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Klaus Schulze - Picture Music CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.77 | 108 ratings

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4 stars The words/phrases "spacey," "electronic wizard(ry)," and "haunting" are probably all over-used when describing the music of Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, and all the other greats of early progressive electronic music. Hypnotic is probably another one. Why is this, you may ask? I think they're the words that probably pop into a lot of people's minds when they listen to the groups. Of course they're some of the first words/phrases to come to my mind when describing the music of Klaus Schulze/TD, especially both group's earlier eras. Describing their music without using at least one or two of these words/phrases would be nearly impossible for me.

Picture Music is Herr Schulze's third album, following up the raw and beautiful behemoth which is Cyborg. On this album, Klaus moves away from the sweeping ambient style present on Cyborg in favor of a more rhythmic sound, just as Tangerine Dream changed their style from Zeit to Phaedra. This album is one of many on which Klaus treated listeners to a very full LP, with each track over the 23 minute mark. The reissue I have also treats us to a 33 minute long bonus track. In short, you definitely get your money's worth (time-wise at least) when you buy a Klaus Schulze album, and this one in particular is no exception.

The first track of the original LP, "Totem" is the more spacey of the two tracks (there, I said it!), because it's entirely electronics. A steady beat pulses in the foreground while melodies weave in and out, and if you allow it the piece can draw you into a dreamlike state. All the best progressive electronic music can. The second track, "Mental Door," has more of a concrete rhythm, aided in no small part by Klaus stepping behind the drum kit again. Along with the drums though, we're presented again with some great exploration on the keys/synths being used. The bonus track, "C'est Pas La MÍme Chose," is more along the lines of "Totem," as far as style goes. Not very surprising as it's an extended/slightly different version of that track. No point in repeating myself about the style of the track.

Overall, this album is a great display of Klaus' electronic wizardry, though for me it stands in the massive shadows of his previous album. This one will definitely appeal more to fans of albums such as Phaedra or Rubycon by Tangerine Dream. If you're just getting started with Klaus' music, you wouldn't go wrong with this album, and if you're looking for music similar to the two TD albums I just mentioned it's also a great choice for you. Picture Music is a very pleasing album, not quite a masterpiece but still worthy of four stars.

SaltyJon | 4/5 |


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