Cluster – Cluster 71

50 years, eh? Astounding, ney unbelievable that this record is that old. When you listen to it, it still sounds like the future, whether you play it on a crackly old LP on a cheap system, the latest reissue (of course its got a 50th anniversary edition, numbered and limited on the ever reliable Bureau B) on a top end hi-fi or even if you just stream it over bluetooth, the thing still positively throbs and hums with a strange energy all of its own.

The 50th anniversary press release from Bureau B seems to poo-poo the idea of calling this music “cosmic” and while that might be a little bit of a cheap adjective, there’s still a very science fiction laboratory-grown feel to the album. The three nameless tracks being nothing short of symphonies of the strange. A wild, echoing abstraction but stripped of the industrial harshness that marked the previous collaboration as Kluster with Conrad Schnitzler.

In fact, if like most people, you worked your way back to it from the better known entries in their catalogue like “Zuckerzeit” or “Sowiesoso” its fair to say that it comes as quite a shock. My early listens were very perplexed by just how dense yet freeform it was. I struggled to reconcile it with what I had heard before. Like floating stoned around a giant machine of unknown origin.

One adjective you can always stick on Cluster with the C is “mellow” despite how alien the sounds on this one are, even to this today there’s nothing I can identify. And, yes, it would make a great soundtrack for a particular bold film set in space, so there!

Neu! – Neu! 2

front cover

This is one of my favourite album covers of all time. Which might seem strange at first but there is something audacious about it, a punk take on pop art that revels in its simplicity and minimalism. It was the inspiration for the original site design of this very website (long since discarded – it wasn’t very good). The music contained on here feels just as iconoclastic at times. Although it starts off with almost stereotypical Neu! with “Für Immer” (Forver). I say stereotypical because when you think of Neu! you think of this beat, that driving motorik sound with Rother’s utopian guitar licks over the top. Its eleven minutes of bright sunny day high speed adventures and there’s no shame in that.

“Spitzenqualität” begins with a squeal of guitar and then in come the stomping drums, sounding like they were recorded in a vast, empty church. There’s a little phased guitar feedback and strange subliminal sounds coming in and out of perceptibility. It fades out by slowing down into absolute entropy, seguing straight into “Gedenkminute (für A + K)”. All we have here is the sound of desolate wind and subtle hums like a distorted church bell. Given the title translates as a minutes silence for A + K it might be a eulogy for some lost friends.

They contrast that by kicking in with “Lila Engel”, probably my favourite ever Neu! song. It gets me every damn time with its death stomp drums, fuzzed-out droning guitars and Dinger’s ecstatically deranged vocal which sounds like some sort of wordless nursery rhyme sung by a wino during a religious vision. One of my friends once said it sounded ‘satanic’ and I can understand why he might find it intimidating but it is one of those songs that as a DJ it is a joy to play because every time I hear it on a big, loud P.A. system it makes my heart race, especially when it ebbs away and then comes back harder and more distorted.gatefold

Side two is one of the most daring and cheeky things ever released. The band had run out of money to pay for studio time so they had to find a way to fill side two. Well, they had released a single called “Super” which hadn’t sold very well so took that song and it’s b-side, “Neuschee” and fucked around with them. The first track on side two, “Neuschee 78” is literally the song being played at 78rpm instead of 45! It’s very obviously a song at the wrong speed. It even skips a couple of times. Then you get “Super 16” which as you would imagine is the song “Super” played at 16rpm instead of 45. This one is much more effective, sounding so sinister that it ended up being used in classic martial arts film “Master of the Flying Guillotine” and plays every time the villain of the title appears. Once you have seen that film, you will think of him every time you hear “Super 16”. This is why Quentin Tarantino used it in “Kill Bill Vol.1” .

