Saturday, May 31, 2008
private label, 1968; reissued by Streamline; out of print
9 tracks, 50:35
Industrial music existed long before it acquired that name. This album (and many others on this blog) is proof of that. I know extremely little about this group; different sources say they were centered in France, the US, or Canada (EDIT: thanks to the comment on this entry and fact-checking, I now have pegged them as being from Ontario. Thanks, freqazoidiac!). All I know is that the members were Blake Parker , Dik Zander , John Mills-Cockell , and Michael Hayden.In a way, this is good, because the music stands just fine on its own. This is Intersystems' third album, being preceded by NUMBER ONE and PEACHY. Performed on any manner of pre-synthesizer electronics, the main elements are buzzing oscillators and strange spoken vocals. The narration falls somewhere in the vicinity of Robert Ashley's work, and concerns two lovers named Gordy and Renee. The vocals get processed at odd times, fading in and out of the mix or going from channel to channel. They also are extremely abstract, and while there is a definite concept, its exact nature is quite vague. The backing music is mostly clicks, whirs, hums, swoops, and all other sorts of primitive electronic sounds. It makes for a very interesting album, and I for one am amazed Intersystems were not included in the infamous Nurse With Wound list. Certain NWW pieces like "A New Dress" and "A Missing Sense" owe as much to Intersystems as they do Ashley. The CD reissue is hard to find but very much worth the search. Check back for reviews of the other two Intersystems albums soon!
Friday, May 30, 2008
Allied Record Corporation, 1968; reissued by Cortical Foundation; availability uncertain
6 tracks, 49:58
Don't let the cheery cover fool you. Improv with attitude is what this group is all about. Formed in 1965, the Nihilist Spasm Band was an early example of noise music, as well as a fierce free improv troupe. Armed with an arsenal of mostly homemade instruments, they created some extremely aggressive music. Titles like "Destroy The Nations" give you an idea (there's also "Destroy The Nations Again"!). On these tracks, improvised raspy vocals add to the atmosphere, calling for the destruction of all nations. Whether it's serious or not is up to the listener. The other tracks are mostly instrumental, and compare favorably to the likes of AMM and Musica Elettronica Viva. However, NSB has far more energy than those groups, and creates a frantic atmosphere. The six tracks are quite lengthy and never stay in one place for long. This is a true classic from an original ensemble. Highly recommended!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Futura, 1970; out of print*
12 tracks, 38:32
As the cover makes clear, these French eccentrics were HEAVILY influenced by Zappa. The core members on this sole Red Noise LP are Patrick Vian (who later released an excellent solo LP), Phillip Barry, Jean-Claude Cenci, and Daniel Geoffroy, plus two listed guests on percussion and organ. The music contained within is somewhat in the Zappa/Beefheart vein, but with an even MORE bizarre sense of humor, with major free jazz/improv/dada elements that put this in a class by itself. For example, the first track is "Cosmic Toilet Ditty", which is forty seconds of a guy taking a leak, followed by the toilet flushing and a voice saying "Don't forget to wash your hands, listener!" This goes right into "Caka Slow-Vertebrate Twist", which would be a pretty straightforward jazz-rock tune if not for the multiple goofy voices singing in French. Halfway through, the vocals turn into normal English singing (though the lyrics are still VERY bizarre), and the music changes to almost psychedelic folk. This is typical of the album; tracks can be all over the place musically. There are the short "Obsession Sexuelle" pieces, which are mostly screaming echoing horn sounds. The most infamous track is "Galactic Sewer Song", which has gross lyrics ("Smelling dustbins/And poo-poo compost heaps/Your puke-ridden garbage/Is excrement knee-deep") which Nurse With Wound later lifted for "The Poo-Poo Song". The music begins as a gentle strum, but rapidly becomes a jazzy freakout of gragantuan proportions, ending on a truly strange phone call. "Sarcelles C'Est L'Avenir" is also noteworthy; it sounds quite improvised, and ranges over its nineteen minutes from frantic drumming accompanied by gentle flute and guitar feedback, to an organ-led middle stretch, all the way to a weird, almost ambient dub finale, before it finally and abruptly cuts off. None of the tracks seems superfluous, and the album holds together remarkably well for all its dadaist excess. Red Noise would appeal most to fans of Zappa, and probably fans of RIO and avant-prog as well. The heavy use of skronking sax and unorthodox structures may even appeal to the post-punk/No Wave crowd (keep in mind this predated those terms). Needless to say, fellow NWW list junkies absolutely need this; it's easily one of the essentials on that list. It was reissued on CD by Futura, but is now out of print and quite difficult to find*. The effort is ABSOLUTELY worth it.
