Cluster — Cluster II
(Esoteric Recordings EREACD1029, 1972/2012, CD)
by Mike Ohman, Published 1995-07-01This is actually Cluster's fourth album, if you count the two albums for the tiny Schwann Studio label as a trio (named Kluster) with ex- Tangerine Dream member Konrad Schnitzler. The spelling change followed Schnitzler's departure for a solo career. For those not familiar with Cluster, they were a duo of multi-instrumentalists Achim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius, and one of the premier German electronic outfits. Cluster II was originally released on the legendary Brain label in 1972, and marks possibly the pinnacle of Roedelius and Moebius' experimental creativity. The most incredible thing about the album is no synthesizers were used, a fact hard to grasp after actually listening to it. The sounds on this album were created by various electric and acoustic instruments, mostly electronic organs, apparently, but also piano, electric guitar, steel-guitar, violin and cello. Good luck in trying to match a sound with a particular instrument, though, as the instruments are so distorted through various used audiolab electronics. The tracks on this album are mostly long, consisting of simple melodic motives slowly changing and distorting over the course of the piece, and ending up in quite a different place from where it started. This could possibly be likened to the music of minimalist composers such as Reich, but with a much harsher, rock element centered in the raucous electronic effects, which might even be termed proto-industrial. As it is, this is certainly recommended only to the adventurous. But those up for a challenge will find this a rewarding listen.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more