After that, the original and unmolested version of “Neuschnee” (German for ‘fresh snow’ ) seems positively normal. It’s the old Neu! beat with some deep bassy sounds building up in pace for four minutes. “Cassetto” (the German word for cassette) is the sound of what might be “Hallogallo” from their first album being played in a dodgy cassette player which is chewing it up. Anyone of a certain age will remember that horror so it is interesting to be able to experience the sound without the associated feelings of panic and horror as you ran to the machine to save your music from destruction. It is another molestation that works, the distortion being quite hypnotic.
“Super 78” is another speed up but as its for quite a wild song, it is more fun than the previous speed up and can be enjoyed although it is very silly. “Hallo Excentrico!” would appear to be “Hallogallo” being played too slow on two different record players at once and the spinning of the decks being occasionally interfered with. It seems to have then been transferred to cassette and the cassette played back and interfered with. Its more nonsense but not actually alienating, it is still enjoyable in a mad and rowdy way.

The finale is the normal version of “Super” which is a great song and deserved to have been more successful. Dinger growling away while madly thrashing the drums and Rother getting quite heavy. It seems almost silly to call it ‘normal’ but that is only in comparison to the previous experiments, it is far from ordinary and a great climax to a timeless album.

back cover

Kraftwerk

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The first three Kraftwerk albums have never been reissued and never remastered for CD (at least officially). Because of this, they feel like a secret history of the band, a very different Kraftwerk to the band that cut those classic electropop albums. On these albums, they are more in tune with their krautrock peers and nowhere more so than on this, their self-titled debut album.

The line-up is just Ralf and Florian accompanied by a drummer. On side one Andreas Hohmann drums. By side two he has gone (jumped or pushed? We don’t know but his next move was to join Ralf & Florian’s former bandmates from The Organisation to form Ibliss) and future Neu! man Klaus Dinger sits behind the kit.
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There are two tracks on each side of the LP. Side one opens with the distinctive “Ruckzuck”. The track, with its catchy flute melodies, growly electronics and motoric drumming, was one they played on German TV with previous band The Organisation and it remained in their live sets right up to the Autobahn tour. The second track on side one, the much longer “Stratovarius” goes through some more abstract electronic passages but comes back to the rapid fire drumming and some chunky riffs which might be on a distorted organ but sound very much like some roughly treated electric guitar.
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Over to side two and the promise of some wildman Klaus Dinger drumming is delayed by the wild swirls of sound that open up “Megaherz”. It is total madness that gives way to peaceful organ drones and Florian whips out his flute again to blow gently along. Its almost pastoral stuff and worlds away from their futurist fantasies to come.

The killing blow arrives last, though, in the form of “Von Himmel Hoch”. To begin with, there is an extended opening of insane electronics sounding like the Radiophonic Workshop manipulating recordings of air raids. Its all a big tease, however, and eventually Dinger begins to hit his kit like he hates it and the drums and electronics build up in pace before exploding into a giant, monstrous electronic funk wig-out that still remains unsurpassed in music. Its now become a permanent fixture in my DJ sets when I play out with vinyl.
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If you like Kraftwerk’s well-known albums but don’t enjoy the classic krautrock sound then there is nothing for you to see here. However, any lover of quality experimental rock music or rowdy electronics really needs to hear this classic album.

Organisation – Tone Float

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Frankly, I’m not much of a Kraftwerk fan, so to me the Organisation record is more precious than any of the music Florian Schneider and Ralf Huetter recorded in the years following. “Tone Float” (recorded as a five-piece-band with Basil Hammoudi, Butch Hauf and Fred Monicks) was released by RCA in the UK in 1970 and according to online sources it wasn’t much of a hit, so the label decided to sack the band that disbanded soon after being dropped.

The music on “Tone Float” is pretty much the opposite to Kraftwerk’s aesthetics. There’s none of the modernist technophilia that defines Kraftwerk – so compared to its successor’s futuristic body of work “Tone Float” is much more identifiable to the period it was recorded in. Using the typical myriad of instruments (organ, bells, violin, congas, bongos, guitars, bass, maracas, tambourine, flute,… ) it’s a psychedelic jam-based music that sits somewhere between early instrumental Pink Floyd and an electrified version of Limbus 3. The overall feeling of “Tone Float” is mellow, relaxed and a bit ramshackle here and there.

