Dec 30, 2007

Sundaze, (12)

Hello Sundazers, today the first of 3 parts focussing on Cluster. Their experimental music influenced the development of contemporary popular electronic and ambient music. They have recorded albums in a wide variety of styles ranging from a disorienting meld of random space music, industrial noise, proto-ambient atmospherics to progressive rock, all of which had an avant-garde edge. Here now their first, second and fourth album for you to explore and daze from.

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Cluster was one of the pioneering electronic music groups which popped out of Germany's electrical grid in the late 1960's.
Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler formed Kluster in 1969 after the three had met at the Zodiak Free Arts Lab.This trio released three albums, Klopfzeichen, Zwei-Osterei and Eruption. When Schnitzler left the group, Roedelius and Moebius became Cluster. They were joined by Conny Plank, Cluster's eponymous debut in 1971 on Philips, was the first major label release for the musicians. Previous Kluster works had been small or private label releases with no more than 300 copies pressed and sold. This album and the 1972 follow-up were a musical bridge between the avant-garde, discordant, proto-industrial sound of Kluster and the softer and more controlled ambient sounds of their mid to late '70s albums. They continued as a duo thereafter but worked extensively with producer/engineer Plank until his death in 1987.

In 1973 the duo moved to the rural village of Forst, West Germany to build their own studio.There Cluster and Neu! co-founder Michael Rother recorded two albums under the name Harmonia: Musik Von Harmonia in 1974 and Deluxe in 1975, both released on Brain. (will get to those in the future). After Rother left to concentrate again pn his band Neu ! Cluster went back to work as a duo, releasing Zuckerzeit later in 1974. Zuckerzeit sounds different from any other Cluster album, with clearly defined melody and beat and a rhythmic sound, at times approaching the Motorik style of Neu !

The resulting unit of Moebius and Roedelius would prove itself to be very durable and innovative. Before long, their reputation was such that Brian Eno opted to make two recordings with the group. The period from 1976 - 1979 was Cluster's most productive, with the four albums released during those four years receiving the most critical acclaim of any of Cluster's works. 1976 also marked Cluster's move to Hamburg based Sky Records. Their first release for Sky was Sowiesoso, a highly creative album of gentler melodies recorded in just two days.

In 1977 the duo joined with Brian Eno for recording sessions at Conny Plank's studio. The first release from those sessions was the even softer Cluster & Eno. Guest musicians on the album included Can bassist Holger Czukay and Asmus Tietchens on synthesizer. The association with Eno brought Cluster a much wider audience and international attention. The second album drawn from the Cluster & Eno sessions, After the Heat, released on Sky in 1978, featured a much wider variety of styles, including three tracks with vocals by Eno. Roedelius also began releasing solo material during this period, beginning with Durch Die Wüste for Sky in 1978.

Cluster's 1979 release Grosses Wasser was produced by ex-Tangerine Dream member Peter Baumann and once again featured a wide variety of styles, including some of the most avant-garde material since the demise of Kluster. In 1980, Sky Records reissued the first Cluster release with new artwork and a new title: Cluster '71. That same year, Dieter Moebius teamed with former Cluster member, engineer and producer Conny Plank on the album Rastakraut Pasta, released on Sky. A second Moebius & Plank album, Material was released in 1981. Cluster's 1981 release Curiosum lives up to its name, with the seven tracks of offbeat and unusual melodies. Curiosum was Cluster's last release for Sky. It was also the final collaboration between Moebius and Roedelius before an eight year long hiatus. to be contimued....

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Cluster - Cluster 71 (71 ^ 282mb)

Cluster was recorded at Star-Studio in Hamburg, Germany in January, 1971. Cluster began a transition away from the discordant, proto-industrial sound of Kluster towards a more electronic sound. Russ Curry of Curious Music credited Conny Plank with the change of direction, describing it as having "...continued the commitment to improvisation but developed a focus on sound structure..." Instrumentation included a pair of organs, Hawaiian guitar, cello, and audio generators, all played by Moebius and Rodelius, all of which were electronically treated by Conny Plank.

Note "The Wire" places Cluster's self-titled debut album in their "One Hundred Records That Set The World On Fire".

01 - 15:33 (7:42)
02 - 07:38 (15:43)
03 - 21:17 (21:32

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Cluster - Cluster II (72 ^ 239mb)

Cluster II was recorded at Star-Studio in Hamburg, Germany in January, 1972. It was Cluster's first release for legendary Krautrock label Brain Records, a relationship which would last until 1975 and include the subsequent album Zuckerzeit as well as the first two Harmonia albums, a group which included both remaining members of Cluster and Michael Rother of Neu!.Cluster II continued the transition away from the discordant, proto-industrial sound of Kluster towards a more electronic sound. It was the first album to feature relatively short tracks and it was the first album in which tracks were named.

01 - Plas (6:11)
02 - Im Süden (12:45)
03 - Für Die Katz (3:00)
04 - Live In Der Fabrik (14:39)
05 - Georgel (5:34)
06 - Nabitte (2:40)

***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Cluster - Sowiesoso (76 ^ 150mb)

Sowiesoso was recorded in just two days in Forst, Germany in 1976. The title is a construct and roughly translates to English as "So why so". It was Cluster's first release for legendary Krautrock label Sky Records, a relationship which would last until 1983 including albums with Brian Eno, solo recordings, and three albums by the duo of Moebius and former Cluster member and frequent engineer/producer Conny Plank. Sowiesoso was Cluster's gentlest and most melodic album of electronic music to that point. Brian Eno had worked with Moebius and Roedelius with Harmonia prior to the recording of Sowiesoso and worked with Cluster again on two albums in 1977 and 1978 and the influence of the British ambient musician is clearly heard on the softer and more controlled sound of this album.

01 - Sowiesoso (8:10)
02 - Halwa (2:48)
03 - Dem Wanderer (3:52)
04 - Umleitung (3:23)
05 - Zum Wohl (6:52)
06 - Es War Einmal (5:23)
07 - In Ewigkeit (7:19)

***** ***** ***** ***** *****


bifröst said...

Sowieso means translated anyway.
"so why so" does not make sense and any language does not use nonmeaning words., anyway.

I like your blog sowieso

Rho said...

Well thank you Ragnar, and indeed anyway is what babelfish says, and is an unsatisfactory translation i think, but..the title is Sowiesoso and that breaks down in So-wieso-so and wieso here means why, i tried to stay close in translation, i could have written it out - so why this way(like so).

Happy New Year,


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Cluster posts Rho.

I have one of the albums I think, but at this point I absolutely adore Harmonia. I hope I go on to love Cluster as much after your posts.


roBB said...

thank you very much for your hell of work, but the result is a really extraordinary blog!!!

saludos de Quito: RoBB

Geoff said...

Hi is it possible to reup the early cluster albums this time in flac.
Thanks as always

Geoff said...

Thanks for all the reups. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Is a two year update on the Cluster titles doable? Many thanks if so! (And thanks for everything else either way!)