Sunday, January 25, 2015

Klaus Schulze - 1973 - Cyborg

Klaus Schulze 

01. Synphära (22:48)
02. Conphära (25:51)
03. Chromengel (23:49)
04. Neuronengesang (24:43)
05. But Beautiful (50:55) Bonus track

- Klaus Schulze / all instruments

Schulze's beginnings are both fascinating and original, but they are a difficult listen. At that time the electronic equipment was very primitive and the resulting sound is very desolate and dark. The subtle soundscapes that he created from Timewind onwards are still a few years ahead.

While difficult and unusual, the music isn't inaccessible. And it's certainly not deliberately weird or artsy. Schulze is one of the most uncomplicated, modest and genuine artist you are likely to run into and he always shied away from any form of posing, artsy pretence of intellectualism. Still, it might frighten people away because this music has let go of two familiar musical components in our Western musical tradition: there's no repetition and no rhythm. The music flows seemingly purposeless through slowly changing chords and fluid soundscapes, refraining from repeated melodies that you can hum along with, nor is there any beat or pulse that will get your feet tapping. No, another mindset will be needed, one that can do without melodic repetition, one that can be thrilled by the abstract and suggestive power of this music.

Other similar works are Cluster's debut, Schulze's Irrlicht and Tangerine Dream's Zeit. Within that pool, Cyborg is the most accomplished for me. I would be completely at loss argument why though. The music is almost tuneless, there are organs, synths and sounds like flutes and violins that come flowing in and out. But all chord and tone changes remain unrepeated, making it impossible to discern anything we could call a melody. It's just sound, organically progressing chords, tuneless pulses, effects and atmosphere. Loads of atmosphere.

The ambience evoked is one of nightmares, paranoia, fear. Each of the 4 pieces builds its own unique sound world. While mostly stunning, some pieces drag on a bit too long for me. The opener is most compelling in its first 10 minutes but loses tension afterwards. The album closer by contrast takes quite a while to get going and works best in its second half. The best piece of all is Conphära. The pulse that Schulze creates here is hypnotizing and the sound is very lush and dreamy. I'd say it's Schulze's first 5 star moment.

If you want classic harmonious structures, this album might leave you completely cold. But if you want to give you melodic concepts a little shake then this album comes highly recommended.



  2. there's a problem with the link.

  3. new link

  4. Thank you for the Schulze records, this stuff is epic.