Cluster - 1979 - Grosses Wasser LP (GER)
Cluster is a German experimental musical group who influenced the development of contemporary popular electronic and ambient music. They have recorded albums in a wide variety of styles ranging from experimental music to progressive rock, all of which had an avant-garde edge. Cluster has been active since 1971, releasing a total of 13 albums. Musician, writer and rock historian Julian Cope places three Cluster albums in his Krautrock Top 50 and "The Wire" places Cluster's self-titled debut album in their "One Hundred Records That Set The World On Fire".
After a decade long hiatus Cluster reunited in April, 2007. They were selected to perform on June 15, 2007 at the opening of documenta 12, a major exhibition of modern and contemporary art held every five years in Kassel, Germany. In late 2007 Cluster performed at concerts across Europe and will return to the United States for the first time since their 1996 First Encounter tour in 2008.
Cluster's musical style has varied greatly over the years, ranging from Kosmische Musik to Experimental Music on early albums, to rhythmic Krautrock or Progressive rock on Zuckerzeit and After the Heat, to New Age or Ambient Music on many tracks in the middle to late '70s, to truly avant-garde or industrial on Live in Vienna. Cluster always has an avant-garde edge even on gentle, ambient pieces. Michael Waynick, who reviewed Cluster & Eno for Allmusic writes a description that applies to more than the one album: "...too emotionally rich to waste as mere background music, evoking feelings of hesitancy and regret that rescue the music from mere vapid prettiness."
The diversity of styles on the various Cluster albums, with significant changes in musical direction from one release to the next, makes it difficult to categorize Cluster's music. The factors which are present on all 13 albums include the use of electronic instrumentation, loops, and the use of unexpected sounds to create a sense of experimentation.
Cluster has been widely influential not only to ambient and electronic music artists, but to techno, electronica and popular music as well. Artists and groups whose music has been influenced by Cluster include Robert Rich, John Foxx (formerly of Ultravox), Alex Paterson of The Orb, Coil, Oval, To Rococo Rot, and Mouse on Mars.
Grosses Wasser is the seventh album by the electronic music outfit Cluster. It was co-produced by former Tangerine Dream member Peter Baumann. Grosses Wasser marked the return to Cluster working as a duo of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius after two albums collaborating with Brian Eno.
Grosses Wasser was recorded and released in 1979 on the Hamburg, Germany based Sky label. It featured a wide variety of styles, including some of the most avant-garde material created by Moebius and Roedelius since the demise of Kluster with Conrad Schnitzler's departure in 1971, particularly during the middle section of the title track, which occupied all of side 2. Other tracks, including "Manchmal" and both the opening and closing sections of "Grosses Wasser" continued the gentle, melodic style of the previous three albums, while others echoed the rhythmic style of Zuckerzeit, albeit with more of an edge. Steven and Alan Freeman, writing in their book The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, describe the title track, in part, as "...a lengthy suite growing out of silence with atmospheric Florian Fricke-like sustained piano tones, via bizarre crackling electronics onto almost tribal-industrial rock percussives."
Grosses Wasser was first reissued on CD by Sky Records in 1992. It was first released in the U.S. by the Gyroscope label on March 19, 1996. A 1,000 copy limited edition digitally remastered CD was released on the Japanese Captain Trip label on September 20, 2007.