Monday, January 26, 2015

Brian Eno - 1973 - Here Come the Warm Jets

Brian Eno
Here Come the Warm Jets

01. Needles in the Camel's Eye (3:10)
02. The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch (3:05)
03. Baby's on Fire (5:18)
04. Cindy tells me (3:25)
05. Driving me backwards (5:11)
06. On Some Faraway Beach (4:36)
07. Blank Frank (3:35)
08. Dead Finks don't Talk (4:20)
09. Some of them are Old (5:11)
10. Here Come the Warm Jets (4:02)

- Brian Eno / vocals, keyboards, guitars, synthesizers, treatments
- Simon King / drums
- Nick Kool / keyboards
- Nick Judd / keyboards
- Andy Mackay / keyboards, saxophone
- Robert Fripp / guitar
- Phil Manzanera / guitar
- Paul Rudolph / guitar, bass
- Chris Spedding / guitar
- Busta Cherry Jones / bass
- Bill McCormick / bass
- John Wetton / bass
- Marty Simon / percussion
- Paul Thompson / percussion
- Lloyd Watson / slide guitar
- Sweetfeed / backing vocals
- Chris Thomas / bass

There has never been an artist more mystic (in the prog world, anyway) than Brian Eno. He has had many occupations that have influenced many musicians: he was the founding father of ambient music (though some might give him nosmall amount of flak for starting new age slop), a glam rocker, an expert at the synthesizer and many other strange electronic devices, a producer of hits for U2 and Talking Heads, an explorer of non-western musical themes and, as he was known to everyone who liked him, a "non-musician."

Mr. Eno was born in Woodbridge on May 15, 1948. His birth name was (deep breath...) Brian Peter George St. Jean le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. Growing up in the neighboring town of Suffolk (which was close to a American Air Force camp), he became fascinated by music when listening to doo wop and R&B on the Armed Forces radio stations. He later developed an interest towards avant-garde composers like John Cage and Terry Riley. In 1971, he became a member of the seminal rock band ROXY MUSIC. Eno joined them because he knew how to operate a certain synthesizer that none of the other members could. Some rock fans thought that he was gay because he wore makeup and women's clothing. His unusual appearance was offstaging the ROXY MUSIC frontman Bryan Ferry, who began to grow agitated as a result. After several fights with Ferry, Eno quit ROXY MUSIC to record some albums of his own sound.

The first album with Eno's name on it was 1973's "No Pussyfooting", an early ambient venture that he recorded with fellow EG Records recording artist Robert Fripp (most famous as the guitarist of KING CRIMSON). Most of the album was a Gibson Les Paul played by Fripp running through a tape-delay system. This new method would be dubbed "Frippertronics," a system that Fripp would later use in his solo career. (The sampling of sounds later set the stage for electronica and hip-hop.) Eno's first true solo album was 1973's "Here Come The Warm Jets", which managed to make the Top 30 in the UK. This time around, Eno had a glam rock sound that David Bowie and QUEEN had popularized. The album proved so critically popular that Eno (even though he was in poor health) decided to tour. The tour was cancelled shortly because of a collapsed lung.

In 1974, he released "Taking Tiger Mountain" (By Strategy), which was a similar collection of free form rock songs. Shortly after the album was
released, a serious car accident left Eno bedridden for several months. While in the hospital, a friend brought him an album of classical music. One channel of the stereo had failed completely, but because he was unable to get up and fix it, Eno heard some sounds in the sole working channel that made him very amazed. This experience was essentially the birth of ambient music. In fact, in 1975, Eno squeezed out TWO 100% instrumental ambient albums: Discreet Music, an independent release based mainly on Pachelbel's Canon in D Major; and "Evening Star", a second collaboration with Robert Fripp. Earlier, another rock album, "Another Green World", was released. Generally considered Eno's best album, this album had the sound scenario of "past meets the presents and predicts the future": many abstract pop/rock songs were paired beside some dense, instrumental minimalist compositions. The album featured several guest musicians, including Phil Collins and Robert Fripp.

