A prime compilation from the Eno/Cluster family, Begegnungen features previously released solo, duo, and trio recordings circa 1976-1984. These include pieces from various configurations of Eno, Moebius, Roedelius, Plank, and percussionist Mani Neumeier. The compositions are strong and inventive, and the music, an eclectic mix of progressive Krautrock and artistic, ambient electronica, is the best of its genre. All the material is synth-based and mostly upbeat, even bubbly at times, as in the jumpy "Nervos" (from Moebius' Tonspuren) and the quirky, rhythmic "Pitch Control" (from the exquisite Zero Set), which features electronic horse whinnies.
"Johanneslust" and "The Belldog" are highlights. From Roedelius' Durch die Wuste, the vibrant, reflective "Johanneslust" stands out with its acoustic guitar-like synthesizers and ambient landscape; and "The Belldog" (After the Heat), the only vocal track on the album, benefits from industrial overtones, musically and lyrically. Based in a warm, synthetic rhythm, "The Belldog" features beautifully mood evoking Eno vocals. And the song takes on an air of importance and sophistication with its epic quality. Honorable mention goes to Moebius and Plank's "Two Oldtimers," a bright, almost playful composition from Rastakraut Pasta.
The album's cover photograph by Michael Weisser is one of several photos he created for Sky Records, including Begegnungen II and Old Land. Begegnungen II is an excellent follow-up, released the same year as the first. It contains different songs from Begegnungen but draws from most of the same album sources. And Old Land, strictly an Eno/Cluster compilation, contains all of the Eno/Cluster tracks found on the Begegnungen pair, plus more.