Cluster & Eno
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Top Customer Reviews
And that's the story of how "The Berlin Albums" came to bieng. They are: "Cluster and Eno" and "After the Heat" by C&E, "Low" and "Heroes" by Bowie, and "Before and after Science" by Eno. Such an amazing quintet of albums was never before or since put together and released all in the space of one year. To get the full effect, you really have to listen to all five at the same time in one of those five-tray "random play" CD players.
But on to the review. "C&E" is probably the darkest and most unsettling of the five, featuring instruments such as Theremin, Fretless Bass, Assorted Percussion (of the pots-and-pans variety), Sitar, Piano Trio, and the ubiqtuous Synthesisizer. In fact, Eno's little VCS3 dominates the record, but in many places it takes the role it did with Roxy Music, merely treating the other instruments.
Like I said Before, you have to but all five. the "Berlin Group" creates a complete musical micro-universe within themselves.
Rather than being based upon repeated melody figures (as "Discreet Music" was), each piece on this record seems largely based around an instrumental combination, be it acoustic pianos ("Mit Simaen"), synths and guitars ("Steinsame"), or metallic percussion and synths ("Die Bunge"). The music has an odd sense of longing and melancholy to it, a dark sound and emotive content not found in any of Eno's earlier works-- this expressiveness is startling, with pieces ranging from downright depressing and haunting ("Wehrmut") to oddly and tentatively optimistic ("Fur Luise"). To my knowledge, this is the first example of minimalist or ambient music to have such an emotive content.
I haven't heard previous issues of this album, so I can't readily compare the reissue to them, but the sound is superb-- crisp, clear, full of subtlety and nuance, and really allowing the music to breathe. A Q&A-styled set of liner notes are provided detailing a bit about the record and its history. My guess is its a worthwhile upgrade, certainly in either regard, its a good album. Recommended.
Among the pioneers were Kraftwork and the indomintable Can but one of my favourites was Cluster, with their crisp, sort of minimalist machine music (not) which one could benefit from particularly through the use of good quality headphones. Although the term industrial music has been associated with this movement that is too simplistic and certainly not in any way evocative of the music that was generated. Along with my other favourites, Faust and the more rock orientated Ash Ra Tempel, Cluster exemplified the best of the modern or more accurately post-modern music which happened to begin in Germany. For further information please refer to Julian Cope's book which should be available on one of the amazon sites and is very popular in Germany I believe.
In Britain, as always, there were some pioneers too among whom was the young Brian Eno getting a start in Roxy Music, and a lesser known figure, Eddie Jobson originally of Fat Grapple but who later associated with Curved Air among others.Read more ›
"Cluster & Eno" (9 tracks; 37 min.) is actually a step a way from Cluster's earlier repertoire in which Moebius and Roedelius tended to bring longer pieces, often driven hard by synthesizers. This album is instead a collection of purely ambient sounds, generally short pieces, with no melody, just atmospheric. It's hard to pinpoint any highlights among the 9 tracks, as this plays as one long mood piece, but it works just beautifully. It's amazing to hear this, 32 years after its original release, and how fresh it still sounds, and moreover how you can see the origins of Brian Eno's many ambient releases that would follow. This 2007 re-release comes with great liner notes as well, shedding some light on the way Cluster and Eno came about this album.
If you are interested in exploring Cluster's more electronic's side, I would readily recommend "Live 1974", available here on Amazon. Cluster would record another album with Eno in 1978, "After the Heat", which is also most definitely worth checking out. Meanwhile "Cluster & Eno" is a must for both fans of Cluster and Eno.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sky label from Europe. Great album from prior to Eno/Bowie Berlin trilogyPublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I had this on vinyl many years ago, got it from the cut out bin, was overjoyed to see it on mp3 and played it several times through. Read morePublished 7 months ago by mandocello
This,along with After the Heat, are albums I cannot live without after first listen. So full of mystery,darkness,beauty,strangeness,calmness. Everything.Published 18 months ago by Maria Morgan
What a great album. Perhaps a bit lacking in the "direction" department, but if one is looking for some kind of cliche sort of development, then why would one buy a cluster... Read morePublished on February 24, 2013 by Dylan O'Brien
This actually has a lot more going on than I thought it would. When you listen to Eno's Discreet Music or Cluster 71, you get a lot of shifting ambiance. Read morePublished on December 17, 2009 by Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ
Static noodlings that don't add much to what Eno was doing since or before, except maybe Another Green World, which is much better. Read morePublished on November 22, 2005 by M. Detko
If you like eno and cluster you must have this. It is nothing unexpected but quite good indeedPublished on April 29, 2005 by Lovblad