Eno's last album of pop songs was 1977's "Before And After Science", the second chapter to "Another Green World". Afterwards, he focused his attention towards more innovative, ambient-sounding recordings (the purpose of the Ambient series, which featured Music For Airports, another "classic" of his). He did, however, get involved in some rock/pop ventures. He played on a trio of David Bowie albums recorded in and inspired by Europe (Low, Heroes and Lodger). He was also a part-time producer for "Talking Heads", whose leader David Byrne recorded with him the well-received "My Life In The Bush of Ghosts".

While leaving in the Southern Ontario region, he managed get his hands on a copy of an album by children's artist Raffi. Eno thought the sonics were so good that he wanted to work with the engineer, a Mr. Daniel Lanois. At that time, Daniel Lanois and his brother Bob owned and operated a basement recording studio where Raffi and Ian Tyson (among others) had recorded. The first album Eno recorded with Lanois was "Ambient 2: The Plateux of Mirror". The collaboration with Lanois would lead him to produce million-selling albums by Peter Gabriel (So) and U2 (The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby). Since the early 90's, Eno has mainly been releasing a series of unsuccessful independent albums, but occasionally is seen in public. He
co-produced by the successful "All That You Can't Leave Behind" by U2 and also gave a congratulatory speech (in sign language!) to Daniel Lanois's induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. In 2004, he reunited with Robert Fripp to do another ambient album called "The Equitorial Stars".

Brian Eno's first solo outing, 1973's self-produced HERE COME THE WARM JETS is an excellent album, for those who can appreciate inspired lunacy -- but it's nothing like his later ambient works, or the generally more serious and disciplined ANOTHER GREEN WORLD and BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE.
This recording is great fun, but it's certainly not for everyone. Along with the clever studio craft that would later make him perhaps the most sought-after producer in modern music, Eno shows a wicked sense of humour. If you have a hard time with "novelty" songs, and humour in music in general, be warned: silly songs like "The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch" (try getting away with that title today!), "Driving Me Backwards," "Blank Frank" and "Dead Finks Don't Talk" may well drive you away from your speakers and toward the STOP button... but I welcome witty wackiness in music, especially when it's as well executed as this!

Yes, variety is good, and in addition to the prevailing madness, there is also sentiment, beauty, and just plain catchy, multi-layered pop pleasure to be found in plentitude on more restrained tracks like "Cindy Tells Me," the lush "On Some Faraway Beach," and the infectious instrumental title track.

The list of guest musicians is impressive: on board for maestro Eno's wild ride are Robert Fripp, John Wetton, Chris Spedding, Nick Judd, and Roxy Music members Phil Manzanera, Andy Mackay, and Paul Thompson. (If you haven't heard Fripp's absolutely blistering solo on the essential, acerbic "Baby's on Fire," then you're missing out on one of the best things he's ever laid down outside the Crimson fold!)

Why do so many diverse artists, from Bowie to Ultravox to James to Paul Simon to U2 hire Brian Eno to work his magic on their albums? The answer can begin to be discerned here. Tasty stuff -- if you like it - and a very strong debut from one of the most important and influential figures in modern music.

Michael Hoenig - 1978 - Departure From The Northern Wasteland

Michael Hoenig 
Departure From The Northern Wasteland

01. Departure From The Northern Wasteland (20:53)
02. Hanging Garden Transfer (10:56)
03. Voices Of Where (6:19)
04. Sun And Moon (4:16)

- Michael Hoenig / synthesizers & electronics

Michael Hoenig is a German synth/electronic composer who started his career in the "cosmic" krautrock classic Agitation Free. He joined the band in 1971 thanks to Michael Gunter. Hoenig notably provided the electronic treatments, spacey and hypnosis synth sounds on "Malesch" (1972) and "second" (1973). His most important contribution in Agitation Free remains in "last" (live, 1974) for the monumental "beatific" electronics and rumbling drones. In march 1975, Hoenig was hired to replace Peter Baumann in Tangerine Dream for an Australian tour and BBC recorded London Royal Albert Hall concert. After his short appearance in Tangerine Dream, Hoenig released two solo albums: Departure From The Northern Wasteland (1978) and Xcept One (1987). Considered as a little classic the first one reveals strong connexions with Tangerine Dream's typical synth arpeggios and abstract atmospheres.
In parallel he worked for several movie soundtracks, including Deadly Encounter, Koyaaniswatsi, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Max Headroom, The Blob, and Dark Skies. He also composed the music for the computer game Baldur's Gate 2.

