(FMP)

We’re in the middle of the seventies, punk and new wave thoroughly dominate the music world. Heiner Goebbels and Alfred Harth couldn’t care less, though; their own time capsule contains the germs of true evolution and such a process cannot occur without an accurate study of the past. “Hommage” is just that: a tribute to Hanns Eisler through heartfelt versions of some of his songs and pieces, plus duo compositions that graciously nod to the great German artist. The album was recorded live in Berlin but luckily the audience is completely mixed out; we can thus enjoy robust doses of bloody virtuosity balanced by the peculiar mixture of modern and retro typical of Goebbels and Harth, a distinct trait that can be counted among the basic influences of many groups belonging to the Rock In Opposition area. “Vom Sprengen des Gartens” came out in 1979 and, from this receiver’s spiritual point of observation, is a little more complex. In it, the two companions find many ways of exploring profound emotions with a preference towards an introspective melancholy, like in the intensely pensive “Almelo” on side B. Eisler is still revered, but there’s also some Bach, Schumann and a gorgeous rendition of Rameau’s “Le rappel des oiseaux”. Both albums constitute a fulgid example of how respectfully music, whatever the genre, should always be treated. The enormous multi-instrumentalist abilities of both men (Goebbels a fantastic pianist and accordionist doubling on reeds, Harth a monster sax and clarinet player) are never used as an excuse for meaningless boring exercises. Offering coherent richness of expressive means and abundance of stirring playing, these two FMP releases should be regarded as milestones, while instead are criminally overlooked. Here’s my hope of a fully detailed reissue of Goebbels and Harth’s opera omnia – no compilations, please, we want them all and COMPLETE. Meanwhile, spend some eBay dollar on these two; I’ll be returning soon to talk about the rest of this pair’s production.

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