The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


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

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2001 - Early career profile of Damien Rice, written by Sinead Ward. This insightful profile was written before Damien broke internationally with the release of his debut album 'O'. This profile continues to attract hundreds of visits every month, it being linked to from Damien Rice's Wikipedia page.