Let's go straight to the point: If you are fond of mid 70s Tangerine Dream, you will enjoy for sure this album. Departure From The Northern Wasteland is crafted in the same stone than Ricochet and Encore, minus the guitars. With this record, Michael Hoenig offers beautiful, contemplative and inspired electronic music dispatched in four pieces, mostly instrumental.

The title track is undoubtly the highlight of the disc. Perfectly sequenced, synthetizers' themes evolve slowly and superposing mellotron waves reveal magic and crystalline landscapes. The song fades away softly during its final part. The tune could have well figured on a Tangerine Dream release. The next track, Hanging Garden Transfer, displays a much faster, colder and more robotic sound. There are truely very trippy and catchy passages in it. Voices Of Where arrives as a surprise, as it features no rythm and hardly no sequencing at all, mainly mellotron and backing vocals. The tune is relaxing but is also the weakest of the album, as it tends to be repetitive by moments. This is easily catched up with the ending track, Sun And Moon, which brings the sequencer back. It is at first glance reminiscent of Ashra's New Age Of Earth. Then keyboards become more energic to offer a quite enchanting and spacey futuristic conclusion.

Not terrificly new but very inspired, Departure From The Northern Wasteland is quite similar to the albums from the classic Tangerine Dream line up with Baumann. It was released the same year the band tried to change their sound, to create something else. However, this album proves that Michael Hoenig can rank among the best electronic progressive german musicians. It's a pity he hadn't recorded more albums (the next one, Xcept One, is rather deceiving). Highly recommended to TD fans !

Leda - 1978 - Welcome To Joyland

Welcome To Joyland

01. Welcome to Joyland 3:56
02. Endless Race 3:46
03. White Clouds 4:48
04. Movin' On 3:04
05. City of Light 4:17
06. Space Ride 3:30
07. Caroussel 4:30
08. Future 3:28
09. Stardust 3:18

Hacoon Mail (Peter Baumann)
performer, writer
Cyril Claud
performer, writer

This record was written for Leda, by Peter Baumann under the alias 'Hacoon Mail'. The style is very similar to the albums recorded by Giorgio Moroder-Donna Summer at the time, or the underrated "Disco Machine" by Electronic System. The problem is that Leda is a very weak singer, actually she sings like me in the shower:) or something, and the last track sounds like a corny Eurovision entry.

Fortunately she is quiet during half of the record or more and Baumann steals the show, hinting to the technopop music made by himself in the 80s. The music is amazing, like futuristic-techno-cosmic-disco, it could have been a massive hit on the dancefloors (with a better singer), but its destiny was to become an obscure gem, which nowadays unfortunately and undeservedly is out of print.

Peter Baumann - 1983 - Strangers In The Night

Peter Baumann 
Strangers In The Night

01. Strangers in the Night
02. Metro Man
03. King of the Jungle
04. Be Mine
05. Time Machine
06. Taxi
07. Cash
08. Glass House
09. Ground Zero
10. Welcome

- Peter Baumann / synthesizers, keyboards

To modern ears this will sound quaint, but at the time it was innovative and interesting.  "Strangers in the Night" (Theme from the movie "A Man Could Get Killed") being of special note despite the heavy bass.  The album does not even just peter out leaving you asking what was that all about then?  Rather towards the end it gets more interesting so much so that you find yourself thinking is that it?  Great feeling of expectancy, especially with "Glass House".  A welcome slow tempo number that misses the criticism of being plodding  by a whisker!

