Cluster Zuckerzeit (Anniversary Edition)

Label
Bureau B
Released
14th June 2024

Format Info

LP - 180g Black Vinyl

In 1974, Cluster entered the sugar era. This doesn’t mean that they had finally arrived in their promised land, but they had simply moved from Berlin to the country, to a small place called Forst on the river Weser. Many a thing had changed for band members Moebius and Roedelius since Cluster II: They had moved from boisterous Berlin to this calm rural village, they had founded the band Harmonia, had set up their own studio and had bought new equipment. As a result of this and many other things, new impulses were noticeably spurring the evolution of their music.

The album Zuckerzeit (“sugar era”) launched a revolution for Cluster. Strictly speaking, Zuckerzeit is not ­really an album by Cluster. More pre­cisely, the LP contains two mini solo al­bums by Moebius and Roedelius. Those who were familiar with the stylistic pe­culiarities of the two musicians could easily relate the solo pieces to either one of them. As Roedelius and Moebius had not yet released any solo works by the time, it was actually not possible to draw up any comparisons yet. What could be clearly heard, though, was that there were two different musical attitudes to be found on one album. One thing they did have in common was the consistent use of the analogue rhythm machine. This was something new for Cluster inasmuch as on their last album Cluster II, they had still focussed on completely different methods that were to give structure to the pieces. Zuckerzeit, on the contrary, is designed in a clearly rhythmical way: a rhythm machine, triggered synths and harmonic patterns played by hand inspired life and imagination on the melody lines: This was different as well.

Once again, Roedelius and Moebius took on work in such a remarkably light-hearted and down-to-earth manner as was typical of Cluster. Zuckerzeit is light and cheerful, freed from the Germanic gravity and the mystic incense fumes that were so fashionable at the time. Cluster man­ aged to keep both feet on the ground without becoming plain or even sterile. The friendliness of the music is clear­ly due to the two personalities of Roedelius and Moebius; its down-to-earth character possibly comes from Michael Rother, the album’s co-producer. Michael Rother had already performed with Kraftwerk and had founded the band NEU! together with Klaus Dinger before moving to idyllic Forst himself in 1973. The same year, the band Harmonia (Roedelius, Moebius, Rother) was born. The music might also have been influenced by the lovely environment of the hilly countryside surrounding them. We are told that some of the visitors to Forst had believed themselves in Tolkien’s Shire, although nobody had ever seen hobbits in the area. Maybe this impression was an all too romantic one.

Other Releases by Cluster