This tragic irony is at the core of Riechmann's story, a little-known one that may attain cult status thanks to Wunderbar's reissue 31 years later.
Riechmann the solo artist deserves a cult following for Wunderbar's title track alone, a stately and slightly mischievous instrumental track for a movie never made. Somewhere between Ennio Morricone's whistling spaghetti western rallying calls and Joe Meek's merry and slightly maniacal anthems for satellites and new worlds of the imagination, "Wunderbar" gallops and lopes, and then floats better yet, drifts into orbit. It is glacial, yet seductive.
Listening to Riechmann's sole solo effort, it's impossible not to ponder what might have been. If his suave corpse pallor seems to arrive in the wake of Kraftwerk's automaton image, right down to similarly slicked-back hair, it also prefigures Gary Numan's android routine. A peer of Michael Rother's, Riechmann possessed Rother's gift for instrumental grace. A series of green glowing transmissions from an alien planet, alternately alluring and slightly sinister, Wunderbar calls to mind Rother's Fernwarme (Water, 1982) except it arrived four years earlier.
Who was Wolfgang Riechmann, and what exactly happened to him one fatal night? These questions lurk behind the photo of Riechmann's painted face on Wunderbar's cover, with a dearth of text providing any solid answers. Perhaps we'll know more as the album's reputation is revived, and canny journalists ask the likes of Rother about a one-time peer. Lords of drift and discovery float in from the past and float out toward the future. (Huston)
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