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Klaus Schulze - Irrlicht CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.57 | 185 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars After briefly joining ranks with both Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream, KLAUS SCHULZE decided to trade in his drums for an organ and learned how to process the hell out of it until it sounded like the background music for a strange alien world far, far away in another galaxy. This Berlin native took the freak factor aspect in Krautrock and simply removed the rock part of the equation and ran away with the rest. IRRLICHT (which technically includes Quadrophonische Symphonie für Orchester und E-Maschinen behind it and means will-o'-the-wisp) is one of his early spacey drone albums that is more Musique concrète than his later more melodic concoctions. The album simply consists of strange manipulated organ sounds with other strange samplings of guitar, zither, voice, oboes, cellos etc.

This is one of the strangest albums out there as it truly sounds divorced from what many would deem "music." There are only subtle musical scales or chord progressions if they occur, no harmonies and just a parade of sounds that mostly stay in a single drone with flutterings of various effects thrown in at any given moment akin to the randomness of slowly drifting clouds in the sky taking new forms that come and go but only in non-repetitive fleeting tidbits of originality never to be duplicated again. Speaking of duplication, actually maybe there was. When SCHULZE left Tangerine Dream they couldn't decide who had the right to use this idea so it turns out they both did with TD releasing a similarly styled album on "Zeit."

This was a revolutionary time in electronic music where experiments with newly invented musical gear had hitherto never been created although the freaky Krautrock and psychedelic music of the late 60s and early 70s was hinting towards the desire to create soundscapes that utterly escape the gravitational force of the confinements of already established musical patterns. Although others had done so, no one had done it like this. This is slow-as-molasses music with musical arrangements clearly in the mix for the patient but I would imagine this to be too little pay off for many a rock fan.

I personally find this music to be stimulating and haunting, conjuring up images of what sound and "music" would be like if one were able to do a Matrix like trip into a Salvador Dali painting. Surreal and creepy, esoteric and icily beautiful. This is one that sets a mood and most likely will provide a demented background scene in a Halloween haunted house or S&M Dungeon but if you have the patience to actively instead of merely passively tune in then this one is rewarding on that level as well. Perhaps not an everyday album that you will finding yourself singing along with but certainly one that warrants a spin when the right mood and circumstances arise. A great start for a decades long career and ridiculously huge discography.

The 2006 remaster has a 24 minute bonus track called "Dungeon" which fits right in and indeed reminds me of going insane in a dungeon, sleeping naked on an ice cold stone cellar floor perhaps with chains around my limbs. Creepily brilliant stuff this is! Something must be wrong with me.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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