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Klaus Schulze - X CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

4.02 | 246 ratings

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4 stars X is widely recognized as the crowning achievement of Schulze's creative peak years. Following right after the incredible Mirage, we find Schulze rehashing known formulas and also exploring some new grounds beyond the usual boundaries of his style.

I admit adoring this album 20 years ago. However, I was in quite a Schulze mood in the first half of 2009 and imagine what, X came out as a bit of a disappointment. It has aged very well in terms of sound, but not so good in its over-indulgent ambitions. Nevertheless, it is monumental piece of work so I'll pay my respects with an equally long-winded review :)

Friedrich Nietzsche In form this is the closest you could come to define a quintessential 70's classic Schulze track, featuring entrancing sequences, wild moog solos and lots of percussion. It takes us back to the sound of Body Love but it's no improvement over similar tracks like PTO or Nowhere Now Here.

Georg Trakl Again the recognizable pattern of layers of interweaving sequences with a swirling finale. Somehow this one grabs me more then the opener. It's amazes me this track faded out after 5 minutes on the original vinyl. It's so much better here, restored to its full length. Nevertheless, I would have liked it even more if they had cut it at about 15 minutes. The last 10 are a bit dull and the tempo changes at the end don't work at all for me. (Yes we're a demanding audience)

Frank Herbert Kicks things in a slightly higher gear. Schulze never did anything so similar to something from Tangerine Dream in fact. Rather similar to TD's Madrigal Meredian from 1978's Cyclone but far below in execution: it is slightly predictable in its modulations and it doesn't have a good solo or interesting layers of sound to round it off. It fades out without grabbing much attention.

Friedeman Bach Similarly to Georg Trakl, Schulze goes for a slow and brooding sequence, creating a tension that never gets resolved. Especially so with the slightly dissonant violins and great percussion. It's very repetitious, but it works fine for me.

Ludwig II von Bayern Friedeman Bach introduced some violins in the mix. Here they are used for maximum dramatic effect. They are the lead instrument and move through a few repeated themes during this half hour long composition. The themes are somewhere in between Mozart's late symphonies and the romantic lyricism of 19th century Russian composers like Mussorgsky. It might also remind you of Philip Glass' track Pruit Igoe from Koyaaniskatsi. The track is absolutely stunning for the first 10 minutes. But then follows a very monotonous section with just one theme stretched over 10 minutes. I find that hard to sit through. The closing section repeats the opening 10 minutes but after the dreary middle part it overstays its welcome.

Heinrich von Kleist Continues the violin heavy sound, but the themes develop more organically. It's very minimal; the absence of sequences and recognizable melodies will demand some patience but the atmosphere created here is so out worldly and beautiful that you will need to take the effort to sit this one out.

Objet d'Louis A low-fi live rendition of Ludwig II. Unnecessary. Since I have heard the Historic Edition cd-set, I find it a bit disappointing that this piece got selected above "The Future" (HE cd4), a similar track in sound and atmosphere but much superior.

From a compositional point of view X is Schulze's most diverse album. But because of the variety and its extreme length, it's an acquired taste. You may like some tracks a lot and others not at all. If you want to get into the Schulze universe I would rather recommend the chilling Mirage, Body Love II, Timewind or his more recent album Kontinuum.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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