“Two martinis, bitte.” “Dry?” “Nein, I said two.”
Cluster playing a gig locally isn’t something you get every day of the week, but happily Capsule managed to secure their services (alongside those of Einstellung) for Brum Town Hall on the 11th of February. Example #381 of me not knowing how popular/well-known any given band is – when I first heard that this was at the town hall I thought that the venue choice sounded more than a bit on the ambitious side, but as it turned out there were absolutely loads of people in attendance.
I found myself being Edumificated in the run-up to this one, and that’s always welcome. I’d heard of the vaunted “motorik” beat many times beforehand, but never really known precisely what that meant. Sundry interviews/articles regarding Einstellung have now taught me what exactly it is (this is probably your best bet on this particular subject), and in doing so taught me why I sometimes think “that sounds a bit Krautrock” without really being able to put my finger on precisely why. It’s obvious in retrospect, but… well, y’know. I’m thick. My mate at work has since lent to me a pile of 70s Choiman-lunacy LPs, so spot-the-motorik-bit opportunities will no doubt abound.
It was surreal to see Einstellung in a place like this – I had beforehand seen them playing somewhere roughly as big when they were on the outside stage of Supersonic, but the posh-arsed town hall is something different again. Whilst good, they didn’t quite catch on fire for me the way that they usually do. This may or may not have had something to do with the one guitarist being inaudible for fair old chunks of their set – most sadly/amusingly when the rest of the band did a feedback/drone bit and he was visibly playing like mad whilst grooving and bopping around, but not actually having any effect on the sound coming forth. What was the film projected onto the screen above them? Some kind of Antarctic daring-do, rather than their usual “Wings Of Desire” larks.
Cluster’s film-projected-behind-them, on the other hand, was a static shot of a dilapidated farmhouse. Periodically a man wandered past. The significance escapes me.
I enjoyed their music, whichever way up. Krautrock (no motorik, though) or spacerock or a pre-ambient version of ambient or whichever you like – washes of (blibbly-blobbly) sampled keyboard sounds were arranged and layered around recorded/found noises in pretty and rarely straightforward fashion. Ideas were never recapitulated after being used once. It’s interesting (for me if no-one else) to note that I found the brief moments when they settled down into a groove and repeated that for a bit the most enjoyable, but found the parts between that (how they got from one place to the next, I suppose) the most interesting.
It was also lovely to just watch the two auld fellas and see them periodically glance up at one other with smiles and easy friendly gestures. They seemed to be genuinely happy about what they were doing, without the slightest hint of either smugness or I Are Serious Cat-ness. It was heartwarming.
(The only other account I’ve found of this is here, which surprised me a teensy bit. I thought there’d be loads).