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Cluster - Stimmungen CD (album) cover





3.09 | 3 ratings

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3 stars To the best of my (limited) knowledge this 1984 vinyl compilation has never been re-issued on compact disc, but honestly it's no great loss. Only two studio albums were represented in the collection, with three tracks from the 1979 "Grosses Wasser" LP, and the rest drawn from "Sowiesoso", duplicating fully three-quarters of that 1976 album.

So it's hardly a comprehensive overview, giving a strictly one-sided view of the band's influence and accomplishments. In their prime, the pioneering duo of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius functioned like a grungier mirror-image of early KRAFTWERK (who weren't too polished themselves, in those formative pre-"Autobahn" years). But Cluster was always more loyal to its radical Krautrock roots, even after the rougher electronic edges of their sound were smoothed out in the later 1970s, when all the music here was originally released.

The pair of albums from which these selections were taken included some of Cluster's more engaging and melodic work, for example the gently unfolding title track from "Sowiesoso": a hypnotic, semi-rhythmic mantra showing what KRAFTWERK might have sounded like if Ralf and Florian hadn't reinvented themselves as electro-pop stars. And "Grosses Wasser" was even more accessible, thanks in part to the stripped down, squeaky clean production by ex- Tangerine Dreamer PETER BAUMANN.

Listening to these excerpts, no one would ever guess the same team was responsible for some of the most challenging and atonal experiments of the early 1970s, back when the name of the group was spelled as (K)luster and included the legendary Conrad Schnitzler. But never mind: this is an undeniably pleasant and tuneful collection from a pair of erstwhile electronic music innovators. The album is too limited in scope to work as a true introduction to the band; consider it instead as an alternate studio album from their fair weather days.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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