Cluster — First Encounter Tour 1996
(Purple Pyramid CLP 9933-2, 1997, 2CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-10-01
I’m truly listening to live recordings from the nearly legendary inventors of German minimalism on their first tour of America? I’m truly dumbfounded! It was hard for me to grasp that Moebius and Roedelius would venture out from the safe haven of their native homeland to tread across the wide expanse of the USA, doing only what they can do with their unique electronic chemistry and relationship. I’m also indebted to Brad Owen for convincing me to attend the quickly added show in Santa Cruz at Palookaville where I was astounded at the dynamic interworkings of two innovators using only two racks of keyboards and a set of perplexing , but intense facial expressions. The First Encounter Tour discs are a slice of 13 tracks across 11 cities which capture the duo in the act of live improvisation much in the vein of mid-period Tangerine Dream (circa Ricochet). The sonic results aren’t as dark or ominous as their contemporaries though. Some modern sampled hip-hip style percussion provides backdrop over the artist’s canvass as both paint texture with the ease and confidence of their recorded studio legacy. Tempo is not the sole setting which is cleverly handled however. Sound texture and timbre are also expertly manipulated with expressive consequences. Track lengths vary from over 30 minutes to less than three. "New Orleans Louisiana" invokes a variation on a theme from one of the Cluster / Eno albums, a very serene exploration. Whether you purchase this disc as an introduction to Cluster or as a tour souvenir, I’ve personally enjoyed several engaging hours of synthesized listening and I hope you have the courage to venture to do the same.
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more