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Klaus Schulze - Cyborg CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.66 | 141 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars The whole reason KLAUS SCHULZE had broken ties with two of the most innovative Krautrock bands, Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel was very much because of the wasted time in the democratic process of compiling ideas, hashing them out and bringing them to fruition. While there are pros and cons to being in a group lineup or going alone, SCHULZE opted for the latter as his restless free spirit and creative visions weren't finding actualization in the group process and were becoming watered down at best. Despite the compromise games that did come into play with many of the early Krautrock bands, the majority of these groups did not experience much success or recognition at the time when they were recording all those classics. Instead it would take the public many years to catch up to the visionary sounds laid down during those days. Despite drifting even further into the clouds and ever more distant from any possible instant gratification in terms of the world of financial success, SCHULZE was literally driven to create unthinkably long and alienating soundscapes that seemingly materialized in his head.

While most of the German scene was gravitating toward a more rock oriented style of kosmisch psychedelia, SCHULZE was much more ambitious in scope and followed more in the footsteps of minimalist composers such as Terry Riley, Steve Reich and even Stockhausen and Varèse than Pink Floyd which led him to create sounds with an emphasis on sustained drones, repetitive phrasing and the complete meltdown of barriers that usually segregated rhythms from melodies and timbres from tempos. Like most of the early pioneers, SCHULZE was limited by his financial ability to buy the best equipment for his visions and was forced to improvise the best he could with the low budget machinery he had access to and adapt his limitless imagination around a finite display of recording equipment to carry it out. After his departure from the aforementioned bands, SCHULZE immediately recorded his debut "Irrlicht" and experimented with modifying broken amps that would cause feedback, tremolo and sound effects and with ample amounts of ingenuity created one of the strangest albums the world had ever heard.

On his second album " CYBORG, " the money situation hadn't changed one bit and neither had the state of his battered equipment including his one VCS3 synthesizer which cranked out the eerie and surreal soundscapes on the debut. For his second album he added a lot more organ sounds and synthesized percussion through a Revox tape machine loop. In the same vein as the debut SCHULZE also once again solicited the helping hands of students at the Colluquim Music Orchestra whose rehearsals he recorded in order to splice and dice with a razor blade to physical change their very dynamics in terms of running time and delivery which as you could imagine was a painstaking process that required the patience of saint to administer. But patience was a virtue he had mastered and not only did KLAUS manage to record four lengthy behemoth electronic tracks that would emerge as a double album but also had so much extra material that he would eventually release a box set of bonus tracks in the future. With music this so far removed from reality it's utterly amazing that SCHULZE managed to create four unique tracks that float off into the cosmos but never lose their true identity.

The opener "Synphära" is the most traditional sounding track of the lot that utilizes a church organ to slowly lure the listener into the more esoteric tracks that follow. Embellished by a pulsating drone, a Gothic organ repeats a simple melody throughout its run while extraterrestrial synth swirls bubble up from nowhere and usurp control as if the Crab Nebula's spectral signature had suddenly been transcribed into musical notation. Similarly "Conphära" follows a similar journey to the stars with an even stronger pulsar sort of drone with a stronger staccato presence and more richly layered atmospheres that do some sort of cosmic dance as they hypnotize like ice sculpture ballerinas in the vacuum of space. "Chromengel" adds a more earthly vibe with heavy use of violins and cellos that reverberate while fluttering helicopter type blade sounds launch the track even further toward planet Lysergia. The string section gives it a bit of a classical soundtrack feel bit the spectral sounds of the synthesizer effects keep it floating far from the clutches of Earth's gravitational field. The loops of sounds take on lives of there own as if the listener has entered a cosmic aviary with strange sonic birds flapping around from all directions. "Neuronengesang" or what i call "The Haircut Clipper Song" is dominated by a buzzing sound that reminds me of having my head sheered as a child with a buzzsaw sound effect that approaches my ear, passes by and then moves away. This is the basis of the track while ethereal sound effects build into dense cloud forests of sound with some droning, some pulsating and some flittering about aimlessly.

" CYBORG " was way too far ahead of its time for most of the music buying public but it did receive significant praise from top music critics. The nuanced multi-layered sonicscapes were the soundtracks of dreams where freeform hypnotizing sound effects coalesced into myriad compilations of bombinating assonance that find an orgy of oxyphonic pitches merge with raucous yet haunting tautophonic assemblies of empyreal surrealism. " CYBORG " takes a monumental step past the terrifying frigid nature of "Irrlicht" and explores a miraculous layout of merging musical forces with none of the limitations that rock music can impose with segmented percussive beats. Otherworldly and almost knocking on heaven's door, " CYBORG " has a less alienating feel than the debut and demonstrated the limitless possibilities of the human ingenuity with the scarcest of resources. I recommend the 2006 remastered version with the bonus track "But Beautiful" which showcases yet another stunning track only with SCHULZE performing all his sound effect magic in a live setting. The track clearly demonstrates that SCHULZE was no studio dependent junkie and effortlessly created order out of a seemingly untamable assortment of disparate sound palettes. Despite this massive undertaking, SCHULZE would continue to produce some of the most surreal sounds ever laid down to tape with great prolificacy. While some of the later albums are more accomplished, " CYBORG " is not one to be missed.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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