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Klaus Schulze - Irrlicht CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.57 | 185 ratings

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3 stars After a brief stint with both Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Temple, Schulze embarked on a prolific solo career in electronic music. It turned out to be the correct decision and, while handling a whole room full of synths and electronic equipment all by himself, he created some of the most stunning works in the electronic field ever. His early works, the first two in particular, are very different from his better known albums from the second half of the 70's. Just like Tangerine Dream he started with mesmerizing abstract music before he got to write the more popular sequence and moog dominated albums. Not everybody's gusto clearly.

Irrlicht is a fascinating but demanding listen. Just like the other early albums of the electronic kraut movement, there are no discernable melodies or rhythms to answer our constant and almost compulsive call for melody and movement in music. Depending on your dominating taste, it might be quite challenging to liberate yourself from this need for flashy action. I admit it also took me quite the effort (not to say years) to tune into this music. But ultimately, it is always rewarding to challenge your taste and be able to make sense of something that a few years earlier just appeared to be nonsensical.

The first 15 minutes of the album are simply marvellous. But from then on, the opening track Ebene, and it's sequel Gewitter, turn out to be too lengthy to maintain the tension. Exil Sils Maria is entirely different in sound, it uses heavily processed violin samples and other sounds instead of the organ that dominated the preceding chapters. The constant flow of almost atonal sound gives it a very heavy and depressing feel. The 2006 edition features a strong bonus track from a later period. Dungeon is an impressive piece with a one chord droning organ and improvised synths that Schulze didn't start using till '74 or even '75. It fits the atmosphere of Irrlicht perfectly.

If you ever get a feel for this kind of music, it will turn out to be a fascinating and oscillating trip. At its best moments, this is music in constant motion that never repeats itself and that will never give all of its mysteries away. Really, there's so much more to discover here then in the daily action music snack. 3.5 Irrlichter.

Bonnek | 3/5 |


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