Qluster: Echtzeit

Beautiful new worq from Hans-Joachim Roedelius.

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Some 47 years after forming pioneering pre-Krautrock crew Kluster (who then became Cluster, their box set reviewed this issue), Hans-Joachim Roedelius is still active and still making extraordinary music.

An electronically driven counterpart to 2014’s Tasten, wherein three pianos combine to sumptuous and mesmerising effect, Echtzeit is a meditative marvel. Where its predecessor drifted serenely with only occasional detours into unsettling ambience, this owes far more to minimalist techno and the looping haze of Cluster’s 1974 masterpiece Zuckerzeit than it does to the classical realm, and yet fans of Nils Frahm and Max Richter will feel immediately at home in the warm, fuzzy echo chamber mirages of Verweile Doch and Glasperlenspiel. Circular phrasing, refined harmonic infusions and acres of reverb-drenched space are the chief tools employed, but there’s a wonderful melodic elegance here. Plenty of gorgeous piano too, seeping through momentary gaps in the woozy mélange, anchoring Qluster’s flights of ephemeral fancy to the real world, but never allowing sharp edges to puncture the reverie. A beautiful, ingenious work from an old master.