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RE: Cluster & Eno  Mal
 Mar 29, 2005 01:39 PST 

Maybe my confusion is over whether Eno played live with Harmonia vs.
Cluster. Per this page:


After that Moebius and Roedelius disappeared for nealy two years. In 1974
they re-entered the music scene as Harmonia after they met Michael Rother in
their studio near the small village Forst in the Weserbergland. First Rother
was looking for musicians to tour with NEU! but then they ended up
improvising together as a trio. Their first album "Musik von Harmonia" was
released at the end of the year. They also played live a lot. They got
extensive support by Brian Eno who, in Hamburg, even joined them on stage.
After Eno's contribution to Harmonia on stage and in the studio (for the
recording of "Tracks & Traces"), he met Cluster again in 1977. Moebius and
Roedelius played on one track of Eno's new album "Before And After Science"
("By This River") and they even recorded one complete new album simply
called "Cluster & Eno". But unlike on "Before And After Science" Eno did not
sing, they recorded simple melodic instrumental music.
They corrected this deficiency with the recording of "After The Heat" in
1978. While "Cluster & Eno" felt more like a Cluster work, "After The Heat"
became a more Eno-style record with three real songs together with more
instrumental music.
- -

I do seem to recall hearing that the little bit of Tracks and Traces that
has Eno was actually at the live meeting, not studio sessions, but my memory
could be failing me on that.

There may be some usable bits on my tape, I just never really tried to get a
workable dub of it to edit and as a whole I know it's severely flawed. To me
the best parts of the conversation were asking about Plank, Rother, and
Shnitzler (who they described as a crazy anarchist). And in a way I wanted
to keep it a a personal experience instead of one I tried to exploit. I
don't think I asked anything that wasn't asked before or won't be asked

When I once asked someone once to ask Bill Bruford about his brief stint
with Gong the reply was, paraphrased, that the 70's were like a poster on
his wall and not of much concern to him now. He sounded incredulous he was
even asked. I think some artists like these tire of hearing the same queries
and the focus on their past work and collaborations.

In a way I think it's disrespectful to dwell on it even if we may find the
past curious to understand and define, or perhaps more interesting than
their more current works. It depends on the person, I suppose, and some
artists may be more open to it than others. But after spending some years
obsessed with this kind of thing I started feeling a bit like the star trek
geeks at conventions and imagined Robert Fripp and others of his ilk
reacting somewhat like the Saturday Night Live Skit where "Captain James T
Kirk" tells the audience to "get a life, it was only a tv show." He'll
forever be known more for a tv show he was on briefly almost 30 years ago,
and it's got to be a bit like that for some musicians. Eno intentionally
creates a barrier between his past and access to discuss it. Fripp on the
other hand seems to take some satisfaction in singling out and remembering
some fan that stalked him at a concert and ruined an evening for him, and
sharing his perspective of that interaction years later, or the political
context of his management or band relationships of years past.

It's a rare artist that can interact gracefully and with patience with their
consumers or audience. LaMonte Young has at least once chastised an
interviewer and told them to read everything about him first, and then
wanted to charge for "collaborating" on an interview. Barbara Manning
ridiculed one interviewer for daring to ask questions that showed he didn't
know her history and entire catalog of works and cut him short. Holdsworth
was participating in an online forum about his music some years ago and to
my recollection withdrew because he was a little too sensitive to hearing
people express opinions.

I've been lucky to get to know Jon Hassell a little and hear some of his
internal thought processes over a decade, but it also changed the way I was
able to relate to his music in a way similar to how studying film removed my
ability to watch a movie without dissecting it. I've had Paul Bley come into
my home socially and found he was incredibly odd to try to communicate with,
and it was far more telling and interesting to go to his home for his
daughter's birthday party at the invitation of his wife and to see him lurk
while five 13 year old girls sang TLC songs. It was surreal.

Ultimately I learned I don't have a lot to say when I meet people like this
unless I can relate to them on levels outside of their work. What I found
with Cluster was that the sincerity I found in them in getting to know them
for a couple of hours reduced any desire I had to "use" the material after

- Malcolm
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