*Update! Apparently you can still order the CD direct from Futura! Check out http://futuramarge.free.fr/ and see the other (apparently available) Futura reissues as well!
Futura, 1973; reissued by Fractal; out of print
4 tracks, 30:03
This album possibly holds the record for amount of instruments used being in disproportion to the amount of musicians (or it at least ties with a few). The trio of Berrocal (who later shortened his first name to Jac), Dominique Coster, and Roger Ferlet play no less than twenty separate instruments, ranging from common ones such as flutes and drums to the exotic shenai and "horn of Ramadan", all the way to balloons, ropes and explosives! The sounds contained on this short-but-perfect album are divided into composed pieces and improvised ones. Good luck differentiating between the two! The shorter pieces are the most intense, with screaming horns and furious percussion. Occasional human voices come in, always wordless. The explosives can be clearly heard, as can the balloons. It's free improv of a very high octane sort, with all players set on "stun". Then there's album closer "Cryptea", a ten-minute comedown after the preceding intensity. It's still not easy listening, but it's much calmer than what came before it. Not a single of these thirty minutes is wasted, and repeat listens only deepen the mysteries contained within. Any serious fan of improvisational and experimental music needs this in their collection. Unfortunately the reissue is already out of print and extremely hard to find, but make the effort anyway.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Le Grand Magic Circus et Ses Animaux Tristes, LE GRAND MECHANT COCHON ET LES TROIS PETIT GENTIL LOUPS
Saravah, 1974; out of print
Allegedly 9 tracks, 26:45
Continuing this blog's recent French theme (there's two more to go after this!), this may very well be the only children's record ever reviewed here. Why review a children's record? Well, this particular kid's album was included on the legendary Nurse With Wound list! Conceived by Jérôme Savary in 1965, Le Grand Magic Circus (whose full name roughly translates to the Large Magic Circus and its Sad Animals) were another example of the avant-garde thatre troupes that Steven Stapleton was so fond of. A lot more innocent than the hyper-political (and often vulgar) other troupes, Le Grand Magic Circus was indeed a large ensemble. I have no idea what anything else they recorded sounds like, but this short delight features a bunch of elements not common to a children's album. Funny and odd voices, quirky music, and a general sense of wackiness is the order of the day. As stated previously, my French is limited, but I could understand a few scattered words and phrases. The general idea seems to be a fairy tale parody told to a little girl by her grandfather. The plot involves the titular Big Mean Pig and the three small kind Wolves. The Pig's appearence is announced with a bizarre little proggy bit, interspersed with the Pig's deep bass vocals and random squeals and oinks; Grandfather has a husky but endearing voice, and he speaks a mile a minute; the Wolves tend to sing in harmony and with gusto; and the little girl has an endearingly earnest voice. A few other voices turn up, but since information on this is severely limited, I have no idea regarding the exact amount of participants. There's bits of surf rock, creepy organ dirges, folky guitar workouts, and oddly avant-garde piano bits. One of the most endearing touches is how the album ends on the exact same note it began, with the same song and everything. All of it adds up to a children's album unlike any other, easily enjoyed by even the snootiest avant-garde fan.
As an interesting footnote, both Richard and Danny Elfman had stints in Le Grand Magic Circus, as did Richard's now-ex-wife Marie-Pascale (who starred as Frenchy Hercules in Richard's FORBIDDEN ZONE). On that note, it's not hard to see where the Elfmans got a bit of influence once you hear Le Grand Magic Circus!
Frigico, 1978; out of print
10 tracks, 34:17
This is about as obscure as you can get. Heratius was yet another avant-garde French outfit, but rather than the electronic bent of the Pôle Records roster, they favored a sound not unlike Faust; that is, if Faust had more of an outsider tendency. Heratius was comprised of Armand Miralles, Robert Diaz, and the singularly-named Florence*. What they created is an absolutely confusing album. The cover lists only eight tracks, while the label lists all ten. "Les Pelouses" shows up in three seperate forms, possibly explaining this discrepancy. None of these sounds alike, ranging from keyboard and vocal miniatures to a bizarre six-minute rollercoaster of backwards sounds and shifting moods. Actually, hardly any of the tracks are similar to each other, being everything from folky spoken word ditties to experimental snippets. All the vocals are in French, which means of course that a lot is lost on most listeners**. For all I know the songs could have a linking theme. The vocals range from spoken word to odd male falsetto to near-operatic female vox. The music is all over the place, sometimes over the course of one song! Everything from a bluesy guitar lick to heavy organ shows up. If it seems like I'm having trouble describing this, I am. The closest comparisons are the aforementioned Faust, some Zappa, fellow French dadaists Red Noise, and a few of the more out-there avant-prog bands. This won't appeal to everybody, and I'm not 100% sure I completely enjoy it, but it definitely is unique and worth at least a couple listens.
