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Klaus Schulze - Cyborg CD (album) cover

CYBORG

Klaus Schulze

 

Progressive Electronic

3.74 | 95 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I suspect there were those in the early 70s who believed this sort of music would replace the so-called inane pop music that had taken the western world by storm. Cerebral, demanding and symphonic in scope, KLAUS SCHULZE's 'Cyborg' is everything that pop music isn't. These four long tracks are unfailingly cold and metallic psychedelic experimentations, firmly in the kosmische school and owing a great deal both to krautrock and his origins with TANGERINE DREAM.

But this music didn't take over the world, and neither did the robots the music is named after. Instead the listening public relegated such long ambient drones to a niche market, and got on with their pursuit of soundbites. A few devotees were left listening to this material.

What is the attraction? It is the structure of the music, the slow changing of a repetitive sound into something else, the layering of one sound on another. And beyond that, there is a sense of suspended time, as there are no beats to tick away the moments. The four tracks are all over twenty minutes long, but they could be any length, really. SCHULZE creates an enormous soundscape using pre-synth instruments, and at the time this really was considered a masterwork. The pulsing background to Conphara, for example, is pure genius.

The album has its faults. The sound quality is not great, and in particular the volume rises and falls in an unpleasant fashion (for example near the end of the first track). This is in part due to the limitations of vinyl: 25 minutes a side was too long for the format, reducing the amount of information available in the grooves. The absence of anything resembling a melody adds to the bleak, monolithical nature of the album, but this listener would have appreciated some light relief, at least by way of contrast. But the major flaw is that it has not aged well. Unlike TANGERINE DREAM's 'Zeit', this really does sound at every moment a product of its time, an over-optimistic look forward to what was then seen as the inevitable triumph of machine over man. The concept is dated, the instrumentation is dated (SCHULZE embraced synthesisers as soon as he could) and the album comes off as overly sterile.

That ought to be enough warning. Don't bother unless you're a fan of this sort of stuff. That said, if you are a fan, this album is an important historical document. Just not one that invites repeated listening - except to Conphara, a magnificent track.

russellk | 3/5 |

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