Years: 1971 - 1981; 1989 – 1997; 2007 – 2010
Styles: Experimental Rock, Krautrock
Dieter Moebius - Hawaiian guitar, Keyboards, Organ, Percussion, Synthesizer, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1981; 1989 – 1997; 2007–2010)
Hans-Joachim Roedelius - Cello, Keyboards, Organ, Percussion, Piano, Synthesizer, Vocals (in band: 1971 - 1981; 1989 – 1997; 2007–2010)
Cluster was a German experimental musical group who influenced the development of contemporary popular electronic and ambient music. They have recorded albums in a wide variety of styles ranging from experimental music to progressive rock, all of which had an avant-garde edge.
Cluster's first release, an eponymous debut in 1971 on Philips, was the first major label release for the musicians. Previous Kluster works had been small or private label releases with no more than 300 copies pressed and sold. This album and the 1972 follow-up were a musical bridge between the avant-garde, discordant, proto-industrial sound of Kluster and the softer and more controlled ambient and rock sounds of their mid to late '70s albums. Cluster has little or no discernible melody or beat.
In 1973 the duo moved to the rural village of Forst, West Germany to build their own studio. There Cluster and Neu! co-founder Michael Rother recorded two albums under the name Harmonia: "Musik Von Harmonia" in 1974 and "Deluxe" in 1975, both released on Brain.
After the release of the first Harmonia album and a period on tour, Rother returned to working with Klaus Dinger and an expanded Neu! lineup in order to complete his contractual obligations. In his absence Cluster went back to work as a duo, releasing "Zuckerzeit" later in 1974. "Zuckerzeit" sounds different from any other Cluster album, with clearly defined melody and beat and a rhythmic sound.
The period from 1976–1979 was Cluster's most productive, with the four albums released during those four years receiving the most critical acclaim of any of Cluster's works. 1976 also marked Cluster's move to Hamburg based Sky Records. Their first release for Sky was "Sowiesoso", a highly creative album of gentler melodies recorded in just two days.
In 1977 the duo joined with Brian Eno for recording sessions at Conny Plank's studio. The first release from those sessions was the even softer "Cluster & Eno". The association with Eno brought Cluster a much wider audience and international attention. The second album drawn from the "Cluster & Eno" sessions, "After the Heat", released on Sky in 1978, featured a much wider variety of styles, including three tracks with vocals by Eno.
Cluster's 1979 release "Grosses Wasser" was produced by ex-Tangerine Dream member Peter Baumann and once again featured a wide variety of styles, including some of the most avant-garde material since the demise of Kluster, particularly during the middle section of the title track, which occupied all of side 2.
In 1989 Cluster reunited, recording "Apropos Cluster" in 1989 and 1990. The album was released on the Curious Music label in 1991. "Apropos Cluster" is musically and structurally similar to "Grosses Wasser", with four short tracks followed by the nearly 22 minute long,
Cluster's next album was the 1995 release "One Hour". This album featured a single, long musical piece, the longest ever recorded by Cluster, divided into 11 tracks on the CD. "One Hour" is structured much like the title track of "Grosses Wasser", with short, soft melodic sections at the beginning and the end sandwiching a longer experimental central section. "One Hour" was the last studio album released by Cluster until 2009, 14 years later.
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