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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This album closes Moebius & Roedelius early radical experimentations in electronic, guitar/organ works. Compositions are always made of repetitive patterns, simple motifs, noisy and cerebral. However it features a better implication in term of "structures". The electronic exercises are shorter, more controlled. The album starts with a spheric music that surronds you, then it introduces a continuous organ line with perpetual static electronic "tones" and guitar's distortion. This tune van evokes the unit of perception. "Im Suden» used a hypnotic electronic bass pulse / guitar patterns to produce hallucinations inside your ears. Gradually it alternates the sound level of each part. Fascinating and visceral "Brain" music. "Fur Die Katz" combines modulating electric sounds with many electronic noises and effects in the background. The atmosphere obtained is very creepy, calibrated for a real discharge of intensity. "Live In Der Fabrik" is made of a repetitive, concentric, duplicated electric sound with a kind of abstract electric bass sound. Very industrial and chaotic. We can also hear modulating frequency harmonies, feedback in the performance space. "Georgel"is a haunted, dark organ work, irrevocably moving to a serie of changing, beating pitches. A sonic meditation, a pleasant cerebral massage. One of the most incredible, stimulating albums I've heard.
Report this review (#41051)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is almost like the first album and all the "Kluster" period, with Conrad Schnitzler. Every tracks here are only noisy experimentations, nothing comparable with what they do next, especially with Brian Eno. They start up the fluke and make annoying oscillations and random notes on guitar over a pseudo beat box that is not even capable of making a beat... and pretend that all this is "genius"... Pure piano "clusters"... I guess.
Report this review (#87370)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's hard to review an album like this. Judging from the lack of reviews here, I don't think I am alone in feeling this way.

The album doesn't have melodies, or songs you can hum. That presents a problem for a lot of people, and I can understand that. However, for music that is really just hypnotic, pulsating soundscapes, this album is very nice to listen to. It holds my attention in a way that most other music of this nature doesn't. It's all instrumental, non-percussive sound generated mostly with synthesizers, guitars, organs and various gadgets Conny Plank knew how to work. Not totally unlike their first album as Cluster, this gives the feeling of music from the future, music from the deepest bowels of outer space. It's the soundtrack to peaceful nightmares. It's absolutely gobsmackingly great.

In a nutshell, it's Post Rock from a time before anyone ever imagined such a thing could exist. It could be issued today and still sound vital. This music, unlike much of Cluster's other work, has not dated at all.

Report this review (#98338)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Second album (with their name written with a C or else this would their fourth) from Dieter and H-J, after their superb but adventurous debut. And this album confirms what was developed before and even betters it. But we are still in the domain of early Popol Vuh, Zeit-era Tangerine Dream and the very early Kraftwerk (when those two did not use any synthesisers.

Yes the music is rather destructured music (sometimes resembling Tomita's mid-70's doodlings, no doubt he listened to what the Germans did before him) without melodies, harmonies and even clear rhythm patterns. Generally this kind of music does not sit well with many more conservative music listeners even among the progheads, but the least they can say it that there is something fascinating with this type of music. And this cosmic music is a far cry to what Cluster will do in a few years dishing out a sort of pre-new wave (as would Ralf and Florian of Kraftwerk also. While I personally think that this type of album is always of a certain interest, I can understand those people not getting the subtleties and just wanting to have one of those cosmic records. And the choice would come down between Popol Vuh's Astentude, Tangerine Dream's Zeit or Atem or Cluster's first two. Mine is: z) all of the above. ;-)

Report this review (#108467)
Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars It's always quite a tricky task to review an album of cosmic drones, spacey atmospheres, twittering electronics and strangely dark music, which is what Krautrock duo Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius - 'Cluster', have created here. To many ears, the compositions on this record may border on nonsensical, noisy, druggy noodling etc. but at least to my ears I hear a certain, organic ambience. The 'music' is a result of many layers of electronics, and 'natural' instruments that have often been 'processed' through various gadgets, and their use of repetitive motifs, swirling organs and distorted sounds really offers a hypnotic listening experience. 'Cluster II' features 'Plas' (6.00), 'Im Suden' (12.50), 'Fur Die Katz' (3.00) on side 1, and 'Live In Der Fabrik' (14.50), 'Georgel' (5.25) 'Nabitte' (2.40) on the 2nd side. The highlight for me is Live In Der Fabrik. As others have stated, this is similar to Zeit-period Tangerine Dream and the first few Kraftwerk records. Undeniably cutting-edge at the time of its release, Cluster II is a fine example of experimental music the way only the German Hippies can do.
Report this review (#163511)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars While not as spacey as their debut 71(I haven't heard anything that is) this is still about this dynamic duo trying to create a mood, an atmosphere,a soundscape for the trip you are about to take. Lets start by turning out the lights and putting on those headphones shall we, because were going on a voyage into deep space.

