Johann Kloos – Market Street
“It’s a stream of ugly people coming towards you…”
I first heard this song while I was photographing Hulme Hippodrome last November…
Johann Kloos was rehearsing in a room adjacent to the theatre and his music echoed through the magnificently decrepid old building as I wandered up and down winding stairways with my camera, trying not to lose my footing.
Several days later, I went to see him play at Gullivers on Oldham Street; I wasn’t disappointed by the music, but I thought his decision to perform alone without a band made it difficult for him to assume a commanding stage presence (although his projected images, illustrating each song, provided a visual distraction from this.)
The pre-recorded element of the music (which was everything bar the voice, guitar and some of the keyboards) gave his performance a slight karaoke feel which worked against his ability to impress the audience; the compositions are all his own, so his decision to pre-record some of the parts rather than pay someone else to play them live shouldn’t matter, but unfortunately this approach doesn’t conform to the expectations and assumptions of our live music culture…
Johann Kloos – Augers
None of this mattered when I heard the music for the first time echoing round Hulme Hippodrome: I heard a set of very distinctive songs, each stylistically very different from the last; the sound was sophisticated but the lyrics were down-to-earth, idiosyncratic and honest; the songs were unpredictable and intriguing, and when they had finished, I wanted to hear them again.
Johann Kloos describes himself as:
“…a composer based in Salford in the northwest of England.
I began making music in 1975 using homemade electronics and a cheap cassette recorder…
In the 1980s I.. formed the band Ha Ha Said the Car to perform my songs. After a year.. I joined Erick. We made 3 albums over seven years and split in 1993.
I released “Magic From The Attic” on Fragment Records in 1991. It was composed of 15 tracks recorded between 1984 and 1991.
I now play guitar and keyboards with the Sandells, a psychedelic “krautpunk” band based in Manchester.
Artists who get me going include Roxy Music, Sparks, Alice Cooper, Syd Barrett, Erik Satie, Charles Ives, Momus, and a lot of obscure stuff. I trawl second hand shops and car boots for interesting music, occasionally finding gems amongst all the usual MOR landfill.”
Johann Kloos is playing live, in his home city of Salford, on Friday February 24th 2012, at The Crescent pub.