The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cluster


10-29-08 Cluster

A very different kettle of fish from yesterday’s German band, Nine Days Wonder. I don’t think you could accurately call Cluster “rock music”. How about ‘German 70’s electronic avant-garde’?


LP CLUSTER PHILIPS DE 6305 074
1971 3 TRKS
CD CLUSTER WATER US WATER 160
1971 3 TRKS

LP CLUSTER II BRAIN DE BRAIN 1006
1972 6 TRKS
CD CLUSTER II UNIVERSAL JPN UICY-9557
1972 6 TRKS ('05 issue) kami sleeve, pictured

LP ZUCKERZEIT BRAIN DE BRAIN 1065
1974 10 TRKS
CD ZUCKERZEIT UNIVERSAL JPN UICY-9558
1974 10 TRKS ('05 issue) kami sleeve


Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius are the two musicians most closely associated with Cluster. They worked extensively with producer Conrad Plank; if you add Michael Rother, the band becomes “Harmonia” (who had two very nice albums).


Originally, the band was known as Kluster – and featured an additional member, Conrad Schnitzler. I have at least two albums by this version of the band (“Klopfzeichen” and “Zwei-Osterei”). One side of each album has somebody talking in German, the other side = nice instrumental electronic music!


How did I get interested? There was a definitely wave of experimental rock music from Germany that was fairly easy to come up with in Los Angeles. One could buy Faust, Amon Duul II & Can albums almost anywhere, in the 70’s. I started with “Cluster II” – I liked the Brain label, and it has the most astonishing cover artwork! You can always see (even from across a room) if someone has “Cluster II” in their LP collection!


The debut album is very noisy indeed; “Cluster II” a little ‘spacier’; compared to the other two, “Zuckerzeit” ( = “Sugar Time”) is positively ‘beat’ driven.


After the three wonderfully noisy electronic albums listed above (my favorites!) – they made more records, and eventually released a few albums as “Cluster & Eno” (records that did not interest me at the time; I suppose I should try them again). I understand they have been performing again in 2007 and 2008.


German space rock is not my favorite genre at present, but I thought enough of these three albums to get CD’s of them. I hadn’t heard the 1st Cluster album in years – I found my German original LP of it in Australia, in 1987, for A$1.

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1 Comments:

Blogger browngidouille said...

I had a LP of the Eno & Cluster album (on Sky Records I think) but I never found it good either. I gave it quite a few chances, but never got into it - I ended up trading it. I find Harmonia's Musik von Harmonia one of the better kosmische kraut albums. Can't recall if I've ever heard the Sowieso album. I'm fond of the first two albums. Don't really know what to make of Zuckerzeit, but I guess I find it compellingly catchy. It's cheesy in the right way.
A friend bought a double CD of liverecorded material from the 90:s which circled around among friends to end up in the local record store where it still is.

After 73-something many of those german bands seem to find other interests, not corresponding with my ears. Many of them wanted, obviously, sound like the UK-rockbands. Cluster went their own path though, but I don't find it successful either. But atleast they tried, not ending up with boogie-rock.

4:43 AM  

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