"Plas" reminds me of the debut with the waves of sound and pulsating electronics that shift and change throughout. "Im Suden" features the same melody(yes I said melody) over and over. It sounds like a guitar actually as other sounds wash in and out. That melody is eventually copied by electronics?. Very cool song.

"Fur Die Katz" has these high pitched noises at first that eventually soften. "Live In Der Fabrik" features strange sounds that come and go as pulsating sounds throb relentlessly. It gets very spacey 11 minutes in. "Georgel" reminds me of their debut record because it's so spacey. Like being in a cosmic wind storm. Incredible soundscape. "Nabitte" sounds like the machinery in some sort of assembly line. Vocal sounds can be heard as well.

My two favourite tracks are "Im Suden" and "Georgel". Highly recommended music if your going to take a long trip. If I had to pick between their first two albums i'd take 71 but it's close.

Report this review (#172046)
Posted Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars So disturbing that it's soothing.

The only identifiable musical instrument to be found within this morbid aggregate of nominal sound experiments along with an array of synths and freak knows what else, is an overdriven electric guitar playing only four notes and therefore must be approached with a very open mind, and this cannot be over- stressed.

From the introductory Plas, the audio terrorism which is about to occur over the course of the next 45 minutes is more than evident from the dense introductory synth palpitations. Im Suden, the most powerful track on the album plods and trudges on with all the finesse and splendour of a slow motion Godzilla Tokyo rampage. A menacing repetitive narcotic loop materializes and intensifies itself as it progresses. Once this is over the rest of the work is easier to accept because any false hopes of anything positive coming out of this sonic conflagration are completely obliterated by the end of these funereal images. Everything but the kitchen sink shows up on the rest of this house of audio horrors so the best advice is just to go with it and allow your subconscience to flow.

The polar opposite of what is known as music ; there is no cadence, melody, point/counterpoint, no key signatures etc. here. You can't dance to it, tap your foot to it or even voice any of it despite it's hypnotic attributes. It does have emphatic characteristics which nonetheless will evoke some sympathy similar to that for some sort of evil science fictional entity in it's pathetic throwes of death, and an impression of such sort of sureal death dance is conveyed consummately on the final track Nabitte which oddly leaves the listener beguiled to the point that a second exposure to the work is virtually mandatory, wanting to relive the terrible beauty of this imperceptible sonic masterpiece. Play loud for maximum perplexity.

Report this review (#190588)
Posted Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW!!!

And that's all what was in my mind after listening this album for the first time. Now, after several years, it still rings in my ears the right way. It's dark, industrial, it's fantastic, just must be heard.

I realize not everyone likes this kind of music, but if you're open minded you must hear this album. It is similar to some modern classical music, early Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream (I am not big fan of this kind of music, but this album is something else)... Much better then KLUSTER and other CLUSTER album, this truly is masterpiece of krautrock and progressive music in general.

Krautrock fan or not this is a must have!!! Masterpiece.

5 stars without hesitation!

Report this review (#207535)
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Cluster's second album finds them further exploring the electronic soundscapes from the debut. This is a highly valued album in the progressive electronic scene and as far as it concerns spatial exploration and sonic innovation it certainly deserves its high status.

Plas is an impressive piece. Low droning sounds suck you into the universe's darkest black hole. Layers of dissonant distorted 'who-knows-what-they-are' sounds wave in and out of focus. Heavily processed guitar strumming provides some rhythmic clue but apart from that it's an unsettling listen. No melody, no harmony, no rhythm and no emotion exist in this extraterrestrial space. I'm Süden has a sparse rhythmic pulse provide by 4 repeated guitar notes. They create interesting layers of atmosphere around it.

Für Die Katz' has a well chosen title. This one will be a very unpleasant listening for your cats. The tweeting high electronic effects and unexpected twists are guaranteed to distress the poor animals. Also Live In Der Fabrik remains very experimental and dense. There's not much here that you would normally define as 'music'.

The dissonant organ on Georgel has more appeal and electrifies the atmosphere with creepy tonalities similar to Ligeti's contributions for 2001: Space Odyssey. Nabitte ends the album with some vocal effects and a stark dark pulse. It's a very striking piece that sounds almost zeuhl and is way too short unfortunately.

When it comes to music that is so experimental and abstract as this, the extent to which you might be able to connect to it is very unpredictable. So approach with care, this is an album that is impressive for its artistic attitude, but there's no way predicting the possible enjoyment you will extract from it. Somewhere between intellectually essential and enjoyably good.

Report this review (#286618)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Dare I say it, I always found Cluster a bit on the dull side, much preferring Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream from the same period. Cluster were always just too minimal for me.

