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Aggressive and exciting.
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 04/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mick Karn's "Bestial Cluster" is a superb record-- on this, he's managed to balance the different elements of his music, his bass is front and center, but equal time is given to other instruments, and when he sings, its with a confidence that his previous vocals lacked. Add to that a stellar support cast-- "ambient with an attitude" guitar monster David Torn, fellow ex-Japan/Rain Tree Crow bandmates Richard Barbieri (synths) and Steve Jansen (drums, synths), and guest spots by such big names as Joachim Kuhn (piano) and David Liebman (soprano sax), and a great album comes forth.
It is Torn's voice second only to Karn's, that shines loudest-- his fretwork mixes and twists around Karn's rubbery bass into a potent combination, check out "Back in the Beginning" where the two twist and turn around Kuhn's masterful piano solo.
The album covers a number of moods-- from the nightmarish textures of "Back in the Beginning" and the agressive "The Drowning Dream" to the glam pop of "Bestial Cluster" to the funkiness of "Beard in the Letterbox" and "Saday, Maday". The material hangs together well, and this constant movement in mood keeps any of it from growing dull or tired-- the last three Karn-driven albums both suffered from a sort of mid-tempo malais (admittedly, "Dreams of Reason...." manages to top it most of the time), but this one escapes with a number of different faces. "Bestial Cluster" is a good place to start looking into Karn, and certainly essential for fans of either the man or fantastic bass playing in general."
A solid performance by a unique artist
Christian Buckley | Washington State, United States | 12/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I came across this gem in a small shop in San Francisco, and was pleasantly surprised by how good the album is. Performed with David Torn, and fellow Japan members Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri, Bestial Cluster showcases the many sides of Mick Karn. He plays a wide range of instruments, but at the center is always his dominating and unique bass sound. And his voice isn't half bad, either.
My favorites include the title track, The Drowning Dream, and Bones of Mud. If you're looking for an extension of Japan, this is not for you. There's nothing "pop" or "mainstream" about this. This is pure art-rock ala Karn,a nd I give it a big thimbs up."
Lovblad | Geneva, Switzerland | 08/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Now this was quite some exciting music that Mick Karn managed to produce on this CD quite a long time ago. The playing and the sound are first-rate and really it is probably the best record by any member fo Japan."