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Klaus Schulze - The Essential: 72-93 CD (album) cover

THE ESSENTIAL: 72-93

Klaus Schulze

 

Progressive Electronic

3.21 | 5 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Whoever compiled this two-disc introduction to the music of KLAUS SCHULZE set themselves a near-impossible task. And they freely admit as much in the CD booklet: how do you represent twenty-one years and twenty-seven albums (at the time) by one of the undisputed pioneers of modern electronic music, all in a mere 141 minutes?

I think it's fair to say the results are somewhat mixed. What you get is a decent but misleading collection of mostly abridged selections, generally in the range of ten to twelve minutes long, which might sound generous until you remember that Schulze typically pushed the capacity of the LP format to its limit, with soundscapes often approaching the half-hour mark per side of vinyl.

Newcomers might argue that his trademark ambient drones and drifting synth textures all pretty much sound alike anyway, so why not abbreviate some of his more epic compositions? The problem here is that Schulze's best music has a large-scale structure needing some patience to appreciate, and when taken out of context these all-too brief excerpts lose the accumulative power built into his album-length electronic meditations. Particularly shortchanged in this collection are the orchestral "Ludwig II von Bayern", from his monumental double album "X", and the awesome "Satz-Ebene" from his 1972 solo debut "Irrlicht", faded out after only five paltry minutes.

There's at least a thoughtful symmetry to the arrangement of music, with the first disc collecting his more influential work from the 1970s, and the second disc concentrating on his output after 1980. But altogether the twin compilation is notable more for what's lacking: nothing is included from such touchstone recordings as "Cyborg", "Blackdance", "Mirage", and "Dune" (side one of which saw Schulze at his creative peak), and twice as many albums from his digital years are unrepresented.

What's left is merely a teaser for neophyte listeners better off exploring his music at length, as it was intended to be heard. And with all of Schulze's classic albums from the 1970s now re-mastered and re-issued, sometimes with bonus tracks exceeding the length of the original LPs, there's no longer any reason to rely on well-meant but redundant samplers like this.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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