Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Qluster - Fragen (2011)

A year after Qua, Roedelius and Moebius announced that Cluster had come to an end; that same year, Qluster was announced as the next Roedelius project, described as "the extraordinary shedding of skin of one of the most important German electronic groups".  This album, the first of six and counting, was the first under the new name.

Joining Roedelius was sound artist, producer and musician Onnen Bock, who had barely been born back when Cluster made Zuckerzeit, and first met the living legend in 1991.  Fragen wasn't their first recording together, but as the first Qluster release it was the ideal introduction to this great project.  On this initial evidence at least (I've only heard half of the Qluster catalogue so far and it's quite diverse - they later become a trio), Bock brought out the more free-form, kosmiche ambient side of Roedelius that stretched all the way back to the Cluster II album and beyond, whilst updating the sonic palate perfectly.

Only one of the seven tracks on Fragen stretches out quite as much as Cluster of old, though - the 13-minute Wurzelwelt even brings to mind latter-day Coil in its extended dark ambience.  The rest average about four minutes, and pulse away in gentle, exploratory space, occasionally bursting into a more melodic light (the end of Auf der Alm), and more often stark and austere with a subtle rhythmic pulse when needed.  All in all a fantastic album that bode well for this latest chapter in the Roedelius story.

alt. link (zippy)


  1. I wasn't expecting too much, but was pleasantly surprised..this is a very good album with a nice blend of analog & digital sounds. The first track even recalls some of the early Kluster experiments, to my ears anyway. I'll take Roedelius's vision of ambience over Eno's any day. Cheers

  2. Hello Alan, Hello John,

    thanks for your thoughts on our Album.
    I didn't expect a short review for "Fragen" after six years, but
    I'm happy that our music pleases your senses.

    The Album Fragen is edited nearly just with fades at the beginning and the end
    of each track. The tracks on the album are exerpts from longer improvisations
    on pure analog synthesizers (the only digital was the vintage Lexicon model 200 reverberation and the recording).
    The only piece which is digitally processed to get into a complete new shape
    is "Haste Töne", which is based on piano passages we recorded for "Antworten" and than streched the piano as first layer in the timedomain with abletons "live" and as a second layer cutted it rhythmically.

    As I worked in the same electronic studio of the Tecnical University like Gerhard Behles (Ableton) before, we were connected in Berlin. In the studio he was focussed on a program for granular synthesis called "stampede", which was the forerunner of "live". So instead of analog purism and possible editing with an old transcription springer- maschine, I decided to use the "new musical gear" in "Live".
    Later we recognized the beauty and "analog quality"and so integrated it alongside the other pure analog pieces.

    Wish you the best,

    P.S.: Alan you have written, that you have only heard half of the Qluster catalogue so far. Just get in touch, if you want: onnen (at) qluster (dot) info

    1. Thanks Onnen, great to hear from you with some fascinating information about the Qluster working process! All the best for future works, Alan

    2. Thank you for listening to and writing about our music. Best wishes, Onnen