Tag: Mood Taeg

A Short Conversation with MOOD TAEG

MOOD TAEG are the enigmatic multi-continental / multi-cultural kosmische trio with TDK and K’ko based in Düsseldorf while Lowell Freeman resides in Shanghai.

With two remotely constructed albums ‘Exophora’ and ‘Anaphora’ released on Happy Robots Records to their name, MOOD TAEG are unsurprisingly influenced by NEU! and HARMONIA; from their debut long player, ‘2MR’ was a tribute to Michael Rother.

Their next release journeys down the well-trodden German Road of variations on a theme as KRAFTWERK did with ‘Kometenmelodie’ and NEU! offshoot LA DÜSSELDORF did with ‘Menschen’. Doing as the title suggests, ‘Anaphora Versions’ features in-house and external re-imaginings of tracks from the second MOOD TAEG album.

While the Electric Boogaloo version of ‘Pilomotor Reflex’ sees Lowell Freeman dust off a vintage Roland TR-808 in a homage to Morgan Khan’s pioneering ‘Street Sounds Electro’ compilations of yesteryear, first out of the gate is a DanKe version of ‘Happiness Fragment’ with the ‘Anaphora’ closer now shaped into a comparatively poppier template.

From Germany and China, TDK and Lowell Freeman respectively came together for a quick chat with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about their Dundeedorf ethos and five decades of NEU!

What was the idea behind ‘Happiness Fragment’, were there any particular influences behind its concept?

TDK: I’m not sure there was a concept as such but seeing as we don’t have conventional songs with lyrics, we often like to include spoken word samples that reflect our political or social views.

I remember reading Guy DeBord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’ at university and it seemed to provide a good contrast to the more upbeat, even poppier, reworked version, along with feeling very apt in the social media saturated world we currently live in.

I included the Jimmy Reid (a famous Scottish trade unionist) sample for a couple of reasons. One was that it made a Scottish connection. The other reason was that it referenced a time when political discourse and political education among the working class was the norm and serious political discourse could be seen on mainstream media instead of the media-trained ghouls that exist today.

Lowell: One important concept for me was to try to progress from the first LP in ways that still follow that repetitiveness that we love from bands such as HARMONIA, but also make the tracks subtly evolve and never stay with one element for too long. ‘Happiness Fragment’ is probably the best example of that on ‘Anaphora’. I was also conscious of going for a more upbeat feel, at least in terms of sound. The LP track is also a clear nod to ‘Computerwelt’ in the last section with the pad sounds, chords and voice collage.

This neu DanKe version of ‘Happiness Fragment’ has been reworked to be more accessible?

TDK: As the DanKe suffix suggests, this was reworked by K’ko and myself and it was an attempt to take the longer album version and turn it into a track that would work well in a gig situation, especially considering that as a live band we only have two members compared to the three of the recording band.

Lowell: This DanKE version is mostly a Düsseldorf production, whereas the original has more of a Shanghai sound, so for me it feels fresh and is my favourite track on this ‘Versions’ CD. The added Jimmy Reid spoken word element is important to us and is also rather timely considering what’s happening in the UK with the rail workers and the treatment of all workers really. It will be no surprise to anyone who has heard our stuff that we are 100% behind Trade Unionism and workers having more say in their workplaces.

It’s NEU! 50, so will you be celebrating by going to any of the gigs? If you could choose a track to rework as MOOD TAEG, what would it be?

TDK: As far as we know, the only gig in Germany so far seems to be in Berlin but certainly, if they came to Düsseldorf, we would be there. In terms of choosing a track to rework, some people may say that we already did that with ‘2MR’ which bears more than a passing resemblance to ‘Hallogallo’ (haha!) I guess we would probably choose ‘Isi’ from ‘Neu! 75’ – it’s a very concise distillation of all the great NEU! elements and one of the great album openers.

Lowell: Yeah, anyone who’s listened to our first LP ‘Exophora’ knows ‘2MR’ pays homage to ‘Hallogallo’ so I think we’ve got a rework covered. If I was to do a track live, then yeah ‘Isi’ on ‘Neu! 75’ is a nice wee upbeat number.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its cosmic thanks to MOOD TAEG

The DanKe version of ‘Happiness Fragment’ is available on the usual online platforms from 8th July 2022

‘Anaphora Versions’ is released by Happy Robots Records as in CD and digital formats on 22nd July 2022, available along with the MOOD TAEG back catalogue from https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/product-page/mood-taeg-anaphora-versions-bot28-cd





Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
5th July 2022

RODNEY CROMWELL + MOOD TAEG Live at The Hope & Anchor

With Alice Hubble on DJ duties, the Hope & Anchor in Islington was the location for a Happy Robots Records family gathering that hosted the live return of label CEO Adam Cresswell in his Theatername of Rodney Cromwell and the debut gig of MOOD TAEG.

With his second Rodney Cromwell entitled ‘Memory Box’ now in the can and set to be unleased in Spring 2022, Cresswell and his band were keen to road test its contents in front of a receptive audience.

But for MOOD TAEG, it was a step into the unknown. The project comprising the enigmatic Düsseldorf pair of TDK and K’ko plus the absent Shanghai-based Lowell Freeman had never been conceived for live performance, but acclaim for the debut long player ‘Exophora’ and interest in its newly released follow-up ‘Anaphora’ has sparked demand.