Peter Baumann - 1981 - Repeat Repeat

Peter Baumann 
Repeat Repeat

01. Repeat Repeat (3:46)
02. Home Sweet (3:45)
03. Deccadance (3:04)
04. Realtimes (3:36)
05. M.A.N. Series Two (3:37)
06. Brain Damage (2:48)
07. Kinky Dinky (3:45)
08. Daytime Logic (2:52)
09. Playland Pleasure (3:26)
10. What Is Your Use? (3:32)

- Peter Baumann / synthesizer, keyboards, programming, vocals
- John Tropea / guitar (rhythm)
- Carsten Bohn Bandstand / drums, keyboards
- Lindsay Kay Brynan / vocals
- Michael Dawe / drums
- Ritchie Fliegler / guitar

 Peter Baumann flirts with the modern New Wave style on this record: actually, he sounds like many of the New Wave/Synth Pop bands of the early 80's. However, his tracks here are not really catchy and accessible: the compositions are well made and quite structured, but we feel a very typical German coldness, characterized by emotionless lead & backing vocals and straightforward repetitive keyboards & sequencers. This album is thus full of sequencers in the New Wave style of the 80's. There are many discrete sequenced keyboards sounds. There are also some good electric guitar notes. The album title is well chosen: "Repeat Repeat". Do not expect another Tangerine dream's "Ricochet" here! This record is DEFINITELY different from his previous "Romance 76" album. The best track is definitely "Playland Pleasure", being quite more catchy and addictive than the other ones: one even can recognize in it some elements inspired from the Tangerine Dream's "Stratosfear" album!!

Peter Baumann - 1979 - Trans Harmonic Nights

Peter Baumann 
Trans Harmonic Nights

01. This day (5:10)
02. White bench and black beach (5:30)
03. Chasing the dream (4:34)
04. Biking up the strand (2:26)
05. Phaseday (5:50)
06. Meridian Moorland (4:34)
07. The third Site (5:10)
08. Dance at dawn (4:02)

- Peter Baumann / synthesizers, keyboards
- Wolfgang Thierfeldt / drums
- W. Thierfeld / drums

On his second solo album, Baumann shows his cute sense for rhythm and playful melodies again. It still sounds very 1976 Tangerine Dream but at the same time it has learned a trick or two from the Kraftwerk synth pop sensibilities.

The opening This Day is a gentle piece that brings together Kraftwerk's minimalism, TD's melodious qualities and a hint of Schulze's lush textures. Also Chasing the Dream is a delightful and catchy tune. The next piece of note is Meridian Moorland which could have come right off TD's Stratosfear. The Third Site is the best track here, similar to Kraftwerk's minimal techno again but with more melody. Name it Kraftwerk for beginners.

Peter Baumann - 1976 - Romance 76

Peter Baumann
Romance 76

01. Bicentennial Present (4.46)
02. Romance (6.02)
03. Phase By Phase (7.35)
04. Meadow Of Infinity, Part 1 (18.35 - including tracks 5 and 6)
05. The Glass Bridge
06. Meadow Of Infinity, Part 2

- Peter Baumann / all instruments (keyboards & electronic effects)
- Munich Philharmonic Orchestra (track 4)

 This is the first Peter Baumann release after Tangerine Dream, I think it reflects what he was adding to TD, the melodic lines and the sounds of the synth leads. The first side starts with Bicentennial Present that is really in the TD way of doing things but with a bigger melodic develop and clear simplicity, the second Romance it has a more catchy mood it runs with two sequenciers and adding the melody above passing from one sound to another really in the TD textures but more plain less obscure or mysterious than previous works, the last track of this side Phase By Phase is in the same line than the others two may be tents to a little climax and then it fades out. The production is excellent every thing sounds so net and clear, it's seems more individual rather than epic or for big audiences project, may be the reason why he left TD before several times, one of those Michel Hoering had replacement he for Australian Tour cause Peter was involuted in a trip to Nepal, and something of this you can notice in this album stepping way of the rock system and looking for more personal or spiritual resources. The second side of the album, I do have the vinyl that still sound great, it's goes more mystic the name of the two parts pice is Meadow of Infinity with a sort of interlude between call the Glass Bridge. The first part it goes slow all with Philharmonic sounds and little electronic and it's conducted by H Baumann that I think is the same Peter Baumann only with the H of Hans that it's his first name. Even that this side is darker than the first still it has same clarity in the arrangements, the second piece of this side speed up with the sounds of toms and voices above. Then still percusions and some strings and oboes to add tension that leads to a kind of climax. The percusions back very low mixing with electronic percusions and now the sounds goes mellow and electronic, till the voice chorus back and starts the second part of Meadow of Infinity with the sound of mellotron leading the rest and directing to a kind of if not epic but meaningful end. I do appreciate the effort of trying to exposure his personal vision of what music have to express, the beautie of the first melody The love feelling of the second that may be don't have it's place when you play with a band, the warm of the analogical synths. I think this album it's better than most of the TD of the eighties, reflects serenity but not in a easy way, and have all the character of that era (combination of instruments and ideas) that made now classical and unique.

