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Kluster Klopfzeichen album cover
3.27 | 29 ratings | 6 reviews | 3% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Kluster 1 (Electric Music Und Texte) (24:00)
2. Kluster 2 (Electric Music) (21:51)

Total time 45:51

Bonus track on 1996 & 1998 CD releases:
3. untitled (Live in Vienna) - Cluster & Joshi Farnbauer (15.56)

Line-up / Musicians

- Conrad Schnitzler / performer & composer
- Dieter Moebius / performer & composer
- Hans-Joachim Roedelius / performer & composer

- Christia Runge / voice (1)

Note : The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

LP Schwann ‎- STUDIO 511 (1970, Germany)
LP Bureau B ‎- BB 110 (2012, Germany) Remastered by Willem Makkee, original track list and cover

CD Hypnotic ‎- CLP 9724-2 (1996, US) With a bonus Live track recorded at The Wiener Festwochen Alternativ 1980, new cover art
CD Think Progressive ‎- TPCD 1.807.029 (1998, Germany) As above
CD Bureau B ‎- BB 110 (2012, Germany) Remastered by Willem Makkee, original track list and cover

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KLUSTER Klopfzeichen ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(3%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

KLUSTER Klopfzeichen reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Without hesitation, one of the most important, hard and astounding electronic class band is Kluster, made entirely out of an express desire to challenge the art and the movement of its kind (a kind to be discovered, entirely by one's own listening and recommendation). Revealed a lot as magisterial under the progressive electronic school of thoughts, dynamics and experiments (German-style, naturally, despite some influences that seem totally private, and others that numb out no particular music at all), the band's musical concept is yet far from such an easy definition (or even a ragged-drone one), mixing the hysteria or the silent respect of the krautrock/acid movement, deepening the experiment towards intricacy, desperation, no-logic, mechanical motion and abstractionism, or creating noise or independent electronic movements.

Conrad Schnitzler's vast past-60s experience is a good point of reflection leading to these early 70s years, when, not just in Kluster, but also in Tangerine Dream or in solo measures, his visions strode deep into challenging music, touch and artificiality in incomparably hard, technical, edasic and veracious ways. Moebius and Roedelius are a compact important duo joining Kluster, in a way that will continue into the good to great Cluster later albums, but not that much as to say that the Kluster moment of music, electronic, kraut-noise and experimentalism-dependency, was something far from retched, quasi-original, tonic, influential or drastic.

The Kluster sessions strike, dramatically, only three albums and only one year of work. But mixing a lot of progressive electronic, Berlin School music dynamics and elementary art-strain evolutions into your perspective leads always to the impression that the trio of Kluster have made some radical and brand astonishing moves, while other artists slept on a bit more easy or atmospheric, transitory or sound-reflexive tastes (not that many, for sure, since the classic years remain devoted to electronic excellencies, yet almost sensible, in the link between progressive and experimental, cosmic or mechanic, etc.).

Specifically in the Kluster dynamic of appreciation, Klopfzeichen is keen on being the most pointed out. It has a lot of the "elementary" power and details that the trio uses, in order for their gumble-art, organic-note or experimental-cause music to get the special shine. It's more introverted and ambient-shaded, in order for the orientation of electronic with noise and kraut to seem very clear and very impressive. But, down the artistic measure, the other two albums made by Kluster are entirely better, more rough, more skeptical regarding the electronic or sonic impulse.

Interesting, captivating or so-to-say full of exultation in Klopfzeichen are fragments of music, expression and expiration. The first part has a large side of low-mono sound and deep-physical voice narration, this last thing leading to imagining something from Floh de Cologne or Cosmic Jokers, but resembling actually neither. The topic is vast, acid or superficial, respectively, whether we're still talking about the word play, or of the actual effects of music, ambiance and primary sounds. The second part is more cold and ravishing, mixing an ambient "krust" of music, but also focusing the positive, artistic and magical moments of the noise-shrud, the experimental-surround or the typical abstract feel.

Klopfzeichen, with minimal, experimental, ambiental or collage elements of the electronic, kraut-docile, noise-sound or "kluster" blend of genres and illusions, is a sophisticated new brand and progressive effect; yet the most peaceful, intuitive, large-echoed experience too.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I won't pretend that I like this album, or that I appreciate its place in history of Prog music. By my opinion, it's more Prog Electronic, but this fact is not so important. I've ranted in past, I'll rant in future and today dear readers, I'll rant too. It's not happening too often, because mostly, I listen albums that I suppose I'll like. Not this time.

