In Brian Eno's first collaboration with Cluster, the best of this album's instrumental pieces are too emotionally rich to waste as mere background music, evoking feelings of hesitancy and regret that rescue the music from mere vapid prettiness. Three tracks in particular indicate things to come. "Wehrmut" is an ethereal synth piece with the pace slowed to a tantalizing crawl. "Steinsame" features a treated guitar playing a slow figure over a dark, almost funereal synth melody. "Schöne Hände" uses watery synth effects to highlight a shivery rhythm pattern.
An excellent compilation album, Old Land is comprised of tracks from Cluster and Eno's two major collaborations: Cluster and Eno (1977) and After the Heat (1978). All of Eno's vocal tracks are here: "The Belldog," "Tzima N'arki," and the dark, industrial "Broken Head." On "The Belldog," Eno's voice never sounded better, and the quirky "Tzima N'arki" brings to mind Lennon's experiments on "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Revolver). Eno's backward vocal track sounds like a surreal or foreign language. When coupled with layers of backward instrumental tracks, the music takes on a rather creepy quality.
This compilation of the recorded collaborations between guitarist Robert Fripp and producer/conceptualist/musician Brian Eno is taken from two album-length recordings made for the Island subsidiary Antilles in 1974 and 1975, No Pussyfooting and Evening Star, with an unreleased 1979 session added on. "The Heavenly Music Corporation" and "Swastika Girls," totaling 39 minutes, make up the whole of No Pussyfooting. Both of these pieces are slowly evolving reel-to-reel tape experiences that are hypnotic and remain revelatory decades later.