I don’t know much about the background story of “Tone Float”, but it is one of the first albums Conny Plank recorded and the band itself sounds a bit like if everyone included in the process is searching for his own and unique way of individual musical expression while recording the whole thing. “Tone Float” consists of tentative improvised music – sometimes a bit out of focus, maybe, but the Organisation didn’t have the time to develop their musical language because they broke up after the release of their debut recording and therefore the musical search came to an abrupt end after its first steps had been documented on “Tone Float”.

Nowadays “Tone Float” is mostly overshadowed by its successor, but if you feel a bit uncomfy (like I do) with the cool/cold aesthetics of Kraftwerk in general, you may opt for Organisation instead and be rewarded with a warm and trippy “Tone Float” session.
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review by Holger Adam

Michael Rother – Flammende Herzen

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Deep warm guitar notes drift out of the speakers blissfully for a few moments, the guitar picks up a pace and then a gentle drum begins. It is almost the Neu! beat but in slow motion bliss.

This feels like the album Michael Rother wanted to make. Gone are the punk/beat tendencies of Klaus Dinger and Michael gets to truly spread his wings and make an absolutely blissful album of guitar meditations. There is something poetical about this album being released on Sky Records because sometimes when I gaze up at a big, wide sky, I hear the title track from this album playing in my mind.

Rother uses his guitar, synth and organ to create wide, sweeping melodies of uplifting joy and peace. Assisting him on the drums is Jaki Liebezeit who maintains a discrete presence, doing only what is necessary and only really sounding like Jaki on the last track “Zeni”.

The opening title track really is a beautiful, uplifting piece of music. It’s almost a half-way between the mellower areas of Neu and Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross”. The rest of side two is taken up with the airy joy of “Zylodrom”. This is ten minutes of euphoric swirling synths and guitar riffs, all utopian sci-fi optimism and anthemic melodies.

Side two starts with another ecstatic synth session, “Karussell”. It succeeds in bringing good vibes and guitar riffs. The second track “Feuerland” is a surprising shift into a more nocturnal sound after all the previous sunshine. Not that the actual music is dark as in “spooky” or “satanic” but more as in like a warm, night-time breeze through a futuristic city freeway.

It all ends with “Zeni” which has a nice, mellow bass riff and twinkling keyboard melodies. Jaki finally spreads his wings and lays out a nice, tribal beat like only he can whilst Rother makes poignant riffs over the top.

It’s the perfect waking up record, for knocking back the caffeine and examining the days new skies. Its not as radical a departure from Neu! as it sounds, the guitar playing and synths are unmistakably the same Michael Rother who played in Neu!

The record has been reissued a few times so should not give you too much trouble to track down the but there are a couple of CD versions from 1993 and 2000 which feature absolutely shocking remixes as bonus tracks! You should try to avoid them, unless you want to go running over to the CD player to save your ears.

Neu! – self titled debut

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There have been some oddly matched musical pairings in the history of rock but surely Neu! must rank highly among them. You have the laid-back, easy going guitar player Michael Rother paired with the frentic, wild, motor mouth drummer Klaus Dinger. This odd couple somehow found the perfect middle ground and the clashing personalities no doubt created the sparks that ignited the flames of creation. Neu! burned very brightly.

They originally met when they played together in a very short-lived line-up of Kraftwerk (one that never released any recordings, although previously Dinger could be heard drumming on side two of their debut album). Frustrated with how things were progressing with Kraftwerk, they broke away to work on their own studio sessions with the trusty Conny Plank at the controls.

