Qluster - Fragen
If the lush, cold ambient electronic buzz percolating beneath the main melody on "Los ghet's" doesn't clue you in to the fact that this is a German record, it might be time to review your Krautrock (hint: google Julian Cope's Head Heritage). "Fragen" is a distillation and deconstruction of over forty year's worth of electronic genius by Krautrock legend Hans-Joachim Roedelius, whose various projects since 1969 have included Kluster, Cluster and Harmonia. Qluster is the first of a planned trilogy with collaborator Onnen Bock, whose work in sound has variously involved him with the likes of the Berlin Philharmonic, Zeitkratzer ensemble and Keiji Haino.
All seven songs build of a simple classic electronica motif, and slows them down to a compelling crawl that is cinematic and disorienting. Roedelius and Bock are slowing us down to witness the scene of an accident, but that accident is the creamy clash of electronics with latent spiritual power that has been the hallmark of Krautrock. The twelve minute "Wurzelwelt" is a history lesson and distillation of the power of that essential music.
The closer, "Josef Z." adds a cut-up, abrasive over the ambient pulse, suggesting that maybe the second part of the trilogy will explore new directions for the genre. Humble, but broad enough to evoke past and future, the music on "Fragen" is insular, but full of cosmic space. Qluster may only be with us for a couple more releases, but the legend of what Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Onnen Bock have accomplished in German experimental music will only continue to grow and challenge.
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