*To the best of my knowledge. This band has EXTREMELY little information available.
**I can make out certain basic French phrases, but not much else.
Pôle, 1975; reissued by Tapioca and MIO; out of print
7 tracks, 75:44
Another stunner from Pôle Records! Actually, some claim that this is a Pôle album, and that its title is BESOMBES-RIZET. However, given that only Jean-Louis Rizet was in Pôle, and only on INSIDE THE DREAM, this probably isn't the case. Just to confuse things further, it has also claimed that Pôle was the backing band on this release! Rizet and Phillipe Besombes (who also had a healthy solo career) perform on keyboards, synths, trumpet, flute, accordion, guitar, and vocals. They are assisted by Françoise Legros on vocals, percussionist Jacky Vander Elstraete, and sax player Alain Petit. At least that's who's credited; even the reissue is scant on exact details. As for the list of keyboards used.... wow! VCS's, ARPs, Farfisas, Crumars, and more all make their appearence, lending their distinctive voices to the proceedings. Needless to say, this means the album is mostly synth-oriented, but the free-jazzy saxophone and drums definitely establish their presence. Originally a double LP, PÔLE is a surprisingly varied album. Comparisons can (and have) be made to that other giant of French experimental prog, Heldon, but Besombes-Rizet are much less ominous than Pinhas and company. The fairly straightforward synth rock of "Lundi Matin" sits comfortably next to the deep drones and oddball touches of the massive "Armature Double". The latter is the second longest track at just over eighteen minutes, with "Synth Soit-il" being just under twenty-two and "Haute Pression" clocking in at eleven minutes. These are very similar to contemporary work by Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. and the like, but they have a distinct character. "Haute Pression" in particular sounds almost like a Klaus Schulze outtake, with an underlying pulse complimented by sharp keyboard runs and subtle variations throughout; what sets this into complete genius is the addition of motorik-influenced drums to the mix. "Synth Soit-il" follows the same path, but with the addition of drums and weird phasing effects (possibly backwards tapes). The remaining few tracks range from just under eight minutes to three and a half. "Rock a Montauban" ends up being the most out of place, sounding like a lo-fi garage rock song. The goofy vocals don't work in its favor, but it has its own oddball charms. What is most impressive is the sheer difference in mood from piece to piece, and the amazing flow of the album. This comes HIGHLY recommended, and is easily one of the best Pôle Records releases. Unlike most of their albums, this one actually got a CD reissue thanks to MIO Records; however, that label has gone under, leaving the CD out of print. Copies can still be obtained through some outlets, and I highly suggest snatching this one up on sight.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Druidstone, 1974; reissued (grey-area) by several labels; several dubious versions available, official reissue possible
6 tracks, 37:25
Moolah, the mysterious recording alias of Walter Burns and Maurice Roberson, has always been an enigma. Released on the duo's incredibly-named Druidstone in 1974, WOE YE DEMONS POSSESSED (also referenced as WOE YE DEMON POSSESSED, and with or without a comma after the WOE)is quite simply not something that should have been coming out of mid-70s New York. Just looking at the cover should tell you this is going to be an amazing listen! This absolute mindblower was allegedly recorded in a basement. While exact instrumentation isn't clear, the arsenal appears to be similar to Kluster's: keyboards (sounds like mostly organs and electric pianos), tape decks, effects, and other noisemakers, plus the addition of a rather loud drum kit. The drums aren't in every song, but on tracks like the opening "Crystal Waters", they offer a nice crashing backbeat to some cosmic keyboards and psychedelic trickery. "Mirror's" seems to be built upon a strange backwards tape loop, with some forward-playing organ improvised on top. Various guitar strums are also heard, but it's not clear if these are real-time or reversed, so dense is the production. "Terror Is Real" features some insane ramblings, proving the American origins and adding to the general ambience. All six tracks offer diverse joys, and the whole album ends much sooner than you wish. An amazing American take on krautrock, this does beg the question: Were Walter and Maurice aware of Kluster et al, or was this coincidentally similar to what was going on in Germany? Whatever the case may be, Moolah is a true treasure. Hopefully the official reissue will happen; a message made the rounds saying the reissue was in the works, bonus tracks and all, but the bootleggers affected that. I say reissue it, because I want to hear the bonus material!