Yes, this won't be nice and some of you may not like me because of that and for that, I'm sad. In these (in total) 44 minutes, there's about 3-4 minutes of interesting "sounds", the rest is either empty, or repeated so much that blood bleeds through my ears. Klopfzeichen should mean something like "pulsing" and yes, there's certainly Tangerine Dreams type of pulsing, the Space Rock one (celestial sounds), but that doesn't mean much to me. And German spoken text certainly doesn't help it at all (again, because some of you may feel offended, I don't hate Germany or its people, but the language sounds unpleasant to me).

Sad thing is that there's nothing I can really appreciate, only majority of album full of boredom, unbearable sounds and the minority is comprised of sounds that I can stand.

1(+), concept I wasn't able to understand, or there's nothing to understand at all ?

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars An atonal, sprawling mass of machine noise that must have been completely out of synch with all other albuns created in the very early 70's. Personally I love this kind of stuff. 80's experimental band 'Zoviet France' surely took inspiration from these three guys from Deutschland.

Conrad Schnitzler who had recently appeared on Tangerine Dream's 'Electronic Meditation' is at the helm of this most experimental of early 70's bands. 'Klopfzeichen' sounds remarkably like Throbbing Gristle's 'Journey through a Body' & 'Shadow of the Sun' from 1981.

You won't find any guitars, drums or bass here. What you get instead are bowed metals and numerous acoustic objects pushed through electronic filters.

There's not much in the way of music or tunes present. This one's all about atmosphere - and it's pretty bleak stuff, complete with spoken German female vocals which add to the desolation that is conjured up.

Played back loud, it produces thoughts in my mind of the aftermath in Dresden in February '45.

Heavy stuff indeed.

Review by Guldbamsen
3 stars Immeasurable sounds

Comprised of Conrad Schnitzler and the soon to be Cluster duo of Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius, Kluster is today seen as one of the pivotal names of the early experimental electronic scene. A far cry from the later velvety shadings of the Berlin school, their debut album Klopfzeichen offers up a grim industrial palette of ominous metallic music.

Schnitzler and Roedelius originally met in the underground scene of Düsseldorf, where all kinds of experiments took place. It started out at the Zodiac Free Arts commune that sported equal measures of psychedelic music, free jazz and avantguarde trickery. This was way back in 1968, and it shows us that Krautrock, as we today know it, developed over a long period of time. It was through new ideas of how to live, express oneself and communicate with each other that eventually metamorphosed into the outspoken musical freedom, that I personally have come to love so dearly.

Klopfzeichen came into being around the same time that Tangerine Dream's Electronic Meditation was made. Most places on the internet state that it came out in 1970, but Kluster's debut was in fact made a whole year earlier. Schnitzler played on both of these legendary albums, and while he never was ring leader of either band, you can certainly hear distinct similarities between the both. For starters, the production of these albums makes me think of an old abandoned factory hall surrounded by big piles of rubble and discarded rusty bicycle corpses. Raw and unfiltered like an iron smoothie with jaggedy nails and swinging hammers.

Born out of improvisation, Klopfzeichen balances a tightrope of brooding stretched out surfaces and experimental sways of music that literally flickers about in your living room, whenever you decide to take the plunge and let yourself emerge in the darkness.

Ominous piano clinkering, buzzing whirlwind effects, tick tocking metal sounds and unsettling soundscapes that'll have your eyelids twitching, this album is anything but a soothing relaxing electronic excursion. If anything, it offered up the blueprint behind the industrial palette that later on was defined and rearranged by acts such as Faust, Throbbing Gristle and Zoviet France. On here we find it in a muddy embryonic state that mumbles its way through a sombre marmalade wall that colours everything around it in contour-less grime and moist dust.

I have no way of describing this album in a befitting manner. Two long cuts of music made for a romantic meeting between ancient shipyards and oilfield workers. Or maybe it would make for an outstanding soundtrack to a tale of an interstellar blacksmith with robotic bees in his joints. This whole record actually feels like an aching body - like rhythmic arthritis in a man that magically takes on the unnatural form of correlated iron and reverberating screeches.

