Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cluster & co. at the Henry Miller Library

The Henry Miller Library at Big Sur is a unique environment and a wonderful place to hear music. It's a little piece of the San Francisco hippie culture that landed in the woods -- one of those great intermarriages of culture and nature. The opening act, Arp, may have been the highpoint for me -- wonderfully derivative of Kraftwerk and Robert Fripp, but derivative in the best way, full of "meat", while on the huge screen looped film footage the complemented the music: winding mountain roads, railroads, ships, what appeared to be the Mid-town tunnel in black and white, blurry Las Vegas signs, a man running down a desert slope, a rabbit running on a beach until it gets hit by a wave. The next act, Wooden Shjips, was very different -- loud psychedelic garage rock, lots of drums and base that L said "unblocked some chi", but it was so loud I thought she said "unblocked some cheese". Artful lighting effects were projected onto the redwood bowl that forms the HML performance space. By the time Cluster, the feature presentation, came on it was completely dark and more than a little bit cold. An archetypal blast from the past, certain Cluster albums shaped my youth, and, along with the Roedelius album I received for Xmas some 25 years ago from my aunt and uncle, were to my ears no less than the Soul of Europe in electronic form. The strange series of noises that Roedelius and Moebius produced at HML did not strike me as the Soul of Europe, but given how much time has passed, and the fact that they are my parents' age, it's simply a miracle that this event occurred at all.


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