Cluster & Eno – S/T (CD)

For an ambient/landscape type of album, this self-titled first collaboration between Eno and Cluster is tremendously short in a temporal way. However, the instrumentation present on the disc is rich enough and logical to such a degree that one will be utterly immersed in the music after a mere three minutes of the opening “Ho Renomo”. The electronic violin that starts off “Schon Hande” makes for a small bit or organic to be inserted into what was a previously inorganic-heavy album. The slight notes of vocals (not lyrical, but just primeval voices) that sneak in during the track give this track a much more tribal feel than anything previously on the album. The investment that one has to make to gain the full experience from the disc is not a small one; even with the technological limitations present during the period, there is so much going on in what outwardly sounds puny and Spartan.

For example, “Steinsame” sounds as if there is one dominant instrument throughout the majority of the track, but barely audible twists and turns make the track into something much more interesting and engrossing than that previous thought would have listeners believe. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of the compositions on this disc on the musical forms that would soon issue forth. “Wehrmut” is a track that would sound perfectly in place during atmospheric gothic music like Black Tape For A Blue Girl; what Cluster & Eno do during this track is provide a wide-open field with their music that allows errant notes to resound with all the fury of a natural disaster. By assigning lengths to the tracks on this album that would work well in popular music, Cluster & Eno allow a greater number of listeners to find their way through the disc.

Many of the more experimental recordings have tremendously long tracks ( a la classical compositions), a fact that does not sit well with the ADD/short attention span album-buying public. By far, Cluster & Eno succeed the most on this disc in synthesizing a vocal presence that is most noticeable on “Selange”. What the disc taught future generations of musicians was that beautiful compositions could be made that in no way adhere to what is commonly construed as “beautiful”. Thus, the electronic blips and boops of “Die Bunge” work well alongside the horse-clop drumbeats, and their fusion creates something that has the aesthetic qualities to reach a greater segment of the listening audience.

Top Tracks: Die Bunge, Steinsame

Rating: 7.0/10

Cluster & Eno – S/T / 2005 Water / 9 Tracks / / Reviewed 20 August 2005

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