The shift after Moebius and Roedelius meet Michael Rother is huge. They’ve made the first Harmonia album by this point, and Cluster now sounds like an outgrowth of that. From Rother, they get a Farfisa and drum machine (more like a rhythm box, don’t get misled) but also a taste for calm repetition and brief, catchy song forms. They’re a different band now with a new focus, though that elegant exploration thing is here, the feeling that something will be found if they let sounds and patterns unfold for long enough. Now they feel more like an actual synth band, though the guitar surges are appropriately sharp. Towards the end of the album, shades of some toothy Kluster heave into view. The influence on Eno, who ended up working with them, is obvious: short pieces and plangent, loving sounds. (Before and After Science features the members of Cluster, as well as Conny Plank.) A delightful album.

Sasha Frere-Jones

Qua cover


The Cherry Thing cover

The Cherry Thing

The Thing, Neneh Cherry
A Fickle Sonance cover

A Fickle Sonance

Jackie McLean
Angel Dust cover

Angel Dust

Faith No More
Slaves Mass cover

Slaves Mass

Hermeto Pascoal
Leaper cover


Solo Performance At Belgium 1983 cover

Solo Performance At Belgium 1983

John Cale, TH Twente Band
Out There cover

Out There

Eric Dolphy
Join Inn cover

Join Inn

Ash Ra Tempel
The American Metaphysical Circus cover

The American Metaphysical Circus

Joe Byrd & the Field Hippies