Klopfzeichen is not your everyday bip bip album, as you probably will have picked up by now. Every sound uttered by either the piano, strings or organs are thrown into that marmalade wall I was on about before. It's those treatments that transform this album from an early Stockhausen like experiment, to the boundary pushing electronic record it is.

To make matters even more incomprehensible, Kluster's first two albums were indeed sponsored by the local church. The in-house organist was drawn to the immeasurable sounds of the group and somehow found a way to sponsor their early endeavours. This is also the reason behind the archaic female incantations of the first cut, that dabbles in esoteric religious motifs and other such guilt fuelled mind constellations. The revolution as often referred to, is on the verge of being on the verge - as always really, but on here you sense a strange symbiosis of wild unhinged youth and the towering biblical escapades of some 2000 years tumbling together.

This is not an easy listen by any stretch of the imagination. It's a curiosity - a rare fluke of experimental music that somehow miraculously got to see the light of day through the help of the most unlikely of places, and still.................I feel lucky to have this in my possession. I played it this morning with a high fever and felt delirious for 40 minutes straight - I climbed the ceiling in a highly inelegant manner and went out of my body, only to land right back where I came from. The journey had taken me out on watery metal surfaces that tricked me into believing that I was gone, away from this earth, if only for a short while. Now that is a feat in itself, and one I surely dare to duplicate the next time I feel like a run-over turd. 3.5 stars

Review by LearsFool
5 stars The second side of "An Electric Storm" and sides three and most of four of "Tago Mago" are all proto-industrial, but Kluster had to be the first project to wish to make music that actually sounded like machines. Holed up in a church, free to enlist the help of choir singers, they threw down three albums in a short amount of time, and then lost Conrad Schnitzler and so renamed themselves Cluster and balanced more down to earth electronics with more usual krautrock. But the damage was done and four years later we had two groups of punks calling themselves Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire who seemingly wanted to make music specifically to make girls run in terror. So as an industrial person as much as a proghead I owe just about everything to these three crazed geniuses and their lovely, word twisting singer. And "Klopfzeichen" stands as an excellent album in its own right, and stands the test of time as well. There isn't too much to the music, with it being carefully constructed loops of dour, gloomy, at times mechanical electronic soundscapes that aren't the most lively. But it still works, creating something between dark ambient and "After Cease To Exist" a whole six years before the latter and a whole eleven before an example of the former were themselves put to wax. And it was groundbreaking. Especially in light of its year of creation: Kraftwerk were still doing krautrock at this point; electronic music in general was still in its infancy. On top of that Runge's singing adds a strange and eerie quality to the record, especially early on as the band multi-tracks her on top of herself several times over. And as previously mentioned, her lyrics are heavy on some juicy wordplay. This isn't so much a milestone of prog or even of non-industrial electronica, but it is a lost classic and a major foundation for a whole other genre. Industrial people need to listen to this to get in touch with their roots; prog electronic fans need to listen to this to get a whole new experience under their belt.
Review by DamoXt7942
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars An important milestone, just like Tangerine Dream's "Electronic Meditation" released in the same year.

A Krautrock giant KLUSTER's debut creation "Klopfzeichen" released in 1970, or the sunrise period of the progressive rock scene, would have been approved with surprise and wonder, I suggest. Being flooded with lots of crazy repetitions by electronic noises / sounds, the story goes forward in a simple and monotonous manner. The female voices in German (forgive me I'm not able to understand at all though) are chilly and spicy beyond the electronic medications. In those days nobody could produce such an inorganic monotony fully by utilizing electronic equipment. And it's amazing their inorganic electro-chemistry should be enough unified and matured all over the entire album. If we listen to a part of this album, it might sound simply noisy and meaningless. However, when each article of this opus is combined and blended with another one, the structure will be pretty energetic and magnificent. For example, flute-like sound material in "Kluster 1" might sound improvised and randomized, but this sharp-edged noisy texture could get incredible and tremendous as one of electronic elements launched by the trio. In "Kluster 2" hallucinogenic weirdness or unexpected eccentricity is dominant too but just like very old rare beverages their production will release complicated condensed flavour all around.

Let me say outsiders cannot realize the importance of this album, can they?

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