webzine, italy, august 2002
I had never listened to Kluster Cold before, and it's been a nice surprise. Released by Andrea Marutti (Amon, Never Known, Lips Vago) on his personal label Afe, and mastered by one Maurizio Pustianaz (wonder who he is, eh eh), "The Third Secret" is a little jewel (7 tracks + intro for 28') of retro electronica/EBM, with Kraftwerk being the most obvious reference.
Carlo Ponte seems to have interiorized the best and most peculiar characteristics of the German ensemble: catchy synth melodies coupled with aseptic and danceable drum machine beats, but most of all a romantic and nostalgic atmosphere which now seems to be frozen in paradoxically distant times.
Retro-futurism? The real folk music of 20 years ago? Most songs are instrumental, and work perfectly without a voice. "The Romance of Tar" is present with a nice vocoder version and an instro "Flare-Up Version", and the fact that both stand perfectly well on their own can only mean the track is really good!
"The Soldier" has an upbeat rhythm and quasi-spoken female vocals, while "The Soldier's Theme" features the melodies in an ethereal, beatless version. But the instrumentals are cinematic enough to suggest a story of their own, from the more serene, bittersweet atmospheres of "Remember" to the darker and slightly obsessive "As Fear Comes Back".
The layout is remarkable as well, with elegant vintage-looking graphics, evocative black and white pictures and a fold-out poster too. This is one of the few CDs I wished they lasted longer...!