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Klaus Schulze - Cyborg CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.67 | 137 ratings

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4 stars "Battle not with monsters lest ye become a monster; and if you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes into you." -Friedrich Nietzsche

This is probably the most famous Nietzsche quote ever, and to the best of my knowledge also the most misinterpreted of all of his guru sentences. Roughly spoken, it means that we should be careful not to become the very thing we fight against.

Just to be totally obnoxious and join those hipster flocks, who read Nietzsche like children read the newspaper, - I´m going with the masses this time, not because I want to, but rather because the music within Cyborg is telling me to. When you stare into the abyss long enough, the abyss will gaze back into you. Oh yes my friends - with all the metaphysical madness attached to that very sentence. Oh yeah, that´s Cyborg for ya.

The music here is what happens when you´ve sat around a pitch black room for a while, and it suddenly starts speaking to you. The very moment the room starts evolving a language, and you question whether you´re mad and slightly overtired, or if there indeed is some kind of other world in existence next to ours - one which is dark and magical - summoning all that you can possibly muster to fathom what little of it you can pick up from the silence. -That very moment is the catalyst of Klaus Schulze´s brooding voyage into the spaces between the blackness. It´s like catching air with your hands.

This is Schulze´s second album, and like others here have mentioned, the structure or indeed the lack thereof highly reflects that of Tangerine Dream´s Zeit, which was recorded a year earlier. The music is very slow and brooding - moving like Sisyphus and his pet boulder up the never ending mountain. Again highly reminiscent of Zeit, but I must confess, that I find far more pleasure and emotion in this album, and to tell you why would be like explaining to a blind man the differences between the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky and Jackson Pollock...(Come to think of it, there´s a distinct laissez faire approach/casual improv going on in both artists that mirrors the feel of Cyborg very well)

Klaus Schulze was a true pioneer of the electronic genre, and what I find most gratifying, is his knowledge of "the beat" and how to work with it. This sounds like some crazy mumbo jumbo, but seeing as Klaus started out behind the drum-kit with Ash Ra Tempel, and then moved on from there into what he has become now - a synthesizer deity, - I think it´s perfectly natural to look at his work in that context. You could obviously forget about his drumming skills listening to the sluggish drones of his first solo albums, but underneath - what really makes them flow the way they do with such elegance and grace, - is in my opinion his love of the beat, and how you can be without it, and still create music that moves.

On Cyborg the synth sounds all come from the VCS3, and much like my Italian buddy Franco Battiato - they often take on mystifying caricatures of real life images - such as sounding like a common pair of Reebok shoes running over a wet gym floor. Sometimes they sound like a stuttering nightingale trying to voice its joy over something as mundane as the colour red. Although Klaus is known for these bleep bleeps more than anything else, what Cyborg really is all about, is the organs. Often soaked in melancholic cello-like treatments - and other times powering an unnerving and distressing tone that inches its way into your subconsciousness. I guess we´re back at Nietzche again now aren´t we? These organs are at the heart of these improvisations, because that is really what they are, and quite frequently they´ll present themselves as long drawn out wails that push the boundaries of just how far you can go in a certain musical note without changing it. It feels much like a billion muscles contracting all at once, for then to be released with a huge sigh as the chords change. Breathe out.

Cyborg is some kind of matter in itself - as mad as that sounds. Or maybe just a metaphor for things in the dark that we can´t see with the naked eye. Telling you how it actually sounds, gets me back to the start of my review and that darkened room talking back across the silence. It sounds like 2 enormous oil tankers dancing cheek to cheek in a slow-motion dance of death, life and love. It sounds like the universe breathing heavily into your ear. It sounds like the soundtrack of the first hour after the big bang.

It takes time and patience to unravel Cyborg´s mysteries, but once you get past the strange and cold ambiance of this record, chances are that you´ll be persuaded and enamoured by it. So by all means: take the step into whatever lies in that alluring and frightening abyss - without any hesitations. 4.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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