UPDATE: It has come to my attention that Walter and Maurice released a second album in 1983. It was credited to Burns & Roberson or possibly Burns & Roberson Cosmic Music, but it's not clear from the cover if this is part of their name or the album's name. It seems to be called ALBUM II: SYNTHI-ACOUSTIC. I have seen a copy of this on cassette on ebay, but there is literally NO other information available on it. Any leads would be appreciated!
Pôle, 1975; out of print
2 tracks, 41:12
Pôle Records, in addition to the excellent LPs by Pôle the collective, released several intriguingly unique albums. The debut LP by Pataphonie is one of the best known, as well as being one of the best releases on Pôle. Technically consisting of live recordings from 1972 to 1975 (some sources say 1976, but since the album was released in 1975, this is HIGHLY doubtful), the two side-long pieces come across more as sound collages than a concert. Guitarist André Viaud, percussionist Gilles Rousseau, bassist Pierre Demouron, and keyboardist Bernard Audureau were essentially a prog-rock outfit, and that certainly does show in the music. But these live bits of sound are given a Can treatment, seamlessly meshed into long dronescapes and improvisational-sounding maelstroms. Long keyboard drones give way to percussive storms or distorted guitar freakouts. At times reminiscent of TAGO MAGO's "Aumgn" or Flying Saucer Attack's drastic Tele:Funken remix/remake, Pataphonie's debut works more as an avant-garde album than a prog one. The band probably wasn't too thrilled with the results, considering that their LE MATIN BLANC album sounds not a jot like this, but the self-titled debut is the better of the two due to its experimental nature.
Note: It may just be me, but this cover is extraordinarily similar to the covers of both Ivan T. Sanderson's "THINGS" (an excellent book, by the way!) and AMP's ASTRALMOONBEAMPROJECTIONS. While I'm sure the Sanderson comparison is coincidental, despite it coming out ten years before PATAPHONIE, could the AMP art be a sly nod?
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Phillips, 1973-1974 (sources vary, but these dates are the most common); out of print
Technically 2 tracks, 55:10
This is definitely one of the top five Holy Grails of the Nurse With Wound list. While technically a krautrock album, this goes far beyond anything ever labelled as such. HEADMOVIE is exactly what its title says. The only real comparison is like a cross between Miereanu's LUNA CINESE and some of the avant-theatre troupes on the list like Brühwarm or La Grand Magic Circus. Maschine Nr. 9 was a very loose collaboration. The main players were Wolf Wondratschek, Bernd Brummbär and Georg Deuter. Guests included Renate Knaup (of krautrock legends Amon Düül II) and about a dozen others. Knaup and Deuter were probably the best known contributors, with Deuter having a prolific solo career. HEADMOVIE begins with strange metallic echoes and clanging noises. After about two minutes, a narrator starts speaking in German (the predominant language on this album). The music that accompanies this audio movie includes gorgeous ambient synths, strange pulsating minimalism, repetitive folk motifs, fuzz guitar freakouts, and much MUCH more. The instrumentation seems to be mostly synth-based, but that's not entirely clear. None of the music plays for very long, being more a soundtrack to the words than anything else. Different speakers come up at different points, and some very cleverly *ahem* borrowed bits of such previous experimental efforts as "Revolution No. 9" are dropped in to spice up the weirdness. Curiously, at one point samples of the Beatles' "Good Night" are repeated; why this reasonably normal song received such attention is anyone's guess. I do wish I spoke German so I could understand the story more, but I'm fairly sure it's science fiction, most likely with a surrealist twist. "Maschine Nr. 9" is very clearly spoken several times during the record, so who knows? Perhaps that was the name of the "head movie". This is an incredibly difficult listening experience, but it is extraordinarily rewarding. An absolute treasure of the avant-garde; where is the reissue????
Friday, May 16, 2008
ESP'-Disk, 1969; reissued several times; available
8 tracks, 48:07
Note: Both titles have been used for this album, but not at the same time; earlier CD reissues used the title ORGASM, while the most recent CD issue uses the title CAVE ROCK. I haven't found concrete proof as to what its original name was when it was first released.
