101. Friedrich Nietzsche (24:15)
102. Georg Trakl (2005 version) (26:04)
103. Frank Herbert (10:47)
104. Friedemann Bach (18:02)
201. Ludwig II. von Bayern (28:40)
202. Heinrich von Kleist (29:32)
203. Objet d'Louis (bonus track 2005) (21:32)
- Klaus Schulze / synthesizer, percussion, vocals, Mellotron, Tom-Tom, Sequencers, Arp Odyssey, Mini Moog, Polymoog, Korg synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, keyboards, cymbals, guitar
- Wolfgang Tiepold / cello
- Harold Grasskopf / drums & percussion
Of all the Klaus Schulze albums I own, this one seems to be the most complete and the most concise of them. Sure the songs are still at herculean lengths and they have similar instrumentation as his previous efforts, but the addition of a drummer and a cello player really add some balance and some new dynamics to the mix. Of the seven tracks on the album spread out over two discs (this includes the bonus track put on the InsideOut reissue of the album), they all seem to have a consistent flow and a great sense of development, from sparse desolate atmospheric to tense and enigmatic synthesizer sections, a very wide range of emotions can be heard here. If you are to get one album by Schulze, X would be by far the best choice.
The first track is the 25 minute Friedrich Nietzsche. It begins with a choir that could easily be a mellotron, giving an epic and grandiose feeling. The drumming (by Harold Grasskopf) gives the piece a very down to earth feeling and helps keep the song on track even when it's at its most out there. Schulze in my opinion is benefited greatly from the addition of Grasskopf, because now his pieces feel more concise and to the point. The second track is the 26 minute Georg Trakl. It has a more atmopsheric feel than Friedrich, with some more expansive lead synthesizers and a nice underlying bass synthesizer beat. The drums are lush and they progressively become more and more involved in the song. It's an interesting track to say the least, but probably my least favorite on the album.Frank Herbert and Friedemann Bach are the two shortest pieces on the album, although they both still clock in at over 10 minutes. Herbert begins with a dissonant organ that becomes a droning and pulsating electronic beat with some underlying mellotron.
Bach begins with some underlying and bombastic percussion underneath some anxious synthesizer lines. Some interesting cello lines can also be heard in this track that spans a total of 17 minutes. Ludwig II von Bayern begins anxiously with some descending synthesizers and very haunting electronic noises and drones. Some superb orchestrations help create tension and a majestic atmosphere at the same time in this piece and in all, it's probably my favorite Schulze piece so far. Heinrich von Kleist is the last track of the official album, with Objet D'Louis being the bonus track. It begins with more anxious orchestral pieces and droning electronic noises, as well as a great underlying synthesizer progression. Throughout the 29 minutes of music, the piece evolves and regresses much like the shifting tide, reaching highs and lows but maintaining a constant flow. Objet D'Louis is the bonus track added on to the InsideOut reissue of the album. It's an even piece that reaches no real climax and yet doesn't fade off into obscurity. A good bonus, but it wasn't truly necessary.
In the end, X is the masterwork of Schulze, and may be one of the best electronic albums available. If you are in to minimalistic and atmospheric voyages of sound and emotion, than this album will definitely appeal to you. Although it's an ambitious and demanding listen, it's terribly rewarding in the end.