Kluster

Admira 1971


imprec179   cd


2nd pressing now available in a jewel box with ultra high gloss booklet and tray card.

The first pressing is sold out. It was limited to 1000 copies and packaged in a deluxe embossed gatefold jacket made to emulate the original die stamped embossed packaging for Kluster''s album Klopfzeichen.

Admira is sourced from original master recordings discovered by Kluster member, and Tangerine Dream engineer, Klaus Freudigmann. Along with Vulcano, also being released at the same time on Important, Admira is presented here for the first time in this deluxe package. These intense sessions were made with Schnitzler at the helm, as always, after the departure of Mobius and Roedelius from the group.

Conrad Schnitzler founded Kluster in 1969 along with Roedelius, Mobius and often Klaus Freudigmann who had multiple roles within the group as a player, engineer and instrument inventor. Eventually Roedelius and Mobius left Kluster and continued on as Cluster while Schnitzler and Freudigmann continued as Kluster often exploring the communal aspects of music by bringing new people into the group.

I founded the music group Kluster after my exit 1969 from the group GERÄUSCHE (Zodiak with A.Roedelius and Boris Schak).Between 1969 to 1972 I worked with different friends,with TD among others.With them I tried to perform the music of my imagination .

Finally Klaus Freudigmann and Wolfgang Seidel remained at the work continuously over the years. In addition there were several actions with A.Roedelius and D.Möbius where the LPs KLUSTER Klopfzeichen,Osterei and Eruption were made. Instruments, amplifyer and effects I gave D.Moebius because he had had no own equipment. I dindn''t want the music to remind of the normal. My criterias were not folk music, not rock music, not pop songs and not dance music. The idea for "Cluster" later "Kluster" (I wanted to avoid americanisms) is not only a name for a group but a form of music.

I had amplifier,instruments ,contact mikes and effects, that could used by the others, too. Klaus had tape machines and microphones. In addition he constructed instruments and electronical sound generators, which made the most undescribable sounds. Wolfgang had everything connected with drum and base and in addition amplifier and effects.

Klaus had rooms where we could work out our music performances. The tapes "Electric Meditation" with TD were made in one of that spaces. Most of the performances happened with friends who took part in the actions; therefore Conrad,Klaus,Wolfgang and friends. I''ve got all rights at that music. The numberings of the single CDRs have nothing to do with the date of the creation of the music. I''ve numbered them, because I''ve dubbed them.

That was difficult and I tried to do it as best as possible on CDR. A special date for the creation of the single tapes couldn`t be find out,therefore the date of the creation- years 1969-1973. After that there were only sporadical actions with KLUSTER,no money for place to play, only cold winter.

-- Conrad Schnitzer

When you look at documentaries from the late sixties, it looks like California was everywhere. Endless summer. Or a never ending Woodstock. What we did not know then was that the Woodstock movie showed the pictures people wanted to see. The guys who made the film knew that and the success at the box office was their reward for not disappointing their audience’s expectations. Berlin was quite different – West-Berlin, the half of the city where Kluster was founded. When my mind wanders back it was always winter. These winters were bitter cold. We lived in old houses with little coal ovens. Keeping them working and finding the money for coal was a task that could consume half of your day. No wander that in German the word ‘Kohle’ (= coal) stands for money.

Two years ago I visited Klaus Freudigmann, member of Kluster and sound engineer for a lot of other bands from those early days of what eventually was coined ‘Krautrock’ (a term I did not like because it puts totally different people and music under one label that do not fit together). The reason for this visit was a planned book on one of these bands. It turned out that Klaus Freudigmann still kept some of their recordings in a suitcase, mainly the intermediate stages of the recording process. Multi-track still lay in the future. He worked with two tape recorders playing ping pong between them (for Kluster he’d made long tape loops we used in our sessions). To our surprise out of that suitcase that hadn’t been opened for twenty years popped a bundle of tapes from the Kluster sessions (1970 – 1973). They had stood the time quite well and the sound wasn’t so bad either because we had amplifiers with direct recording outputs, which was an unusual feature at that time. Two of these recording had been chosen as bonus tracks for the Captain Trip re-releases of the first two Kluster-lps. For that purpose we had to give names to them, something Conrad Schnitzler had abandoned years ago and from then on only numbering his work. When we had to think about names for ‘songs’ the first memories that sprung to our minds were: ‘cold winter’ and ‘black spring’. As the winters were cold, spring was black. Over the months of the cold season the snow got drenched with the ingredients of the smoke pouring out of a million chimneys (plus the product of Berlin’s largest population: dogs). And while the snow melted away the cinder stayed and covered the streets with a black mud. What made things worse – in the eastern half of the city they fuelled their ovens with cheap brown coal. Its smoke smelled like rotten eggs. Not only to the nose the socialist paradise was more like brimstone from hell. And the poisonous exhaust wasn’t stopped by the wall, the East had built to keep their share of the people happily flocked under what they mistook as socialism. The wall was not high enough to stop the smoke going from east to west. And it was not high enough either to stop rock and roll and Coca Cola from transmitting their message from west to east. Something were the east could not compete. The reason was that their country christened as ‘German Democratic Republic’ was not much democratic but very, very German letting their army parade with the same goose step that the neighbouring countries had learned to fear.