ESP'-Disk needs no introduction to most. For readers who don't know of them yet, they were a revolutionary label (still are!) that put out a lot of jazz and avant music in the 60s and 70s. From Patty Waters to Albert Ayler, Sun Ra to the Godz, ESP'-Disk covered a wide variety of amazing music. However, Cromagnon's ORGASM is definitely their weirdest offerring. Very little is known about Cromagnon; Austin Grasmere and Brian Elliot were the masterminds, but that's the only concrete fact. The "Connecticutt Tribe" assists too, and their identity is lost to history.* All Esp'-Disk offers is "There actually was a Connecticut tribe of sorts, although it consisted not of Indians but of their close Anglo friends, with several children included." Various rumors abound about Cromagnon, including that Grasmere and Elliott were former pop songwriters (which has proven to be true), that members went on to form Negativland and the Residents, that there will be a reunion tour..... The music itself needs no such embellishments. Completely out of time, CAVE ROCK/ORGASM sounds every bit that it could have been made tomorrow rather than nearly forty years ago. "Caledonia", the most famous track (and popular song to cover!), begins with fanfares over the radio, static included. It slowly builds into a mindblowing mix of bagpipes, fuzz guitar, and martial percussion, Bands like Der Blutharsch and Death In June would kill to sound like this, and the fact that such music existed in the 60s is almost unbelievable. The rest of the album is equally as mindblowing. "Ritual Feast Of The Libido" features the sounds of crackling fire, pounded tribal percussion (think slow ritual tribal rather than frenzied), and the grunts of primitive man. "Toth, Scribe 1" is a nearly eleven minute trudge that appears to be "Caledonia" slowed down drastically (in fact, that's precisely what it is). It's a frighteningly sludgy piece, possibly the first drone-doom track (that IS a stretch, but hear it and decide for yourself). Reminiscent of Neu!'s later experiments with speed manipulation, it's a definite high mark. "Genitalia" has melodious chanting and awful vocal squawks, but is too short to be annoying. The remaining tracks feature everything from incredible sound collages to distorted soloing to weird ritual chanting, with no two tracks sounding like the same band. As a whole, it doesn't sound like anything else being made at the time, or really anything else period. CAVE ROCK/ORGASM is a truly unique album, and belongs in every serious avant-rock fan's collection.
UPDATE! As of June 2009, this is back in print from ESP'-Disk! The cover is unfortunately in black and white, but it comes in a nice Digipak and has never sounded better! Get it!
*FURTHER UPDATE: Please visit this link if you want to know the story behind who was in "The Connecticutt Tribe". Long story short, it turns out Cromagnon developed out of the little-known Boss Blues. The members were Peter Bennett, Sal Salgado, Vinnie Howley, Mark Payuk, and Jimmy Bennett. The interview with the surviving members (Bennett, Salgado, Howley, and long-time friend Nelle Tresselt) is available here, courtesy ESP'-Disk: http://lounge.espdisk.com/archives/338
(Grasmere couldn't be located; Elliot, Payuk, and Jimmy Bennett are sadly departed).
Groovy, 1980; out of print
Technically 2 tracks, 34:33
Groovy, 1980; out of print
2 tracks, 41:07
No picture available for Free Agents; trust me, I looked!
Groovy, 1980; out of print
Details uncertain; see below
Pete Shelley's Groovy Records was one of the shorter-lived labels. These three records were its only output. All three feature Shelley, which isn't surprising. What IS surprising is how much none of these records sound like the Buzzcocks. Other musicians include Sally Smmit (later to use her given name of Sally Timms in the Mekons), Eric Random (also with the Tiller Boys), Francis Cookson (also with the Tiller Boys), and Barry Adamson.
SKY YEN is Shelley's solo outing. Recorded back in 1974 (pre-Buzzcocks!) using only a "purpose-built oscillator", it's two whole sides of arty electronic sounds. Not quite high-pitched enough to be annoying, but not sedate enough to be ambient, this is pure head music. It's remarkably similar to much later ambient noise,and even reminiscent at times of early academic synth artists like Subotnick. The oscillator sounds less primitive than it should, and is far removed from similar constructs such as the Simeon. Out of the three Groovy Records releases, SKY YEN is possibly the most accessible, which IS saying a lot!
