Spotlight 17
Anneli Drecker

Aegri Somnia
Susan Alcorn
Damián Anache
A Sides and Makoto
Heather Woods Broderick
Atrium Carceri
Robert Crouch
Anneli Drecker
David Evans
Anne Garner
Tania Giannouli
Peter Gregson
Grönnert and Mondfish
Emily Hall
Hidden Orchestra
Hior Chronik
Hilde Marie Holsen
Deborah Martin
Scott Miller
Monkey Plot
Kate Moore
Mr. Jones
NOW Ensemble
Numina + Zero Ohms
Kristoffer Oustad
Pete Oxley & Nicolas Meier
Bruno Sanfilippo
Maria Schneider
Dirk Serries
Robert Scott Thompson
Skydive Trio
Time Being
toy.bizarre / EMERGE
T_st & Dronelock
Kamasi Washington
Andrew Weathers
Yen Pox
Young & Martin

EPs / Cassettes / DVDs / Mini-Albums / Singles
Alex Agore
Bird People / Waterflower
Donna McKevitt
M. Mucci
Nattavaara Rocks

Qluster: Tasten
Bureau B

That's Qluster, not Kluster, the outfit formed in 1969 by Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Dieter Moebius, and Conrad Schnitzler, and not Cluster either, the name adopted after Schnitzler's 1972 departure. There is a connection, however, between the three groups: Qluster features mainstay Roedelius, this time joined by fellow pianists Onnen Bock and Armin Metz.

Qluster actually started out as a duo featuring Roedelius partnering with keyboardist and electronic musician Bock before bass virtuoso Metz climbed aboard in 2013. Tasten, a fifty-minute sequel to 2012's Antworten, is a purely piano-generated work, however, that sees the three musicians exploiting the sonic potential of three Steinway concert grands in memorable manner.

Tasten aligns itself strongly to the neo-classical movement we've come to associate with the likes of Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds, and the chiming currents generated by three overlapping Steinways makes for an arresting and oft-elegant result. Certainly anyone who's swooned to the sounds of Frahm will likely respond in similar manner to the seductive allure of the opening “Traum vom Fliegen” and hypnotic reverie “Il Campanile.” There's no shortage of shimmering piano minimalism to be heard on the nine-track recording (playfulness, too, as illustrated by “Karussell”), and echoes of Cluster—acoustically rendered, of course—surface in the lulling patterns that sometimes cycle and swell through the background of a given piece.

In some pieces the keyboard alone is played, whereas in others the piano's percussive side is explored. During “Über den Dächern,” elegant phrases are buttressed by sounds of the inner strings being stroked, plucked, and prodded, the six-minute setting sounding much like a live take the three produced by using the central phrase as a stabilizing core. That the strategy is applied elsewhere, too, gives the music a quasi-improvised feel, suggesting that the three recorded the tracks in real-time using basic notation as both roadmap and springboard. Regardless of how exactly Qluster created Tasten, there are moments of beauty here, among them “Spiegel im Spiegel,” whose ripples ebb and flow like some elemental force of nature, and the ruminative “Spuren im Schnee.”

July-August 2015