Rock and roll and its most adventurous sibling pychedelia were effective remedies against climatic, political and mental cold. To perform our brand of music from an outside world, we sat up a little tent in a ballroom that went out of business years before. We built it from transparent plastic and heated it with electric fans. The room was painted completely black except for one wall that was covered with aluminium foil – a novelty in those days – reflecting and warping the lights from our tent. I still wonder who paid the bill for the electricity we’d consumed. Nobody – that was one of the reasons why we had to find another place. The next stop was one floor of an abandoned factory were Klaus Freudigmann lived and recorded. Downstairs was a print shop where a large portion of the posters, newspapers and books of the radical left had been printed. The rata-ta-clac of the printing machines mixed with our music. For me that connection led to a twenty years engagement, earning my living in print shops, until I decided to switch, finding myself a job with a television company. It turned out to be a wise decision in times where fewer and fewer people read books.

The factory at Admiralstrasse housed us for a year or so. Things changed quickly at the end of the 60ies / early 70ies. Everybody was on the move, experimenting with live without long discussions over the possible risks involved. Behind us was a prosperous decade and everybody lived in the belief that things can only get better. The only thing people feared, was stagnation. West Berlin was the last place the German ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ had arrived, but the optimism that ruled these years was felt there, too. And we had chosen this backyard of prospering West Germany, because living was cheap and it was easy to find a place to stay in a city where lots of people and a large portion of the companies had left heading west. We moved back to the ballroom. This time to a smaller room under the roof. Conrad had painted it completely white – walls, ceiling and floor. And he tagged white fabric to large frames. Behind these frames went the speakers, other stuff we did not need at hand and neon lights. As a result we found ourselves with our instruments in a white, featureless place that appeared much larger than it actual was. It looked a bit like the interior of the space ship in Kubrick’s 2001. And as experienced space travellers we knew ways to achieve weightlessness.

Our wallets could have done better with some weight. You could not easily starve in West Berlin’s ghost economy that ran mostly on state subsidies to keep it functioning as showcase of the free west. But getting rich was difficult either. Not with a normal nine to five job – and that was definitely not what we were after. So the white room was another short lived episode. Earning sufficient amounts of money with music proved to be difficult, too. What we did was only for a small audience – and we knew it. But even if you aimed at a larger market, things were not easy. Rock music and what went with it was largely believed as critical against capitalism. This involved that your audience expected that culture is something that has to be accessible to everybody without any profits involved. I still believe that these ideas are worth thinking about. But it doesn’t make the life of artists or musicians easier. You end up understanding whatt Adorno meant when he wrote: "there is no right life within wrong life". But what we could do was getting our little whiff of a life outside that ‘wrong’. A lot of what is written about the term ‘Krautrock’ circles around esoteric believes, a search for your inner self. That’s one of the reasons why I dislike that label. You’re a product of the society you are living in. What you see reflected when you look into you is that society. But you are no robot either. You can make decisions. But to change your inner self, you have to change society, too. That implies that your fantasy steps as far outside this society as possible instead of huddle in your self like a child. That’s why I remember that transparent plastic tent at the old ballroom that floated like a little bubble of light in the darkness of space. It seemed to come out of one of the science fiction novels I’ve read during my school years. At that time such stories had been my vehicle to get ‘outside’. In later years music did this job.

- - Wolfgang Seidel

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