Sally Smmit and her Musicians are Smmit, Cookson, Shelley, Gerard Cookson, and Lindsey Lee. HANGAHAR (also listed as SOUNDTRACK TO HANGAHAR) is two whole sides of pure krautrock/kosmische worship. Smmit channels Damo Suzuki via Yoko Ono, and while it's never clear what's being played, the sounds all blend together into the ultimate krautrock tribute. Minimalist drumming, buzzing synths, and twisted guitar are the order of the day here. It feels like one solid piece, since side two picks up basically where side one left off. A far cry from her days in the Mekons, this is Timms at her absolute most unhinged and glorious. This would be an absolute joy to fans of far-out improv rock, as well as krautrock.
As odd as HANGAHAR is, the Free Agents' £3.33 (also referenced as simply FREE AGENTS) trumps it. At least the parts I've heard. It turns out the copy I was given was probably missing at least two tracks. Therefore, the review has been removed. However, what I HAVE heard is amazing in a Faust-meets-Rev. Dwight Frizzell kind of way. The lineup consisted of Shelley, Random, Cookson, and Adamson.
Overall, these three records were incredibly radical releases, and every one of them deserves a reissue. In a more perfect world, there would be a 2-disc set with all three! The Groovy label was a bold move, and it's a shame that more people will probably never hear its output. Luckily, Eric Random had a fairly prolific solo career. SUBLIMINAL 1980-1982 collects his weird dubby rock experiments and makes for a satisfying listen (one of these days it will be reviewed here).
Friday, May 9, 2008
Schwann, 1971; reissued by Hypnotic and Captain Trip, each with a different bonus track; Hypnotic version out of print, Captain Trip version available but pricey
2 tracks, 44:52 (Hypnotic reissue: 3 tracks, 60:11)
Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius are names familiar to most every student of ambient and krautrock. As Cluster, they pursued a deep space electronic path, approaching proto-new age and proto-ambient frequently. However, their earliest work as Kluster (a trio including Conrad Schnitzler as well) basically invented dark ambient and ambient industrial. This highly bizarre record was their second; KLOPFZEICHEN, the first, will also get reviewed here, but it is slightly more difficult to find. Schnitzler, Roedelius and Moebius didn't use synthesizers, instead relying on organs, electric guitars (normal and slide), loads of effects, and any manner of noisemaker they could find. Strangely enough, KLOPFZEICHEN and ZWEI-OSTEREI ("two - Easter egg" in English) were funded by a church! That said, there's not a whole lot in common with other church music beyond the use of organs. Track one (which was also side one) begins with a humming drone and a repeating metallic sound. This goes on for a while, and eventually guest vocalist Manfred Paethe enters the mix. His stern-sounding vocals are reciting religious text (which allegedly was one of the conditions for church funding), and while the performance gets progressively more intense, a German-speaking friend verified that the words are absolutely ridiculous. Not speaking the language is definitely a plus in THIS case! That being said, side one is an intense piece of uneasy ambience, never fully exploding into dread but constantly threatening it, and all the more impressive for that. Side two is very similar, but more free-form. Listening to this puts early industrial in its proper perspective; you could easily pass off either side as early Throbbing Gristle. Best listened to as a whole, ZWEI-OSTEREI was very much ahead of its time, and some of the ideas present wouldn't really be explored further until much later. After this album and a collaboration album with Eruption (more on them later), the band would splinter, Schnitzler going on to a solo career and Moebius and Roedelius continuting as Cluster (as well as working with Brian Eno and forming the supergroup Harmonia with Michael Rother of Neu!). Any output associated with the original trio is very much worth investigating. The two CD reissues each have different bonus tracks.The Hypnotic release features a fifteen-minute snippet(!) of a live Cluster performance from 1980. This sees the duo of Moebius and Roedelius teamed up with Joshi Farnbauer. It's a much more space rock oriented track, but it's a very nice comedown after the intensity of ZWEI-OSTEREI. I haven't heard the Captain Trip reissue, but the bonus track there is a live piece by Schnitzler's later band Eruption, which was very similar to Kluster. The Captain Trip version is pretty expensive, but you can usually find a good second-hand copy of the Hypnotic release for under $15. It comes very highly recommended no matter what.
NOTE: There is also now a three-disc box set on Water called KLUSTER 1969-1971. While it has no bonus tracks, it does have all three Kluster albums (KLOPFZEICHEN, ZWEI-OSTEREI, and ERUPTION) for a low price (around $20-$30). Needless to say, this is the Kluster set to look for. There are also some interesting archival Kluster releases from when the band was just Schnitzler and associates, Moebius and Roedelius having gone off to form Cluster(!). Entitled VULCANO and ADMIRA, these are on Important Records and are definitely worth investigating.