Klaus Schulze - 1980 - Live

Klaus Schulze 

101. Bellistique (21:20)
102. Sense (51:00)

201. Heart (30:53)
202. Dymagic (29:21)
203. Le Mans Au Premier (17:56)

- Klaus Schulze / keyboards

Guest musicians:
- Harald Grosskopf / drums on disc 1, track 2
- Arthur Brown / voice on disc 2, track 2

Ok, I think I don't share the other reviews, for me LIVE is one amazing photograph of SCHULZE in the seventies.

The first track, Bellistique starts with synthesizers and drum patterns, that come up stronger and stronger until the piece changes into something quieter and darker. Very good starter.

The second track, Sense, is a masterpiece of the Berlin School od Electronics, yes, the intervals of the main sequence don't change during the piece, but the secuence itself changes a lot in terms of intensity, volume, key, etc, creating lots of different soundscapes. The drums amplify the effect. The soloing is intense, it doesn't give you rest at all, it keeps going in time and in terms of melody it doesn't end, so it is like touching a wound that hurts and not realising the finger, truly great.

The third track, Heart, starts very slowly, a bass pulse is there, almost inaudible, then a lead synth is there without identifying when it started. The track changes in something more rhythmic with synth and drum sequences. Good track.

The fourth track, Dymagic, is not what I like the most from SCHULZE, but I recognize it has that experimental edge.

I have the vinyl (with poster) and last CD editions of this album. The vinyl has some scratches here and there, but the sound is better. The bad thing is that the tracks are cut to fit the side of the vinyl. The CD has the complete tracks.

Klaus Schulze - 1980 - Dig It

Klaus Schulze 
Dig It

01. Death Of An Analogue (12:15)
02. Weird Caravan (5:03)
03. The Looper Isn't A Hooker (8:17)
04. Synthasy (22:56)

- Klaus Schulze / all instruments
- Fred Severloh / drums ("Death of an Analogue")

Before fading away into obscurity, Klaus Schulze had a few more great albums in him. Dig It is the first of those and a must-have for fans, especially in the re-issued 2005 version.

The opening Death of an Analogue is a hit and miss, the repetitive percussion does not have the qualities from similar Kraftwerk exploits and the track gets really tedious after less then 5 minutes. The easy solution is to start with Weird Caravan, a surprisingly catchy and up-beat song that was the first piece I appreciated on this album. The Looper Isn't A Hooker is even better. Both tracks announce a new flavour in Schulze's music, one that works more on complex rhythms then on melody.

Synthasy is another winner, it starts very experimentally, with an almost kraut-alike opening, halfway in we are deeply submersed in Schulze's lush sound textures. The music is less accessible then the works from the 70's but it is not less rewarding.

Based on these pieces, the album would be a solid 3 stars, but on the 2005 re-issue there is an extra track that adds a marvellous 30-minute soundscape. The booklet says it's from the Dig It period but it sounds like it could have come right from Mirage or X (especially Heinrich von Kleist comes to mind). The first part is very abstract, downright spooky and disquieting, the second part has more harmonious features such as big moog and synth choir sounds, the third part is very experimental and non-melodious again, but as you know, Schulze doesn't need melody to be amazing.

The 2005 re-issue also adds a DVD from a 1980 concert Linzer Stahksinfonie, I haven't looked more then once yet. There isn't much to see actually apart from Schulze in a particularly goofy mining suit, a very sweaty drummer with a stern moustache and typical 80's imagery effects. The sound is OK though and the music consists mainly of improvisations on X material. The Schulze costume makes it hard to take this grave music seriously, so it works better if you just listen and ignore the images!

