Monday, May 26, 2008

Cluster at HML...

I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this weekend to repay two of my brothers for the life-altering kindness they showed me in the 70's and early 80's by including me in their esoteric and obscure musical explorations. So many of the tent poles that hold up the bizarre fabric of my current reality were forged in the fog of those strange sonic worlds that emanated from their vinyl-loving stereo rig.

One of their many great discoveries, Cluster, a German duo of thoughtful ambient ditties, renown for their work with Brian Eno, were a distant memory until Sarah mentioned that "some German band" was playing a gig at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur. You might recall the great enthusiasm I expressed after seeing Matmos there last year. Cluster in this setting was simply too rich, too dreamy to let pass. Such fond memories of their warm bleeps and bloops, Krautrock for the ecstatic yearners. Surely these were old men by now. And how great! A lifetime of painting in sound.

One of my brothers made it. The other, too busy with work, opted for cat sitting duty. The night of, about a hundred or so of us sat bundled in blankets under the stars as the warm up bands Arp and Wooden Shjips warmed up the night. Then the elder Germans took the stage. I'll say this: There's no greatest hits act for Cluster. Like fine jazz musicians playing in their prime, the show appeared to be a one-of-a-kind wonder never to be reproduced. I could be wrong about this - given the amount of technology involved in their music, there must be a certain level of non-spontaneity. Still, it all felt completely fresh and tailored precisely to the contours of Henry's chilly garden. The accompanying visuals were great too. Slow moving abstractions and geometric scaffoldings projected in the pine trees.

The next morning we ran into Messrs. Roedelius and Moebius of Cluster at Deetjens. Roedelius, on the left, was the designated fan charmer. He said they didn't play their "old stuff in order to keep from getting old." Which makes perfect sense. They were off to San Francisco to play a gig, and they were interested in knowing about the venue, where I had been. "Is it near Fisherman's Wharf?" Moebius asked. All the blissful bleeps in the world and still the tourist bug bites... Menschliches, Allzumenschliches!


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