Cluster - Kolletion No. 6: 1971-1981 Compiled by John McEntire

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Cluster’s influence on the development of electronic music cannot be overstated. The original trio of Conrad Schnitzler, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius released two seminal albums as Kluster before Roedelius and Moebius replaced the K with a C and continued as a duo. They produced eight albums in their most innovative period between 1971 and 1981, two of them together with another pioneer of electronic music, Brian Eno.

Cluster anticipated much of what would later emerge in such varied styles as industrial, ambient, electro and even synthpop. Some call Cluster’s music avant-garde, others Krautrock or Kosmische Musik. Few would dispute their immense influence on the music of younger generations, even though commercial success largely eluded them.

Hence their first album, as a microcosm of their entire oeuvre, made the list of “100 Records That Set The World On Fire (While No One Was Listening)” in “The Wire” magazine, the ultimate purveyor of good taste.

About John McEntire:

Drummer/percussionist; recording engineer/producer. Founding and current member of

Tortoise and The Sea & Cake; former contributing/touring member of Red Krayola and Gastr Del Sol.

Extensive international touring with these groups and many others. Recording/remixing projects include work with: Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, Broken Social Scene, Stereolab, Teenage Fanclub, Jaga Jazzist, The High Llamas, The Fiery Furnaces, Spoon, Blur, and hundreds more. As a member of Tortoise, numerous collaborations with artists such as Tom Ze, Daniel Lanois, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Cluster, The Ex, Fred Anderson, and Mouse On Mars. Owner/operator of Soma Electronic Music Studios in Chicago, IL since 1995.

Asmus Tietchens on Cluster 71–81:

>> Cluster’s role in the development of new German electronic music went unnoticed for a long while.

Cacophonous noise in the 1970s and 1980s masked the subtlety of Cluster aesthetics, diminishing their force of impact. Only since the 1990s, and all the more so today, have Cluster been identified and celebrated as pioneers.

The somewhat hackneyed “avant-garde” tag really amounts to nothing more than being ahead of one’s time. And those who are ahead of their time often slip out of sight. Now, twenty, thirty years later, with so many new aural experiences on offer, listening habits have changed to such a great extent that we are better placed to assess Cluster’s importance, their influence on subsequent generations of musicians. It has thus become easier to appreciate and enjoy their music.

The eight (official) Cluster albums presented here trace the group’s arc of development over a period of around ten years. Not a particularly extensive oeuvre compared to many of their peers, but prolificacy was never a feature of Cluster’s constitution. They only released a new album when they felt that they had taken a significant step forwards on their musical trajectory—which goes some way to explaining how varied and different their LPs were. Cluster were no pedagogues, but their indirect influence on musicians and, more to the point, on listeners, resonates until today. Can a legacy be any more alive?<<

Tracklisting:

 01 Zum Wohl (6:50)
02 Hollywood (4:48)
03 The Shade (3:11)
04 Für die Katz (3:09)
05 Grosses Wasser (Edit) (10:19)
06 Oh Odessa (3:04)
07 21 32 (Edit) (7:09)
08 Es war einmal (5:25)
09 Wehrmut (5:04)
10 Heiße Lippen (2:24)
11In Ewigkeit (Edit) (4:00)