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Qluster - Lauschen

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Artist: Qluster

Album: Lauschen

Label: Bureau B

Review date: Mar. 4, 2013

When a guy’s more than halfway through his 70s, there’s not much point in wasting time. So when Cluster (formerly known as Kluster) packed it in three years ago, Hans-Joachim Roedelius didn’t dally long before he started Qluster with Onnen Bock, an electronic musician who wasn’t even alive when Kluster made their first record. They quickly made three inter-related records; Lauschen, a concert recording that features an additional knob-twiddler, Armin Metz, is Qluster’s fourth.

But while Roedelius didn’t slack about getting the band in gear, he certainly hasn’t sullied its music with unseemly urgency. In keeping with Cluster’s work in their last years, Qluster’s music unfolds at a leisurely pace, like a conversation between some people who have no particular destination and no deadline to get there. So if you want to sand away at a long synth line with a minute or two of digital buffing, feel free. If you want to slow that conversation by placing a big swell of sub-bass in front of an unraveling thread of Moog melody, go right ahead. And if you want to twirl that undone braid over your head with a slow, circular motion, no one’s going to stop you.

That lack of urgency is both a virtue and a deficit. Lauschen proceeds with an air of mild, engaged curiosity, like a dowser who is fully confident that his rod will find a well if he only gives it some time. You find stuff that way that a hastier searcher might miss. But this occurs at the expense of imparting any sense that the outcome is important. No, what you see along the way is what you get, and there are passages where that might not seem like enough.

While this record doesn’t lapse into the New Age ether like Roedelius’s piano-focused ’90s recordings, it isn’t going to place the hook and set it in your ear like Zuckerzeit or Musik Von Harmonia, either. It’s a bit like the later records that Conrad Schnitzler, Roedelius’s old mate in Kluster, made near the end; fully involved with its own process, but not overburdened with a sense of self-importance. After all, when you’ve been making records for over 40 years, you might be glad that you get to make another, but you might also not be too awed at the fact that you are.

By Bill Meyer

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