Cluster - Grosses Wasser (2009)
Formed in Germany in 1971 when Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius left Conrad Schnitzler's group Kluster, Cluster can be counted among the most important protagonists of the electronic avant-garde. Some credit them with having invented ambient music, others as pioneers of synthesizer pop, while to others they are firmly embedded in the Krautrock universe. There is some truth in all of these notions. Although Cluster and "rock music" are seldom mentioned in the same breath, their early works in particular are marked by a lack of structure and futuristic, cold soundscapes typical of the Krautrock variation known as "kosmische." Recorded and released in 1979, Grosses Wasser was Cluster's fifth album as a duo. The cover art is the first indication of minimalist tendencies, reflecting the concentration, transparency and maturity of the content, almost like chamber music. While nothing is left to chance, each of the six Cluster pieces effervesces with a certain joie de vivre, providing ample scope for artistic spontaneity. Grosses Wasser was recorded at Paragon Studio, which had been set up by Peter Baumann (Tangerine Dream) not long before. Baumann had set aside plenty of time for the recording sessions, enabling Cluster to experiment with sequencers for the first time and explore some of the most up-to-date (for that period) studio gadgets on offer. Moebius and Roedelius made intelligent, measured use of the latest paraphernalia without being overwhelmed by it. New technology was deployed with an exactness designed to refine their sophisticated and fully-developed musical ideas. More than ever before in Cluster's history, acoustic elements can be heard, with the dulcet tones of Paragon's Steinway grand piano taking center stage. Electric bass, guitar, percussion and voice are all embraced. Consequently, Grosses Wasser is anything but a solely electronic album. It is, however, one of those rare LPs whose musical substance transcends its age, never sounding outdated. Grosses Wasser is the first in a series of 23 albums to be reissued by Bureau B, comprehensively documenting the superb electronic/ambient/Krautrock history of the Hamburg label, Sky Records, from whom the material has been licensed. Cluster (in their various guises) will feature heavily in the series (solo albums as well as collaborations with Brian Eno, Conny Plank, Gerd Beerbohm, Mani Neumeier, etc.). Printed inner sleeve includes liner notes by Asmus Tietchens.
04. Breitengrad 20
06. Grosses Wasser