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Klaus Schulze - Live CD (album) cover

LIVE

Klaus Schulze

 

Progressive Electronic

3.17 | 45 ratings

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Modrigue
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Schulze's first live and last analog album

Finally, after eight years of career, here is Klaus Schulze's long awaited live album! Difficultly understandable when you know the German pioneer was already very prolific. Like other electronic artists of the 70's such as his fellow countrymen TANGERINE DREAM, his concerts were often composed of improvised and previously unreleased material. Nowadays, some of these performances can be found as bonus tracks on the Revisited Records Editions or in the "La Vie Electronique" boxsets.

Nonetheless, this live compilation, just titled "...Live...", is a double album compiling more than two hours of sequenced music within four gigs extracts, from 1979 and 1976. All tracks have a typical 'schulzian' duration, i.e. 20 to 30 minutes, except "Sense" which lasts... 51 minutes! The last piece also contains a little surprise... Musically speaking, the style is quite similar to Klaus's melodic and retro-futuristic works during the late 70's, such as "Moondawn" and the two "Body Love". Nonetheless, there is slight difference this time, as the compositions sounds more modern, more sci-fi, maybe due to the usage of rhythm boxes.

I personally consider Disc 1 more interesting than Disc 2. "Bellistique" was recorded in Paris, November 13th 1979. Although the shortest track of this compilation, this is my favorite. An hyper pulsating sequence for an over-trippy music. I cannot think of another piece from Schulze sounding this fast and furious at the time, it simply foreshadows the trance genre of the 90's! Mindblowing! A bit repetitive, however dark and thrilling... Chaotic and atmospheric, the ending is quite frightening. Recorded in Berlin, October 5th 1976, "Sense" is the only track not from 1979. This 51 minutes long mastodon is the central point of the album and features Harald Grosskopf at percussions. After an ambient hazy introduction, a short evanescent mesmerizing loop disappears into smoke to unveil the main theme that will nearly last until the end, with nice spacey variations. A sensation of misty magic reigns over this tune. The mysterious vaporous sequence comes back for the final section. For sure, "Sense" could certainly have been shortened to 30 minutes, but this piece still remains overall quite good. 4 stars.

Disc 2 is unfortunately less inspired. Recorded in Paris, November 13th 1979, "Heart" opens in a calm but spooky atmosphere. It then turns more rhythmic and futuristic, with strange sound effects and synthesizers sounding even Middle-Eastern-ish at times. The second half sees the pace speeding up at the second half as well as pretty cool passages. Schulze plays his keyboard soli like a guitar hero here! An uneven composition, which contains very pleasant moments though. "Dymagic" was recorded in Amsterdam, October 27th 1979, and features Arthur Brown at vocals. The German musician already collaborated with the him on "Shadows of Ignorance", for his album "Dune", released the same year. Quite unique in its own way, this minimalistic track resembles nothing Klaus did before, or even after. It mainly consists in the same electronic loop supporting Arthur Brown's mad vocals. Half-narrated, half-narrated, the English singer enters a shamanic transe and seems to be fully possessed by some unknown demon. All this give the impression of a crossing between an obscure incantation with a mechanical ritual. Except the final section, relaxing and spacey, there are not many changes, even if the rhythm increases in the last third. Easily one of Schulze's weirdest pieces, some will immediately fall in love with its special craziness and esoteric ambiance, while others will just skip this nonsense. 2 stars.

In conclusion, although unequal, "...Live..." remains an interesting yet heterogeneous live compilation. One interesting thing about it is that each listener may have a different appreciation of each part. For me, the interest goes decrescendo: the tracks are respectively great, good, uneven and... bizarre. I would have liked to have the 1977 Köln WDR concert extract "For Barry Graves" featured here, instead of "Dymagic" for example. Another point worth mentioning is that there are not many contemplative soundscapes in this double album, however these 1979 compositions are much more lively than "Dune".

"...Live..." was for a long time the only testimony of Klaus' seventies performances and still remains one of his best live releases. Every fan of the late 70's retro-futuristic side of Schulze should give it a listen to make his own opinion.

After this one, the German keyboard wizard will turn digital, and this will be another story...

Modrigue | 3/5 |

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