domingo, 10 de mayo de 2009

Klaus Schulze - Irrlicht (1972)

After stints with Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel, drummer-turned-keyboardist Klaus Schulze created with his debut as a soloist a work that for many just possibly might out-Zeit Zeit. "Irrlicht" (literally meaning "erring light") is the German equivalent to the British 'Will o' the Wisp'; malevolent lights said to be fairy tale creatures luring people off of well-known paths and into a marshy doom. This is the musical equivalent of taking out a huge, cosmic knife and slicing off a gigantic slab of space. Just how inert is this one? The first 10 minutes of the opening track represent a strict meditation on D. Not the chord of D, mind you. The note.

Piercing through the slow pulsations of D-drone, like wisps of clouds rapidly slicing through a full moon fixed in location on some October night, are strands of strings and other metallic sounds. The orchestra strings, echoing somewhere off in the distance, represent the most incredible blurring of real orchestra and imitative mellotron I have ever heard. If it weren't for some contextual clues dropped that this is an orchestra, you really wouldn't be able to tell if it were one or the other. Around the ten-minute mark, Schulze initiates a series of gothic, minor chords on the organ (predominantly Gmin, Fmin, and Cmin, and variations on these), set against a ghastly wind that begins to simulate crying voices as the music progresses. Towards the close of the piece, the chords begin to throb and swell from channel to channel, generating rhythm pulses that take on an eerie sequencer quality, in an age long before sequencers were established.

With "Satz Gewitter," the void opens, and all becomes sucked into a blob of echo, electronic wave-shifts, and tranquil, static organ lines that continue to reverberate the minor chords in the previous movement. The final movement is a precursor to the amorphous purgatories explored by Robert Fripp in his 'Soundscape' works (e.g., A Blessing of Tears, Gates of Paradise).

This is pretty much the archetype of a Klaus Schulze album: experimental, colossal in its ambient geography, and quite beautiful if one's ears are in the right place. If you hate his work, you are likely to substitute these descriptors with words like monotonous and pointless. In any event, rest assured that in purchasing Irrlicht you can distill the essence of what Klaus Schulze in his prime period was bringing to the table.

Klaus Schulze plays: Teisco organ, effects, echo mixer; Colloquium Musica Orchestra


1. Satz Ebene — 23:24
2. Satz Gewitter/Energy Rise - Energy Collaps — 5:40
3. Satz Exil Sils Maria — 21:26
4. Dungeon (bonus track) - 24:03 (Only in remastered edition)

Total time: 50:30 / 74:33

Spotify users, enter here.

Buy it:

- Amazon
- Amazon (UK) (MP3 purchase)
- Amazon (Germany)
- CD Universe

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