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Klaus Schulze - Timewind CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

4.22 | 287 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The first major commercial success for synthesizer trailblazer Klaus Schulze was, not coincidentally, also his first album to reach a worldwide audience, thanks to a contract with ace British label Virgin Records. That the album also contained some of Schulze's best music to date certainly helped too, reinforcing his now-undisputed reputation as one of the premier electronic musicians of our time.

And now the original 1975 album, a certified masterpiece all by itself, has been re-released by Revisited Records in a deluxe new CD package deserving more stars than the Prog Archives guidelines will allow. Some reissues come with bonus tracks; this one actually includes an entire bonus CD of never heard material, effectively doubling the length of an album that was already generous by LP standards.

It's astonishing to think that music this sophisticated was mostly played (and simultaneously mixed!) in real time, using only primitive two-track technology (the album was recorded in Schulze's makeshift home studio, above a converted Berlin barbershop). It was dedicated to Richard Wagner, an obvious kindred spirit likewise fond of grandiose, protracted musical structures, although I wonder what the 19th century composer would have made of "Bayreuth Return" and its 30+ minutes of shifting, drifting synthetic soundscapes.

That familiar synth-and-sequencer template, all but patented by Schulze (alongside his erstwhile bandmate EDGAR FROESE and TANGERINE DREAM) has rarely been programmed with such subtlety and sensitivity. The result here is a powerful but at the same time near-subliminal experience...until that unexpected explosion of white noise at the end, a clever way to avoid what otherwise would have been an unresolved and anticlimactic fadeout.

The second of the two original album tracks, "Wahnfried 1883", omits the sequencers entirely, creating a more contemplative, almost funereal mood (appropriately enough: the title marks the place and time of Wagner's death), and is equally as spellbinding over its slowly unfolding half-hour length.

The album proper ends there. But the bonus CD then repeats the entire experience, with interesting variations. "Echoes of Time" is an extended, alternate run-through of "Bayreuth Return", fully eight minutes longer than the original, and including plenty of slight but not imperceptible differences in mood and mix. "Solar Wind" (a mere 12+ minutes long: barely a blink for Schulze) is yet another version of "Bayreuth", and likewise dating from the same 1975 recording sessions, but this time played without the tense undercurrent of sequencers, totally changing the flavor of the music.

The final bonus track, "Windy Times" (note the tongue-in-cheek inversion of the album title) is a short digital homage to the original LP, recorded in the year 2000 but recycling the same sequencer patterns. It makes a fitting conclusion to the extended double-disc, offering a fascinating glimpse of just how far Schulze had come in the previous 25 years. But the new music also (inadvertently, to be sure) serves to validate the unvarnished strength of the analog original, no less impressive when heard today than it was in 1975.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |


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