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every piece on 'qua', however concrete it might be in its production, remains ambiguous and open. but are we even speaking here about pieces, or works, or tracks? according to the old fashioned definition of a work, a composed piece of music is defined among other things by its duration. for this reason alone the term doesn't apply to cluster's music. for their pieces, or let's call them 'musical units', start and at some point end again. what happens between the start and the end is infinite. each of these units could easily have been longer. each piece wants to and should never end. this is the magic in cluster's music. how many bands have been set on their way since the release of cluster's first album in 1971, doing somehow repetitive, loop-based music. none have quite reached the sometimes friendly, sometimes disconcerting stoicism of their role-models. for all its eventfulness and sonic richness, cluster never sound staged. the events and changes in sound don't want to force a new direction on the pieces, sorry, musical units. they just happen, almost unintentionally and as if by their own accord. and so cluster lead us through their new, utterly timeless album as though through a garden full of strange plants. we stand amazed in front of each of these plants. some have wildly rampant lives of their own, others almost leafless, with barren branches. the source of rhythm on 'qua' is often one solitary pulse of undisclosed origin; bass-drum, snare and hi-hat are rarely used. on 'na ernel' they generate a beat that stumbles along as if the cd were jumping. but gradually a groove emerges out of the piece and the endlessness has us again. cluster have been making music for nearly 40 years. they have long since earned legendary status. if this bands music had lost any of its currentness, one would honor it as a gesamtkunstwerk. but it's far too early for that, as cluster are as productive, wide awake and important as ever before.
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