The album opens with “Hallogallo” which establishes their unique sound. Much has been written about “the Neu! beat” and it is a style you find to this day in modern music. It’s a tight, fast, driving rhythm that lays down the ground work for both punk and minimalist dance music. “Motorik”, the German word for motor skill, became the English language music journalists term for that beat. I will concede, it is an aptly chosen word. Even as someone who cannot drive a car, listening to “Hallogallo” gives me a feeling of vehicular motion

Over this adrenalized beat, Michael Rother plays a futuristic, funky minimalist bit of wah-wah guitar. Uplifting, utopian keyboards accompany the sonic gallup. It still sounds like tomorrow even after all these years. Although this is their trademark sound and the first thing people think of when they think of Neu!, the rest of their debut album is completely different, utilising a lot of different styles and paces.

The album drops down a few gears with the some symbol rustling and gentle guitar abstractionism of “Sonderangebot”. It’s all dissonance and subtle dischord but it sneakily segues into “Weissensee” which is all mellow and gently ambling. Dingers’ drumming goes all slow and rolling while Rother conjures up hints of eastern music in his guitar playing. It’s a sublime end to the first side.

“Im Glück “ begins with the sound of lapping water and voices, possibly backtracked. The guitar sneaks in slowly alongside what sounds like a drone violin. They begin invoking voids, space and dawns while sounding completely organic and hands-on.

“Negativland” is the song so good it has a band named after it. It starts off with a strange cacophony of reverberating engine sounds that gives way to a slow, steady beat and a low, menacing bit of guitar twanging. It slinks along at this menacing pace before breaking down into an alarmed guitar sound and suddenly Dinger kicks in with a faster beat and Rother begins furiously roaring away with his guitar. You would have to have a serious injury to not move some part of your body in response to this classic time-change.

It all comes to a close with the gentle “Lieber Honig”. Warm and subtle synths meet a classic lullaby bit of guitar playing. Dinger does a bizarre, rasping , child-like vocal. He sounds like he is regressing back to his childhood but not in a traumatic way, more in a pleasant and wistful nostalgic way. You could almost call it a musical equivalent to “Cider With Rosie” or “Swann’s Way”. It makes an unexpected and unnervingly bonkers but pleasant ending to the album.

A warning point for any non-turntable owning krautlock lovers (if that is not an oxymoron), the Neu! albums were not officially released on CD until 2001 (Astralwerks in America, Groenland in Europe). Any earlier versions on other labels are dodgy bootlegs taken from the vinyl and will sound tits. I can, however, vouch for the 2001 remaster as having a sound quality pretty much comparable to the original vinyl.

Whatever your format, though, this is a landmark album from a classic duo.

Harmonia – Deluxe

Musically, for those that don’t know, this dates from 1975 and marked the meeting of musical hearts and minds that was the duo Moebius & Roedelius of Cluster alongside ex-Kraftwerk/Neu guitarist, Michael Rother on a second album that was so much more cohesive and powerful than the first. Leading on from the first album, Cluster’s ‘Zuckerzeit’, Rother’s first three solo albums and some of the more languid Neu tracks, this album is dominated by the stunning trio of long tracks that open the album. With extra rhythmic help from Guru Guru’s drummer Mani Neumeier on two of the tracks, these three tracks could have easily been of any of the first three Michael Rother albums, for it is that influence that predominates, the electronics and keys from the Cluster musicians, more forming the icing on the cake or the backdrop to some of THE most stunning and gorgeous, powerful and dynamic, laguid and cohesive, electric guitar work from Rother over the trademark metronomic Can-like rhythmic base, and nearly thirty minutes of pure bliss no matter how many times you play them.

A trio of four-five minute tracks ends the album with more of a ‘Zuckerzeit’ feel to them as the Cluster guys take centre stage with swirling organ, electronic drums, deep bass and lush strings on ‘Notre Dame’, a more La Dusseldorf sounding ‘Gollum’, and ending with the near six minutes of ‘Kekse’, a sedate closer with undulating electro-percussive beats, swirling electronics, slowly flowing melodies and the sound of birds over a coda of lush acoustic guitar. The latest remaster brings out everything that this album is – and makes it positively timeless in the process.

Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi

Guru Guru – Guru Guru

In many ways, the last of the classic quartet of albums from the seventies that made this band such a legend. There are a couple of three minute songs that serve as tasters for the album’s big three – starting off with the thirteen minute ‘Medley” and Genrich’s guitar work just sizzles as the rhythm section sound like they’re standing next to you.

The opening guitar led section is mind-blowing for all you Krautrock guitar freaks, then, at five minutes in, the band steam into this rock ‘n’ roll medley of ‘Something Else’, ‘Weekend’ and ‘Twenty Flight Rock’ as you are carried away of a searing set of “Kraut-rock ‘n’ roll”. Pure Guru mix of musical genius and humour in the same breath. The twelve mnute ‘Story Of Life’ is one of their trademark spacier tracks, opening with a jazzy section before cruising into this long sea of guitar-dominated, red-hot, cosmic guitar jamming, the band really sounding so spot on.

Finallly the album’s tour-de-force and future live favourite, ‘Der Elektrolurch’, nearly ten minutes of the essence of everything that made this band such a legend – starting sedate, moving into flowing languid, guitar-led jamming-style territory, before the mid-section that really messes with your head with its voice, throbbing bass, speaker-to-speaker guitar effects then that pause…before the band launch into the furnace finale with all guitars, drums and bass blazing. Truly a classic.
Reviewed by Andy Garibaldi

 

Cluster – Sowiesoso

What can I say about Sowiesoso that hasn’t already been said? Well, loads hopefully. Seeing as each person interprets and interacts with language differently when describing something they love it should be a different story every time, right? I’d like to think so anyway… Because I do love this record.
Sowiesoso comes to being in Clusters post-Harmonia and post-Eno period where 6 albums worth of material was recorded in 3 years (most of it released too). So how could they have anything left to give after Zuckerzeit, Musik Von Harmonia, Deluxe and a bonus batch of recording with Eno as both Cluster AND Harmonia? Well, they were clearly smart, as their legacy proves, and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if they had this material ready in some form when Eno arrived for his stay at Forst, the bands home and studio. But rather than ask him to attempt to augment these recordings, I get the sense that they knew where to go with this one and “anyway, let’s do something new with our new arrival.”
That said, though… You can sense those long evening shadows of Brian, cast over lots of Sowiesoso in a similar vein to Michael Rother’s influence on Zuckerzeit.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s an ambient album though, but it’s definitely Cluster’s gentlest and most pastoral long player. The 2 sides of the cover, showing Roedelius and Moebius languidly leaning against trees at Forst, petting a canine friend, give off a relaxed air and for the first time in their career they let their guard down and fully reveal themselves.
Moebius, the more sinister sonic-dervish bringer, giving off a whiff of occultism in his black suit and Roedelius, the wise man, totally comfortable with himself, angelic in white. The light and dark matter of the universe, conjoined together as one force.
It is here, though, where Roedelius flexes his tenderness and the grains of his Selbsportrait reel to reel recordings are milled to make the big doughy loaf of warmth that is Sowiesoso.
In fact, a loaf of bread might be a good likeness for this album… So sumptuous in places you could possibly survive on it. To add further weight to this analogy let me say this… I’m a firm believer that music that makes you this relaxed will make you live longer the more you listen to it.
I now want to jump in and describe the effect that the final track, In Ewigkeit, has on my heart rate but Sowiesoso is all about taking it slow…
So…
Sowiesoso (title track)

I heard somewhere that Sowiesoso is a phrase that means “always the same” which suits the theme here…

