Gig reviews

Cluster (live In Dublin)

Feb 7

Written by:
Sunday, February 07, 2010  RssIcon

Cluster (Live in The Village, Dublin)

Review Snapshot: So-called “pioneers of ambient music” fail to light fires at Dublin venue, The Village, but perform a convincing showcase for the latest “relaxing bathing tunes” CD collection.

The Cluas Verdict? 4/10

Full Review:

ClusterCluster are a German electronic/experimental group which are often referred to as the “pioneers of ambient music”. When preparing to see them perform live, this tag is likely to raise your expectations. Which will be significantly lowered once the duo (Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) begin playing their less than exhilarating set list.

It would be unfair to strip the group of their “pioneer” status, as they have clearly influenced bands that have helped to shape music in the last 15+ years such as Air and Röyksopp. However their live performance left a lot to be desired when they played Dublin's The Village on Saturday, 6th of February.

Cluster played a mix of what some might call “classic” songs, from their older albums such as “Für Luise” and some tracks off their most recent works. In a live performance the music was unmoving, but it was clear that in other situations, it would have its benefits. “Bath Music” one reveller called it in a mumbled conversation by the bar.

The room remained virtually still under the command of the duo's almost intimidating soft and arty music, as was it clearly divided into those who had an interest in German ambient music, and those who came for the experience. Those with a vested interest nodded approvingly at Cluster’s performance, those who were unused to this kind of gig experience stared, bemused at the ageing pioneers, or made confused faces to their companions.

Unfortunately, there is little to say on the group's performance, as is generally expected from an electronic group, there was little or no interaction with the crowd and interaction with each other was also at a bare minimum. It was far from a thrilling experience for any gig-goers, no emotion, no hairs standing on end, and no stories to tell afterwards. All the essential elements of a worthwhile gig.

From song to song the music was good, if a little samey, although in a reasonably filled room, it did not make much of live performance. Instead of feeling like you were at a gig in one of Dublin's more prestigious venues, it felt as though you were sitting in a shamelessly trendy nightclub with a shamelessly repetitive soundtrack playing in the background.

Perhaps it would have been a better idea to spend the €20 on a Cluster album, and have a relaxing night in a bubble bath instead.

Claire Kane

Categories: Claire Kane

2 comment(s) so far...


Re: Cluster (live In Dublin)

Perhaps it would have been better if the reviewer had followed her instincts and stayed in the bath on Saturday night, thereby sparing herself a gig she clearly didn’t enjoy and me the agony of having to read a review that so misses the point.

Live music comes in many and varied forms and it is absurd to suggest that there is some kind of value system or gig-goers charter that you can apply across widely differing music styles to establish whether a gig has been ‘worthwhile’ or not. What makes for enjoyment in one style will be different in another. This was a performance of German experimental ambient music which is about surprising and absorbing soundscapes. It was never going to be about audience participation. Nor was it going to engage those who prefer their music in more conventional format.

I think that Cluster should be judged in the context of what they do and on Saturday they excelled. I suspect that many of the audience who moved to the front to escape the chatter of those who weren’t getting it, would agree that the gig was a rare treat indeed.

By Philip on   Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Re: Cluster (live In Dublin)

Hi Philip,

thanks for your feedback, all is welcome, a journalist thrives on all criticism as long as it is constructive, and yours is. A review is simply one journalist's perspective of an event, and this was mine, and from speaking to other people who were there on the night, I am not the only one who felt let down by the gig. Maybe I just prefer my gigs with guitars and charisma :) I do enjoy their music, but as said in the interview, as a live performance, it felt like background music. As enjoy all types of music, conventional or other wise I think my review was fair.

Once again though, I app

By claire kane on   Monday, February 15, 2010

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