Klaus Schulze - 1979 - Dune

Klaus Schulze 

01. Dune (29:52)
02. Shadows of Ignorance (26:32)
03. Le Mans (23:03) (bonus track)

- Klaus Schulze / electronic

Guest musicians:
- Wolfgang Tiepold / cello
- Arthur Brown / vocals

The eleventh album (in only seven years) by Germany's prolific synth pioneer probably couldn't help leaving many fans scratching their head, arriving as it did on the heels of his monumental twin LP "X". It was, and still is, a truly schizophrenic effort: one half instrumental, and typically brilliant, and the other half a curious change of pace featuring an unlikely collaboration with singer ARTHUR BROWN...yes, the same post- hippie pyromaniac from "The Crazy World of..."

And it's a concept album (of sorts) too, perhaps a signal that Schulze was trying to cash in his kosmische credentials and at least partially engage with mainstream musical trends of the late 1970s. The inspiration was Frank Herbert's popular sci-fi novel, a fixture on counterculture bookshelves during the '60s and '70s (I think because of all that perception-bending Arakeen spice). So was the erstwhile drummer for TANGERINE DREAM paying tribute to a kindred space-art epic, or was he merely hitching his keyboards to a pre-sold commodity?

It's a moot question, at first exposure. The title track (all of side one, on the original vinyl) is classic Klaus Schulze, building on the success of "X" with even more breathtaking sonic vistas, and again employing the talents of Wolfgang Tiepold on acoustic cello. It might seem an odd instrumental match-up, but the combination of Tiepold's melancholy bowing and Schulze's arsenal of electronic effects is strong enough to send a shiver down even the most unsympathetic spine.

Schulze was always a generous composer (or a very lazy editor), and this masterpiece is no exception, clocking in at seven seconds shy of a full half hour. An appropriately arid mood is set in the opening eight minutes of more or less free-form improvisation, before Tiepold's mournful cello melody slowly rises over the horizon. What follows is one of the more stunning evocations of a desert landscape, capturing the essence of its unforgiving beauty better than any piece of music since Maurice Jarre's 1962 soundtrack to "Lawrence of Arabia".

(I speak from some experience: in my vagabond youth I would listen to "Dune" while driving the lonely highways of central Nevada, and to this day the music still conjures vivid images of sagebrush-scented valleys, heat-distorted alkali salt pans, and semi- abandoned Comstock ghost towns caught in a state of arrested decay.)

On this one track Schulze almost redefines the meaning of Space Rock (which, in the Berlin school of electronic meditation, was never really rock anyway) by removing the music from its usual cosmic clichés. The sound here is more spacious than spacey, with an almost classical-symphonic grandeur, and yet still manages to generate surprising tension over its slowly unfolding thirty minute length. The first chord change, teasingly held back until near the 11:00 mark, is a particularly satisfying moment of high musical drama.

Too bad the balance of the album (i.e. side two: "Shadows of Ignorance") is such a flat- footed misstep, at least by comparison. Give Schulze credit for trying to break out of his comfortable ambient shell, but he wasn't the first of his class to fail in the same attempt: TANGERINE DREAM had already released "Cyclone" a year earlier, also with vocals, and with similar mixed results.

The Klaus Schulze/Arthur Brown variation wasn't as willfully commercial, and would hardly justify any accusations of a sell-out. But twenty-six (count 'em, twenty six!) minutes of ersatz poetry sung over a dance-floor sequencer beat can still be more than a little tedious, although this criticism comes with a disclaimer: I admit to dredging my memory of the song out of some very cold storage. Only the magnificent title track remains in my music library, saved on one side of a 60-minute audio cassette tape before the album itself was returned to the used LP trading block.

On later releases Schulze would beat a hasty retreat (again, not unlike TANGERINE DREAM) back to safer, all-instrumental territory. But in retrospect "Dune" marked the end of an era.

Klaus Schulze - 1978 - X

Klaus Schulze 

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.