The sound of a babbling brook flowing and growing into a wide sunlit river over the course of seven shimmering minutes .
Cluster really have taken precise control over whatever gear they have amassed now. A few years in the bosom of the countryside with little else to do other than fix windows and chop wood to distract from the main task at hand has seen to that. And anyway, all great art of old was always as a result of the gift of time and this track is a proverbial orchard laden with the plump fruits of their findings from the past few years of work and play. So rich and aplenty is this track it has the spirit of Christmas about it. You can hear the 2 members in celebratory mood as they play and tweak their way through fields worth of ideas.
Even just the rhythm track from this would have enough of a gift… The popping of electro toms and the odd, well placed snare all sent through a delay/echo are enough to get you dancing on their own. Some kind of sedentary armchair dancing anyway. Then we have the keyboard chords with changes to major 7th (non muso’s this is the happy/sad Astrud Gilberto chord) and then all manner of wonderful and heartwarming Cluster magic on top.
The ideal opener then, it fades in as a brook appears from the land and fades out again as a river into a great sea of calm.
Halwa
From water to sand now… the sea to a desert. Halwa is the closest they get to sinister on this collection. Yet, it’s totally still and clear in its intentions.
Using the Eastern/Arabic scale they pluck at guitars and add gentle piano. Occasional cymbals are tapped and choked while synths swell and snake around its unchanging foundations. Only right at the end of the track do they give any variation as flames rise gently from the sand and just as the track feels about to grow into something, I don’t know, heavy perhaps… it disappears.
They have done well to resist the temptation to “jam” on it as many of their Krautrock Kounterparts would have done and have kept it to under 3 minutes. You can easily imagine others building it into some 15 minute side-long prog wankery though, and that would have been horrible.
Dem Wanderer
The instant angular zig-zagging of the intro chords evokes the spirit of Bauhaus futurism. Blocky, Konstruktivist and boldly Germanic. It should be scored and given to an orchestra to play to rouse the plebs from their apathy!
But then, after it’s posturing and imposing its initial greatness on us, the piece unexpectedly lies down.
With a desultory wobble of a fretless bass (huh? yep, that’s right!) it launches into a sleepwalk through deftly crafted skittering rhythms, more bass wobbles and simple walking patterns whilst keyboard lines are daubed upon the canvas like those stretched pink and purple clouds that grace the autumn skies. A dusky setting indeed and, after Halwa, helps to set the tone again for the rest of what you are about to hear.
This track comes close to ambient in the way that it lulls you into a near-sleep state but, just as you’re settling into the surroundings, back comes that rousing intro, as outro now, to bookend the song with its strange glory.
Umleitung
Ah! Here is the influence of Eno in his ambient ambulance, administering audio-morphine to frightened airline passengers, I dare myself to say as this track plays in. Not unlike the opener Ho Remono on the Cluster & Eno album, minimal repetitive piano patterns and the sound of time slowly ticking suck you into a false sense of security. Then, after a minute or so, it’s suddenly over-come by a tribe of piss-takers, fading in as though approaching over the brow of a hill.
Its as though a Faust outtake has been mixed in to detract from the seriousness of the Eno-ness. You’d be forgiven for imagining that Jean Hervé Peron had been drafted in to do his caveman routine as heard on the manic gospel beat-thumpings of No Harm from Faust’s So Far album.
But I’m going to be more ridiculous here and suggest that this track is the Krautrock version of a Morecambe & Wise sketch.
Stay with me here!…
On the one hand you have Wise (represented by the piano part) earnestly tinkling away, trying to impress the audience in his bow tie, all best bib and tucker. Then Morecambe enters, stage right (represented by the rabble banging drums, yelling and ringing bells, Dada fashion) glasses askew shouting “Wahay” and receiving double the admiration than Wise from the crowd for his anarchic and anti-establishment raspberry blowing.
And, quite rightly, Morecambe wins the show and it all tumbles to a halt with the rattle of a cowbell and now we are getting a clearer picture of the men at work. The tender side shown in Zum Wohl (up next) is matched here by their playfulness, humour and irreverence.

Zum Wohl
Like Debussy playing on synths that have been programmed to sigh in awe at the wonders of all creation, this is the sound of someone at the top of their game.

