1 / Automatic / 5:18
2 / Don’t Point The Bone / 4:48
3 / Drum! / 2:39
4 / Echaos / 3:27
5 / Muffler A / 4:44
6 / Pick The Rubber / 4:05
7 / The Truth? / 3:33
8 / Prehistoric / 4:38
9 / Die Wirren / 3:28
10 / Muffler B / 2:40
11 / Don’t Point The Bone / 5:10
12 / Automatic / 4:23
13 / Prehistoric / 5:40

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„En Route“ was created in 1986, when the era of analogue synths and rhythm machines seemed to be drawing to a close. Drum computers, samplers and digital instruments such as the Synclavier and Fairlight CMS would shape the immediate future of electronic music. Naturally, these wonderful machines formed a part of Plank’s arsenal and were used extensively by him and Moebius. The duo explored the new devices with their inimitable, cheerful sense of abandon, but were wise enough not to rely on them entirely. Analogue instruments resurface time and again, such as trumpet (!), guitar and other sonic sources which are less easy to identify. Nor had Moebius packed his analogue synthesizers away in mothballs.

Rhythmic throughout, the music is wholly free of the darkness which characterized the fashionable industrial or new wave scenes of the period. A tendency to descend into enraptured sonic abstraction is similarly absent. The pieces almost sound as if they are the product of real-time improvisation – airy and self-evident, ballast-free of and without unnecessary embellishment. Moebius and Plank must have had so much fun during the recording sessions! „En Route“ is hip electronic music, yet it steers well clear of the mainstream. The fact that three tracks were remixed for a commission by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) did nothing to change that. Stewart was planning a film project (which never came to fruition) and hired producer Manu Guiot, who reshaped the tracks together with Dieter Moebius shortly before release in Conny’s studio.

Moebius and Plank were en route, “on the way” so to speak. A damned fine way at that. Sadly, “En Route” was to be the last in a sequence of five albums they recorded and released together. Conceived in 1983, “Ludwig’s Law” was the fourth album in chronological terms but only appeared in 1998, three years after “En Route”. Debilitated by severe illness, Plank was no longer able to mix the recordings himself. His studio colleague Bruno Gebhard took on the task, together with Moebius. Shortly afterwards, in 1987, Conny Plank died. The common path of the two friends was now at an end. But “En Route” was certainly not intended to mark the conclusion of their lengthy collaboration. For how much of the future, how much optimism were implicit in the certitude of being en route?

Asmus Tietchens / bureau b

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