One of my absolute favourite albums. This 1978 album combines all the best bits from the contemporary scene: glorious analogue synths, Eno's warped 70s avant pop, pastoral beauty and spacy weirdness. It mixes the usual instrumental sketches that Cluster were releasing around this time, with vocal tracks - including backward Eno vocals on the distinctly odd Tzima N'arki. There are brilliant compositions on here - Base & Apex is amazing - suffused with a luminous warmth as well as a kind of elegaic melancholy. This may have something to do with being engineered by Conny Plank at his own studio, but by this time all three artists were seasoned veterans with a large output behind them. Holger Czukay even adds bass to one track. In fact, I'm just looking at my cds - this was the second album by the trio - 1977 saw the release of the self-titled Cluster & Eno.
The result is totally assured, with deft embellishments where necessary using acoustic intruments; but it also has a perfect sense of space and pace, as if the compositions are allowed to build their own organic momentum, and gently roll on toward their conclusions. Nothing is rushed, there are no extra layers or instruments crammed in. Eno's vocals, and his obtuse lyrics, fit in perfectly somehow, and the result is an object of glowing beauty.
I have the old Sky LP of this, and the Japanese cd reissue I ripped this from has a different running order. The LP had all the vocal tracks on side B, and all the gentler piano led pieces on side A. I listened to side B a lot more, and I get the impression that the LP was supposed to gradually increase the psychedelic quotient, and fry your brain a bit after the gentle opening. The new running order makes it a more even listen.
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