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The two members of Cluster may have a combined age of 140 but they haven't come to the UK on a Saga holiday; no, the influential and experimental Krautrockers are giving a lesson in knob-twiddling to a seated audience of almost 3000, warming the crowd up for headliners Tortoise.
Towards the end of the fully-electronic support set, the Chicago-based post-rock veterans make their entrance and the two bands collaborate to produce a powerful improvised soundscape of noise. The result sounds like aliens communicating with each other through megaphones.
After the carefully scheduled break (such is the norm for civilised concerts), Tortoise re-enter to a polite but rapturous round of applause. Fan or no-fan, you can't help but admire the musicianship on stage – not only do they each take their turn on different instruments, they often swap mid-song, from beautiful crunchy guitars to dirty synthesisers, from pulsing electric bass to the mellow vibraphone.
Complex rhythms are a strong feature of the night, especially when the two drummers take to their individual kits to create impossible sounding beats. Layered above this are short instrumental motifs which combine to produce a unique brand of minimalist, melodic, math-rock. Throw in a strong jazz influence too and it's easy to see why they are one of the favourites at the forward-looking London Jazz Festival.
Slick and continuous, their polished set is refreshing seeing as they're less than a week into a three-week European tour, which comes to a close at the sold-out ATP 10th anniversary festival at Butlins, Minehead in December.
The incredibly tight set had a post-rock architecture to it, building to a climax before the encore in which the tension was released. Had they cranked up the volume, trimmed down their setlist and extended their more epic tunes, it would have been a perfect performance.
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