It was in 1996 – ’97 I met Ben Knight and his girlfriend now wife, Kristina. Ben became a very significant and important vinyl partner. Attracted and drawn to him first by his strange KXLU radio show, Mirrored Audio Parkways, I liked him and his radio partner (a short-lived boyfriend who quickly became an ex a few months later). We bonded over our love of Pavement, Velvet Underground, pop music and vinyl. Their show reminded me of my friends from San Francisco. We enjoyed discovering the intuitive lineage of any good music. For us ’97 was the introduction of groovy ’60s Brazilian music and the bizarre, psychedelic, outer space soundscapes of formidable Krautrock.
We used Julian Cope’s brilliant music survey, “Krautrock Sampler,” for proper genre schooling and guidance of Julian’s keen insights. We talked about Moebius and Roedelius.
I saw Cluster last Thursday. I almost missed them. I had trouble making out the advertisement from dublab’s eMail update. Fortunately, Chris came through, telling me about a cool gig at the outdoor art gallery Farmlab, also located beneath a freeway bridge near Chinatown and Downtown L.A. He bought the tickets and we got to hang out a day earlier in our schedule too. Totally rad.
Keeping each other warm, we wandered the outdoor space, kissing under stars and watching trains roll by. Mi Ami played No-Wave Post Punk guitars and I noted to Chris to talk to him about the Contortions. Cluster then set up in front of a concrete stage – the base of a bridge. There they stood. Chris and I were the first seated in the front. Aside from keeping each other warm, the only real benefit to sitting on the cold concrete floor was how well we could enjoy the blue-green LED lights that turned the black sky yellow. I wish I had a photo of that.
What we heard were mostly ambient sounds and keyboard pulsations. Something like a Medieval gait in outer space. Their music was gentle. Their presence was the same. Dieter Moebius mostly tended to the LED curves of what we later learned to be their mixer, probably balancing between the MicroKorg and …I’ll have to ask Chris again what the other keys were. Not much structure ever seemed to evolve but that was the balance they orchestrated. That’s what we came for.
Towards the end, it hit me, “Fuck. That’s Cluster.”