Klaus Schultze - Tradition and Vision (The Ultimate Edition CD 21)

by Adrian May
(Taipei)

Don't attempt this album unless you have:

a) Very good speakers or headphones (I suspect there's stuff in here that only a dog or a whale can hear),
b) 100 uninterrupted and distraction-free minutes,
c) A stiff drink to calm down with afterwards.

This is a single track structured like an Indian raga: (1) a slow and desolate bit to introduce the instruments, themes and mood (2) a complex creation, (3) a knees-up. After that there's about 15 minutes of first aid to put your mind back together.

Klaus Schulze is the guy who's reaction to the newly invented Moog was to form Tangerine Dream and then dump them to go and do stranger things. His music develops slowly and goes on for a long time. You spend most of this time dangling in anticipation of something you thought he was about to do but didn't, at least, not yet. If you only contribute half an ear, this can be frustrating, but there's immense complexity hiding in the details for those who'll invest the time and attention.

You have to get through the first bit because it includes things like the "clank": a very distinctive sound which first occurs at 25 minutes and 56 seconds and goes on to hold the whole piece together. The best way to get a handle on this mind bogglingly complex album is to try and predict when the clank is gonna come.

The first occurrence is not without warning. By that time, the waves of percussion that occasionally reared themselves out of the clouds are becoming more persistent. There are even hints of melody forming. There's some hope that this might be music after all, but that's quickly dashed by the abstract seagull cries. Just hang on to the clank.

If you haven't had a nervous breakdown yet, you can still derive some hope that it's about to start by that traditional drum roll, but I'm sorry, that was just a red herring. The real direction has something to do with those waa-waa-ised kitchen sink noises. Notice three very quiet low notes at 32:18. That's a hint at the main them in the middle. 34 minutes: never mind the tabla, check out the waa-waa-ised metallic sound. It's coming together now.

The strings announce the next phase. Now the percussion has developed into melody. Lots of music can be found in the volume and tone modulation. Clank. You feel that anticipation now, but you'll be dangling for a long time yet: just when you think it's arrived it disappears again. 39:48-41:00: the waa-waa bathroom thing creeps into the center and will stay there for a while. Clank. 41:45: now you're outside of the atmosphere. So don't try to breathe. I can't talk right now. Just don't bump into any stars.

46:50: "Tor-ee-aw": You'll need that for the first aid later.

49:50: Third bit. Like getting hit with a water cannon. All the music is now in either the waa-waa channel or the syncopation.
53:40: Waterboarding starts.
54:30: Remember those three notes?
55:20: Spasms are spreading from one instrument to another like dominoes. You know something terrible is about to happen. It'll seem so much worse before it does.

57:30-60:00: Finally we find our way into someplace we can enjoy for the same reasons we enjoy previously known music. What's more, in 10 minutes you'll be a fan of Indian classical.

1:05:20: "Du dooo dooo. Du Dooo doo." Hints of the first aid again.
1:07:28: Another component of the first aid. Now cool it. We are beginning re-entry.
1:08:31: The third part of the cure.

Clank.

1:11:09: Not enough help? Here's some motherly love.
1:14:25: Even cuddlier.

1:18:47: Now dry your eyes and go find that drink.


























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My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.

If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.

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