Cluster - Qua

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2010-02-22

The Krautrock legends return with their first new album since 1995 and it's almost as if they've never been away. Anyone familiar with the back catalogue of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius will know exactly where they are once the minimalist analogue bubble bath of first track 'Lerandis' begins. Cluster's music remains as bewitching as it ever was, able to conjure entire fantasy worlds from spare, mercurial sounds on tracks like 'Protrea' and the softly undulating 'Na Ernel'.

Unlike kosmiche contemporaries Tangerine Dream or electronica descendants like The Orb, Cluster manage to avoid drifting into woolly chill-out dullness thanks to the brevity of most their songs, while the hard metallic edge and tribal percussion 'Putoli' and 'Malturi Sa' keep things surprising without ever seeming like silly world music tourism. Almost 40 years after their first, self-titled album, Cluster might not quite be the future anymore, but without their innovations it's doubtful acts as diverse and seminal as Boards of Canada, Radiohead, Underworld, Autechre or Flying Lotus would sound anything like they do now.

Richard Morris

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