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Cluster & Eno

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Album Review

In Brian Eno's first collaboration with Cluster, the best of this album's instrumental pieces are too emotionally rich to waste as mere background music, evoking feelings of hesitancy and regret that rescue the music from mere vapid prettiness. Three tracks in particular indicate things to come. "Wehrmut" is an ethereal synth piece with the pace slowed to a tantalizing crawl. "Steinsame" features a treated guitar playing a slow figure over a dark, almost funereal synth melody. "Schöne Hände" uses watery synth effects to highlight a shivery rhythm pattern. Other pieces dispense with moody atmospherics altogether. Tracks like "Ho Renomo" and "Selange" consist mainly of pounding rhythm patterns lightly embellished by piano or synthesizer, and "Die Bunge" sounds like an electronic goldfinch fluttering around a cartoon horse. While not the unqualified success of their 1978 collaboration After the Heat, Cluster & Eno remains an important album. Along with Eno's 1978 Music for Films, these works helped define the depth and promise of ambient music.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The most important and consistently underrated space rock unit of the '70s, Cluster (originally Kluster) was formed by Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and Conrad Schnitzler as an improv group that used everything from synthesizers to alarm clocks and kitchen utensils in their performances. Continuing on as a duo, Moebius and Roedelius eventually recorded many landmark LPs — separately, as a duo, and with all manner of guest artists from Brian Eno to Conny Plank to Neu!'s Michael Rother...
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Cluster & Eno, Cluster
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