Unashamedly contented… glass totally fucking full, thanks, none of this fluffing around between half full or empty. In fact the title translates as Good Health, always exclaimed when glasses are fully charged, which is as much proof as you need really.
Zum Wohl starts with a simple batch of electric piano chords and grows in its own time, adding programmed bird-song, subtle snatches of breath here and there, summer flies zipping by and then an ascending motif which gives the track it’s occasional and ecstatic peaks.
It is utterly pastoral and sets the scene for the two members pulling back the curtains at Forst onto a beautiful misty morning in rural Germany.
As the track builds to the emotive rising chords for the penultimate time, the gently fizzing synth line is raised an octave, getting louder now, tugging harder at the heart strings, and you hear what sounds like an android with a lump in its throat. Synthesised circuits warmed by human emotion, audibly gulping back tears, wondering “What IS this feeling?”
Well, dear robot, this is the sound of someone in love with everything. And these moments in life (when not chemically induced) are rare and short lived. To have a couple of our fellow bags of meat capture it through the medium of cold machinery is something for which we should prick up our ears and take note.
Es War Einmal
If you’re all rosy cheeked and swelling with emotion after the rousing beauty of Zum Wohl then you’ve earned a moments calm.
Es War Einmal calls to mind the lullaby sounds of Raymond Scott’s Soothing Sounds For Baby. The main focus of this piece is its pendulous tick-tocking back and forth, as gentle as reeds in the breeze slowly bowing and rising like a crowd of respectful Japanese monks. At first listen it might seem a bit like a broken record, skipping silently and perfectly in time. But then it changes to a ponderous passage, entering the woods of subtle doubt before emerging into the reed fields again. It does this several times until you stop noticing the changes between the two shifts and the track spreads itself as warm butter onto your mind becoming one soporific stargaze at the whole nights sky.
This is perfect music to set a bedtime story to and fittingly the title translates as Once Upon A Time. It ends with descending and ascending twinkles, conjuring an image of dew drops trickling down to the centre of a spiders web a la Disney’s Fantasia.
And like that web, the strength of this track lies in its simplicity and perfect construction.
In Ewigkiet
Coming on like some kind of David Lynch Heroin Porn, this is Cluster’s most seductive and opiated track.
Time has literally slowed right down now as Moebius and Roedelius have cottoned on to another great idea that lends itself best to working with reel to reels… Recording to tape, then playing it at half speed to instantly drug us into a cosy smack-fog.
The warmth brought by the low thudding of the half-pace kick drum slows down the heart rate like a hatful of Quaaludes dissolved into a jug of fine red wine… Yum. And the distant dreamlike chiming of someone ringing a doorbell, somewhere off in the real world? Well, whoever it is will just have to fucking WAIT because this just feels toooooo niiiiiiice.
It’s like I’m in a slow moving, luxurious elevator, complete with Lynch’s red velvet drapery, drifting in slow motion through orange clouds towards heaven whilst the slinky, almost bluesy refrain, snaking its way around this piece gifts me the mental image of a lap dance from Sherilyn Fenn, slowly waving her hips like the Tales Of The Unexpected girl on heavy downers.
Well… I say lap dance… I’m being polite. If I let my mind go this will become a different kind of review and I’m sure you can guess where that’s headed so let’s get back on track…
In Ewigkeit is so perfectly realised that you’d have trouble telling the difference between what has been slowed down and what has been added. And as it plays on we’re treated to some of Clusters greatest adornments to any track. Synths squeal and waver like a rasping blown-up then slowly exhaling ballon. Every now and then a poltergeist of sound swallows the whole track by way of enormous vapourous ghosts. And the almost ever clanging presence of a mong-gong bathes you in a wave of inertia. All this amounts to conspire against anyone of a nervous or fidgety disposition and would hopefully do the job of placating a crowd of pissed and coked up hipsters in a bar comparing ironic facial hair or some such bullshit…
But I don’t want to have to be there in case it doesn’t work and anyway, they don’t deserve it.
review by Ian Hinton-Smith