Drums, drones and drifting happiness: 10 of Klaus Schulze’s greatest recordings | Music

Tangerine Dream – Journey Through a Burning Brain (1970)

Klaus Schulze’s first appearance on vinyl was as a drummer in the fledgling Tangerine Dream, a band that looked nothing like the Tangerine Dream who were famous in the mid-70s for their beatless, beatific electronic epics. The frazzled and sometimes terrifying content of their debut album Electronic Meditation sounded like the beginning of Pink Floyd with all the songs removed and the free-form experimentation increased to 11. The second track, Journey Through a Burning Brain, features an atonal guitar solo , vast waves of menacing threats. organ, someone doing something very nervous with a flute and the beating drums of Schulze going in and out of the mix. If it was psychedelia, it was psychedelia long after the flower power dream froze, reflecting the turbulent state of West Germany in the late 60s.

Ash Ra Tempel – Amboss (1971)

After leaving Tangerine Dream, Schulze formed Ash Ra Tempel with guitarist Manuel Göttsching and bassist Hartmut Enke. Krautrock authority Julian Cope described Amboss, the 19-minute track that features the entire first side of their debut album, as “the power-trio playing like a meditative force…a methodical breakdown of all your senses until you are crushed and numb”. , which perfectly encapsulates his relentless barrage of drums, feedback, hypnotic repetitive riffs and fierce guitar solos that jump from speaker to speaker. Schulze’s drumming is astonishing: frenetic but precise, driving but restrained.

Klaus Schulze – Satz: Ebony (1972)

Schulze’s first solo album, Irrlicht, was not electronic music as we now imagine it: it didn’t even feature a synthesizer, consisting of sounds created using a broken electric organ and techniques of concrete music which involved him manipulating tape recordings of an orchestra. . Oddly, this might be even more prescient than the synthesizer-heavy music he continued to make; Satz: Ebene’s expansive, swelling and eerie sound wave is remarkably close to the drone music of the last days.

Klaus Schulze – Return from Bayreuth (1975)

The first side of Timewind was recorded in the studio, but effectively live – it was all done in one take. Bayreuth Return is based on a shimmering sequencer passage that Schulze constantly manipulates so that the rhythm of the track changes subtly, covered with cold electronic tones. Schulze’s sound reaching the pinnacle of its 70s style, it is a haunting, transporting and mysterious piece of music.

Klaus Schulze – Mindphaser (1976)

Schulze has released so many albums that picking one as his best is a near impossibility, but 1976’s Moondawn would definitely be in the game. The track that consumes its first side, Floating, is deep and exceptionally beautiful, but Mindphaser is something else entirely: the shift, in 11 minutes, from beatless ambience to choppy drums that don’t fuel the music so much. that dancing around the synthesizers, is truly mind-blowing. A masterpiece of what has become known – thanks to the location of its main players – as the school of electronic music in Berlin.

Come On – The Time Is Here (1976)

One could not wish for a greater contrast between the two “supergroups” with which Schulze was involved. The Cosmic Jokers were krautrock luminaries, allegedly paid off in drugs for jamming at acid-fueled parties, whose albums were released without their permission; despite such an unpromising origin story, their 1974 self-titled debut album is worth checking out. Go, however, featured Steve Winwood, jazz-fusion guitar maestro Al Di Meola, Stomu Yamash’ta – best known for his contributions to The Man Who Fell to Earth soundtrack – and various ex-Santana members. , Traffic and Bob Marley. and the Wailers performing complex and progressive concept rock. Lost in history, Go sounds absolutely bonkers: on Time Is Here, soulful vocals fight for space with Meola’s deft fretwork, reggae-influenced percussion and layers of ambient synths. If nothing else, it’s a curiosity that demonstrates a deeply odd aspect of Schulze’s career and the respect he had for his fellow musicians.

Klaus Schulze – Georg Trakl (1978)

Schulze presented his tenth album, X, as a series of “musical biographies” of various eminent personalities, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Ludwig II von Bayern. It has an epic reach, featuring drums, guitar and an orchestra alongside Schulze’s battalion of synths. But the track dedicated to Austrian Expressionist poet Georg Trakl is actually Schulze working in miniature, distilling his approach in just over five minutes that gradually builds up thanks to vaguely jazzy drumming. If you prefer your electronics in bite-size pieces, Schulze’s ’70s oeuvre probably isn’t for you, but he was – very occasionally – willing to oblige.

Richard Wahnfried – Druck (1981)

As if his torrential solo output weren’t enough, Schulze has also recorded collaborative works under the pseudonym Richard Wahnfried. Tonwelle, from 1981, reunited him with Ash Ra Tempel guitarist Manuel Göttsching: rumors suggested that the other guitarist, credited as Karl Wahnfried, was actually Carlos Santana. Whoever is involved, Druck is on a different planet from Ash Ra Tempel’s work of Schulze and Göttsching. A gorgeous sunny drift of synth and guitar solos, it’s as Balearic in its own way as Göttsching’s 1984 album E2-E4 (the source, not to forget, of Sueño Latino’s eponymous dancefloor classic) .

Klaus Schulze, Pete Namlook, Bill Laswell – Three Pipers at the Gates of Dawn Pt 5 (1996)

“I made my music when electronics, synthesizer, computers, trance and techno weren’t present in music, not fashionable,” Schulze once remarked. “Finally, my music is now accepted and fulfilled by a new generation that does not have the prejudices of its parents.” If you were looking for evidence of how Schulze was accepted by the post-acid house generation, then the series of collaborative albums he made with the late ambient artist and FAX records founder Pete Namlook – who claimed that Schulze was his biggest influence – is a place to start. There are 11 volumes in the series titled Dark Side of the Moog, and the quality control isn’t always up to snuff – a perennial problem with the prolific Namlook – but the banging techno on display here shows just how much vision of Schulze is easy. has been adapted to a new era.

Klaus Schulze and Lisa Gerrard – Loreley (2008)

Beyond the quality of their music, it’s understandable why Schulze was a longtime Dead Can Dance fan: the influence of his atmospheric electronics was clearly in the duo’s DNA. His collaboration with singer Lisa Gerrard must have triggered: the two and a half hours of music that made up their first album together, Farscape, was apparently recorded in two afternoons. Loreley, from the live album Rheingold, captures the duo on stage, Gerrard’s haunting voice floating over a Schulze backdrop that veers from peaceful to throbbing and back again. At nearly 40 minutes in length, it’s music you immerse yourself in rather than listen to: again, that could be said of almost all of Schulze’s greatest works.

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