The Flowers, the bands debut album “Anywhere” features the iconic image of the band nude on motorcycles, later used as the cover for Julian Cope’s Japrock sampler. Their second album, “Sartori” came joint first in Cope’s Top 50 from the book.

However, Joe had other sides to his career. He was friends with Bob Marley and replaced him as singer in The Wailers for five years. He had a very successful solo career in the far east and also acted in films, including working with director Takashi Miike. He reformed Flower Travellin Band in 2007 and released their fifth album “We Are Here” in 2008 but then Joe’s diagnosis with lung cancer halted further activities.

Conrad Schnitzler R.I.P.

Electronic pioneer Conrad Schnitzler has passed away from stomach cancer on August 4th.

Scnitzler was an early member of Tangerine Dream. He playedg on the band’s avant rock debut album “Electronic Meditation”, released through Ohr in 1970. However, he is perhaps best known for his work in Kluster. When Roedelius & Moebius departed to work under the name Cluster, Scnitzler concentrated instead on his Eruption project before going solo.

All three of these acts came out of the Zodiak Free Arts Lab in Berlin, which Scnitzler co-founder with Hans-Joachim Roedelius. Scnitzler and Roedelius reunited in 2000 to record the album “Acon 2000/1” for Japanese label Captain Trip. Schnitzler revived the Kluster name in 2007 and released both new music and archive material via such labels as Important and Qbico.

A random fact about Schnitzler is that he contributed the introductory track to “Deathcrush”, the debut release from Norweigan black metal legends Mayhem.

Ira Cohen R.I.P.

The film-maker Ira Cohen has passed away, as confirmed by his website.

Although also a photographer and a poet, Cohen is best remembered for his short psychedelic, avant garde film “The Invasion of Thunder Bolt Pagoda”. The film was released on DVD by Arthur Magazine with the option of viewing the film with the original psychedelic drone soundtrack by Angus Maclaise or with new soundtracks recorded by Acid Mothers Temple SWR and also by Sunburned Hand of the Man

R.I.P. Peter Christopherson

The sad news has reached us this morning that Peter Christopherson has passed away in his sleep at the age of 55.

Peter, better known as Sleazy, was a musician (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Coil & Threshold House Boys Choir), a designer (for legendary album designers Hipgnosis, of whom he was made a partner) and video director (for everyone from Paul McCartney to Sepultura, Van Halen to Rage Against The Machine).

Our thoughts go out to all who knew him.

Below is the video for Coil’s Tainted Love which he directed and is on permanent display in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

coil – tainted love from biobox on Vimeo.