Clara Mondshine – Luna Africana (Fifth Dimension, August 2015)

There’s s much male Kraut-Kosmische around, your heart will probably jump at the thought of a woman dirtying her hands with the cosmos. Alas Clara ain’t a woman, but this is still very much worth listening to. And maybe there was something behind that choice of pseudonym for late radio director, journalist, and composer Walter Bachauer: perhaps it indicated a different way. In between founding the Berlin Meta Musik Festival, working with Philip Glass and recording a wealth of Buddhist music, Bachauer made three records as Clara, the first two with Klaus Schulze. All of them are glassy, piercing, clever – and this one, described by its maker as ‘ethnoelectronics’, is by far the finest and darkest.

Opening on a concentrated, nocturama-tropicana piece with a tribal but thin beat and an almost samba synthline, Luna Africana works its way through to a a closing that sounds like Florian Schneider and Ralf Hütter in a damp, heavily scented, emerald green Amazonian forest. “Lange Melodie Für Den Countdown” is a dense ambient piece of luminous drones (better at 33RPM), and the gorgeous “Fischer Des Meeres Der Stille” is what I can only describe as some sort of stellar analogue folk (better at 45RPM): twinkling silvery synths shiver, hesitate, and then combine into a melody which electrifies a Renaissance dance. “Landung Bei Vollmond” is an elegant motorik piece that opens up onto the most mesmerising suite, “Raga Des Aufgehenden Planeten”. The record is an exuberant and tasteful distortion of the Kosmische canon, in which the panorama changes at every new crater.

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