The first of the seminal Kluster trilogy that blends drones, industrial and primitive electronica.
In which Hans-Joachim Roedelius forms a trio with two other non-musicians at West Berlin's underground Zodiak Free Arts Lab - Conrad Schnitzler and Dieter Moebius. They've clearly been listening to Stockhausen circa 1964 - it drones, clicks and boings, and all that. But the frenetic pace of Klopfzeichen locates a wormhole between the maestro's art house sonorities and the adrenaline rush of late 1960s psychedelic rock. Electric guitars feature, alongside organ and cello fed into echo units and sound processors. Yet without the reassuring lollipops of 4/4 rhythms or beats it makes even the Velvet Underground seem effete.
Side one features an eerie female voice reciting a modern fable of West Germany's Bundesrepublik as a sickness in need of the counterculture's shock therapy.
Side two is purely instrumental. On first hearing, it may seem noisy and chaotic - yet over the duration of these two 20 minute tracks, the intuitive ensemble playing is remarkably assued. There's a subtle painterly discipline at work. "Each loop or repetition is slightly out of synch" notes writer Ed Pinsent, "so each sound event yields a slightly new configuration; kaleidoscopic, shifting into new patterns like a snowflake melting on a slide."
Only 300 copies of the original vinyl LP in a black embossed plastic sleeve were ever released by the Schwann label - now fetching $1,000 upwards.
Source: Stephen Iliffe