The second Cluster album shrinks their debut's wild electronica into smaller bite-sized dramas.
The second Cluster album mixes tapes from Hamburg's Star Studio and a live performance at the legendary Fabrik. It was the first to have a general release outside of West Germany, and so was the entry point for many of the band's lifelong fans. It's also the first album in the Roedelius discography to have short track timings and actual titles. Even so, radio friendly it ain't. Moebius' stark cover painting captures the atmosphere of these lo-fi noctures. "Like a host of factory machines left on overnight," said one bemused critic of "Live in Der Fabrik" which places you in the front seat of the legendary Hamburg club where the musicians have apparently departed the stage and left their synthesisers to get on with it. The album's centrepiece "Im Suden" is built around a simple guitar stanza, a two note bass line and a vague pulsing rhythm machine, repeats over and over with liberal use of phasers and flangers to mechanically vary the tempo and texture. On "Georgel", it seems a poltergeist is sitting at a malfunctioning organ, spooking out randomly changing pitches and timbres. Hold on to the humour aspect here, otherwise there's nothing in the way of melody or beauty here.
Source: Stephen Iliffe