This however is one of their better releases. A creepy sounding album that has traces from (in my opinion) the superior Kluster when Conrad Schnitzler was on board strutting his dark foreboding technology.

The inappropriate album artwork doesn't get things off to the best of starts. It sounds nothing like it looks. Repetitive drones and extended electronic whines are the order of the day, all built on top of one another to create a spooky sound that would not appear on any of their subsequent recordings from the Seventies. 'Live in der Fabrik' is the lengthiest and best track taking what's best of these drones and whines and creating a very ghostly atmosphere. 'Georgel' continues in this vein and reminds me a lot of Coil's 'Time Machine's' from the late 90's. Quite experimental and a lot easier on the ear than Kluster ever were. Real haunted house stuff where ghosts appear through solid walls to terrify you in the middle of the night.

Report this review (#393942)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Cluster's second album is firmly in the vein of spacey, droney, trancelike Krautrock of the era, but is set apart from its competitors by the excellent production work by Conrad Plank, who produced or co-produced all the group's albums - truly a man with a strong claim to be the third member of the band. The band place themselves at an extremely minimalistic and experimental end of the German cosmic rock spectrum, with all of the conventional structures and approaches to composing music being regarded as strictly optional, to be utilised only if the composition absolutely demands it. It's one of the more challenging Krautrock albums, but well worth a listen regardless.
Report this review (#490706)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars REACTIVE (Esoteric) reissue 2012:

This, the second Cluster album, is like an extension of the equally essential first; both have now been reissued here by Esoteric's Reactive label. The mastering is superb, and it comes with a very attractive booklet with new interviews with both members. As they explain, the music here was all improvised in a couple of nightly sessions, Moebius and Roedelius weaving electronic textures together using primitive equipment and stone age effects devices, making ordinary instruments like the home organ sound positively other-worldy. Legendary producer Conny Plank is virtually the third member and it is likely that much of the all important shifting stereo placements are his work. "In the early '70's we didn't have access to synthesisers" says Moebius "we'd use whatever was around at the time". Necessity being the mother of invention, the duo put everything they could lay their hands on to good use.

The sum total is a throbbing, exciting sound world, free of melody and yet accessible, easy to listen to and yet a million miles from ambient music. It is truly a world of its own created through echo devices, oscillators, organs, guitar, wah-wah pedals all shifting around the stereo image constantly giving the impression of vast three dimensional sound shifts.

The individual titles are largely irrelevant (indeed on their debut they didn't bother with them, only durations), the six pieces add up 50 minutes of captivating, shifting sound which constantly reinvents itself and sounds like nothing else.

Report this review (#782635)
Posted Friday, July 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars The duo of Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius deliver nothing in the way of tunes or melodic moments on their second Cluster album from 1972, `Cluster II', nor is it particularly similar to the subdued spacey drifts of the frequently near- ambient debut. Instead, noisy experiments, druggy improvisations and cryptic instrumental collages of guitar, organ and electronics are the order of the day here, closer to the darker atmospheres of the early Krautrock-era works of Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze.

Opener `Plas' is a churning stormy drone that grows in stature amidst a heartbeat-like wavering klaxon and harsh ebbing and flowing serrated slivers. A snarling and grumbling electric guitar line repeats over and over into infinity throughout `Im Suden' with ambient distortion washes shimmering to the surface behind them, everything swamped in an unceasing brewing rumble of feedback. Chiming guitar tendrils try to snake their way through an air of shuffling electronic spirals and pulsing machine hisses that slowly abate to allow the briefest of light to enter, and`Fur Die Katz's alien-like twitches and scratchy distortion close the first side, a piece that could have easily found a home on Tangerine Dream's proto-dark ambient `Zeit'.

The suffocating `Live In Der Fabrik' on the flip side is a cavernous environment of chugging machine oscillations feverishly ripped apart by delirious electronic ripples, and the growing menace of `Georgel's sombre droning organ with the lightest of crystalline airy wisps flitting about could have easily worked its way out of the spacey improvised section of Pink Floyd's `A Saucerful of Secrets' and `Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' live performances from the late Sixties. Closer `Nabitte' wraps the disc on smiles and, wait, make that mucky clanging nightmares of brooding jagged piano and groaning eerie voices makes for deeply unpleasant stuff, pretty much the perfect soundtrack to the seediest snuff tape.

`Cluster II' really gets under the skin with grubby fingernails, making for supremely uneasy listening but also one that remains wickedly addictive and completely consuming, laced beginning to end with that dirty sense of danger that permeates all the most satisfying Krautrock works.

Four stars.

Report this review (#1707428)
Posted Sunday, April 2, 2017 | Review Permalink

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