Japan 1996 Live
After a six-year break, Cluster's stunning comeback album - a homage to the Orient.
Don't be put off by the 70-minute length of "Muse Hall" this slow burning narrative has the cumulative force of a Kurosawa epic. Three decades of risk taking have gifted Cluster with the quiet conviction to play live with pre-prepared samples and freely improvise over them and allow sounds to evolve of their own accord. It begins quietly with gently pulsing drones that unfurl a monochrome Zen landscape filled with quixotic call and response sounds that hint at birdsong, a plucked koto, metallic insectoid noises, the swirling current of a river. You're left to impose your own meaning on these sonic events (a sure sign of great music) but the feeling of a pilgrim's progress across vast landscapes and open skies is unmistakable. After half an hour of questing music, we stumble into an urban dystopia; industrial Kraut beats to menacing clicks to road rage squalls of atonal noise. Then we resume the long march through another pastoral landscape. The final 25 minutes is a cinematic tour de force of delicate improv as the interplay between Moebius and Roedelius becomes telepathic. Cluster's quietest and most restrained album yet a powerful one for all that.
Source: Stephen Iliffe