Moebius The Cobalt, Vancouver BC, August 22
Published Aug 23, 2013The legend of Dieter Moebius precedes him. A member of such groundbreaking and influential Krautrock and kosmische musik projects as Cluster and Harmonia, and collaborator with the likes of Brian Eno, Conny Plank, and Mani Neumeier, he has nothing left to prove.
This show itself was kind of an afterthought. Moebius and his wife were planning to check out the Rocky Mountains in an RV, so he figured he'd booked a show while he was in the area; it was his only performance in North America this summer.
Unfortunately, armed only with a Pioneer CDJ, Roland SP-404 sampler, and a Behringer mixer, rather than a series of patch-cabled modular monstrosities with which one would picture him, Moebius's set here wasn't all that mind-blowing. He mostly worked the sampler, dicing up odd sounds to ornament sluggish, industrial beats, which were likely played unaltered from the CDJ. The relentless beats would stay unchanged throughout, becoming more of a texture than the focus, like dance-drone.
It was a little clunky at times, certainly not what one expects after so many contemporary EDM shows, where the emphasis is on crisp beats and smooth transitions. His sampler tweaks would go a little off the rails here and there, and the pieces would end with him either stopping them cold or fading out the beat. Occasionally, certain sample sets would pique interest, particularly in more organic sounding, less bass-heavy sections near the end of his set, but it was hard to tell what exactly he was doing to make it all happen.
However, though the legend is closing in on his 70th birthday, the joy of music was clearly still in him. Moebius perpetually tapped his toe or popped his knee with the beat, working up to a subtle head wiggle when he was feeling it. He would glance up with a gentlemanly smile between songs, nodding graciously to the crowd before taking a swig from a Steam Whistle pilsner. He seemed genuine and humble, and the crowd adored him. He deserved, and received, respect.