Magnificent reissue of this tape obscurity from 1980, Cluster's eighth album (the first of three live LPs) originally released on the YHR label (which was curated by Pump's David Elliott), also including archival material never before issued on CD. With so much stuff from this era coming to the surface recently it's sometimes easy to get blasé about it all, but this is one you really ought to give your fullest attention to. As the title says, this was recorded live in Vienna in 1980 at the Wiener Festwochen Alternativ, replete with all the ferric static, atmospheric noise and inherent hazy gremlins you've grown to adore about these artefacts. But that's by-the-by, as the music within is of the most seductive teutonic avant-garde variety, featuring six tracks of free-roaming and intuitive kosmiche improvisations, both highly experimental and engrossing to the core. 'Service' draws us in with a tentative display of arcing synthesizers and ominous gong tones before the unusual addition of Joshi Farnbauer beautifully meshes his percussion into their vast sonorous scapes, gradually evolving into a stunning 30 minute improv session. The effect is so compelling you can almost hear the audience collectively holding their breath, waiting for the next spurt of ideas or plume of discordant synth signaling the next phase. Two shorter tracks, the disturbing 'Kurz' and its martial typewriter rhythm follow into the more classical 'Piano', presumably conducted by Roedelius, completing the first disc. The second disc opens with an overheard exclamation of "Schiese!" and into the controlled urgency of 'Drums', winding unsteady and explorative drum patterns around a bobbling synthesizer until the two copulate like the genesis of Techno, EBM and all that, happening right before your ears. This track is nothing short of genuinely mindblowing! In the longer 25-minute centre-piece 'Metalle', the trio are joined by more percussionists, the mysteriously monikered Jürs and Rapnik, as the ensemble expands to embark on a mystical trip full of shuddering Faustian sheet metal, unpredictable percussive quirks and epic synthesizer shapes morphing and coagulating like some mechanized astral jazz trip. Again, Rodelius closes the show with the contrast of his fluid piano sequences, joined by tender, spidery percussion tingling like the hairs on the back of my neck right now. This album is a bona fide stunner, ESSENTIAL.
Cat. number: IMPREC 308CD