However, nerves were undoubtedly kicking in, but after a few technical glitches were resolved, MOOD TAEG finally got the motorik on the move with ‘Deictics’ from ‘Exophora’ recalling the cosmic adventures of yore with a mind bending effect.

From ‘Anaphora’, ‘Happiness Fragment’ developed on its rhythmic groove with a pentatonic synthbass mantra although there were a few iffy moments on TDK’s borrowed guitar as it pierced the speakers on occasion. But for the HARMONIA inspired ‘Ohrwurm’, there was a move away from Apache beats with K’ko augmenting on violin.

Ending with an appropriate musical homage to Michael Rother, ‘2MR’ offered 10 minutes of Motorik Durch Technik as they say in Düsseldorf in the vein of NEU!

Understandably since last performing 2 years ago, Rodney Cromwell was a bit stage rusty with a few leads left unplugged, but tonight was about embracing the fear and exorcising the ‘Age Of Anxiety’. Cresswell took some joy in reminding the almost full venue that when JOY DIVISION played the Hope & Anchor in December 1978, only three people turned up!

Recalling ‘Tanzmusik’ from ‘KRAFTWERK’s ‘Ralf & Florian’ album, ‘Cloud Catalogue’ from ‘Memory Box’ opened the set. While this delightful instrumental was quite cheery, the new album looks at the social and political tribulations of the past few years. Intended as a soundtrack to a sadly post truth world, it is very different to the melancholic but upbeat synthpop sensibility of ‘Age Of Anxiety’.

In a month that has ironically seen some of those who have been moaning about fake news on mainstream media also celebrating the 40th Anniversary of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Speak & Spell’ album on the incorrect date of 5th October, the ‘Memory Box’ title song’s release as a single has been timely.

The hazy but appealing metronomic number reflects in Cresswell’s own words on “how do we believe anything in a world where truth and honesty are of so little worth?”.

There was a comparatively lighter moment with the pulsating fan favourite ‘Black Dog’ given the harmonics treatment by guitarist Richard Salt, but the grim moods of ‘Fluctuations’ were made more haunting by the spacey keyboard swirls of Martin J Langthorne.

But Cresswell brought his Stylophone, along with his best Bernard Sumner impression for the premiere of ‘Opus Three’, Rodney Cromwell’s very own ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ if ever there was one, although the tribute perhaps isn’t quite as blatant as NATION OF LANGUAGE’s ‘On Division Street’! To finish the main part of the set, Rodney Cromwell and his band of not-so-merry men formed a melodica orchestra for the sombre wordless newbie ‘Calculations’.

Remaining on stage, Cresswell shouted “Do you want an encore?” to acknowledge the pretence of that accepted walk off practice. As he got into this spirit of showmanship with some Citizen Smith cosplay, appropriately it was ‘Barry Was An Arms Dealer’ that was the oldie that got dusted off while the more recent vocodered ‘Comrades’ concluded the evening. While at times, both acts appeared a bit shaky and lost with long pauses between songs like on NEW ORDER’s ‘Taras Shevchenko’ live video, everyone including the audience just appeared to be happy be out mingling again.

Music was what got many through the last 18 months and as times are still uncertain, music in its live variant will help to get everyone through the next year and a half.

The new Rodney Cromwell album ‘Memory Box’ is released by Happy Robots Records on 18th March 2022, the single of the same name is available now as a download from https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/





MOOD TAEG’s ‘Anaphora’ is released by Happy Robots Records in vinyl LP and digital formats, available now direct from https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/product-page/mood-taeg-anaphora-12-coloured-lp-bot24





Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
30th October 2021

MOOD TAEG Exophora

MOOD TAEG are a detached combo split between Düsseldorf and Shanghai.

From the likes of CAN, CLUSTER, NEU! and HARMONIA to more recent exponents of the form like CAVERN OF ANTI-MATTER and IMMERSION, MOOD TAEG follow in the tradition of instrumental kosmische experimentation.

Just like those records of cosmic yore, their debut album ‘Exophora’ on Happy Robots Records comprises of five lengthy tracks exploring the rhythmic hypnotism of Apache beats, half speed guitar and expansive electronic soundscaping.

With a heart that is both analogue and metronomic, over the course of just under ten minutes, the mantic opening number ‘2MR’ pays respectful homage to ‘Hallo Gallo’ from the first NEU! album. Running at just six minutes, ‘Deictics’ adds a synthy rumble to proceedings with schizophrenic voices before a bass guitar run morphs in, adding to the mind bending trance laden effect.

The frantically motorik ‘Corpora’ comes closest to being a pop tune despite the gargoyle grumblings and glistens with a cristallo shine that has pulsing electronic keys acting as a melodic engine room as well as a rhythmic one.

‘Interrogative’ displays an affinity with HARMONIA using a offbeat and a psychedelic vibe, but ‘Mood Block’ changes tact with a delightful rhythm unit on a speedy Schaffel setting while Mellotron derived pipe passages add a blurry haze to the spacey cocoon of bleepy sound.

This music is not wholly avant garde, so if a blended cacophony of drifting textures and occasional melody over some tightly rigid rhythm construction appeals, then ‘Exophora’ will satisfy the ears and minds of many kosmische enthusiasts, sitting nicely not far from the most recent FUJIYA & MIYAGI.

‘Exophora’ is released by Happy Robots Records on 22nd May 2020 in vinyl LP and digital formats, available from https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/exophora




Text by Chi Ming Lai
19th May 2020