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Klaus Schulze - Blackdance CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.44 | 144 ratings

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5 stars "There is no terror in a bang, only in the anticipation of it" -Alfred Hitchcock.

HItchcock was a milestone in the art of film making, and these words are often quoted along with his "bomb under the table" anecdote. Two people are sitting at a table doing whatever - completely oblivious about the bomb beneath their table, whereas the audience is quite aware of this hidden terror that could explode at any given moment. They wan´t to cry out and alarm the figures - about the grave danger of the situation, and as a result of this metaphysical stand-off, the suspense created through this particular scene will override any need for an explosion, - or what to the audience must feel like a biblical release.

Now why would I talk about such a thing, when I´m actually reviewing a Klaus Schulze album - you may ask? The thing is, unlike a genre like post-rock that practically lives off the crescendo ie. the explosions, and to some extent can feel beautiful in its own right, Schulze´s music could be thought off as a musical answer to the suspense created by Hitchcock. The explosion can never ever occur, because it will destroy everything going up to the very point of release, and the actual moment of the bang suddenly becomes the prime ingredient of the story and plot. This is why you should never approach Schulze like you´d do most any other progressive artist on this site(apart from a few), because we normally expect fireworks and great big scenes of fulfilment with bangs and lightning.

Blackdance is to me one of the most fulfilling albums in terms of creating atmosphere, suspense and images far beyond anything Schulze could ever have imagined, - and this is my personal take on it.

3 acts. 3 sweeps of magic. 3 chapters from a movie, that you just might have seen.

The sharks are approaching: First cut, Waves of Changes leads the way on our journey with some fluctuating and out of breath organs, that truly sound like they´re gasping for air. Breathing heavily in and out, in and out - with a touch a melancholy and a feeling of anticipation to them, like there is something on the verge of happening, - and then the acoustic guitar chimes in, and fortifies these images of the start of something illustrious. Marching drums appear along with some deranged and freely flowing synth runs, and suddenly the movie gets going. The melancholic start of the music was actually a beautiful woman lying on her yacht - bobbing along on the ocean, unaware of the small cut she had sustained on her right arm, which is hanging very femininely over the ship´s edge. These first bursts of sound leading us up to the frantically paced marching drums, were in fact tiny droplets of crimson coloured blood hitting the surface of the water. Things are getting ominous by now, as you catch small glimpses of dark shadows - appearing swiftly for then to disappear. These shadows are of course bringing with them some maniacal wooden conga sounds which adds to the whole feel of danger and darkness. Like some long lost evil from the depths of the oceans blue.

The moments before impact: Some Velvet Phasing introduces you to the horrific images of our enemies, and with the sad faithful synthesizer singing songs of woe - the white bellies of these enormous predators emerge from out of the darkened waters, and though you´re filled with fear and anxiety, as the sounds of the organs and synths turn elliptic and form huge circular emanations - the beauty of these elegant creatures suddenly strikes you like a punch in the stomach. They start swimming in formation beneath your feet, and you can no longer see the white colourings, all that´s left to the naked eye is the grey ever expanding circles - multiplying with the number of sharks and notes of the different organs joining these naturally forming rings. It sounds like melodic sharks swimming around in a giant underwater cymbal - creating an elliptic recurring metallic noise. The Blackdance is upon us.

Epilogue: Voices of Syn is what happens afterwards. The slaughtering is but a crystal clear allusion. The sounds of the ocean, and the colours of the waters drenched in blood after this horrific massacre - this is what´s left. How these emerge within each other and slowly dilute. The ghastly hovering organs greet ominous soprano vocals, who sings like they´ve sailed to the end of the world and back - with such sorrow and heartache - it would make stones weep. The waters are still interrupted in their natural flows, and bits and pieces of the woman are still floating around. Like some self cleaning oven, mother nature now takes over, and with the arrival of some humming erratic beats, a myriad of small creatures starts swarming around the remains. The mourning feel is still there in the notes, and like the most apt homage to life itself, just like earth to earth and dust to dust, the water slowly returns to its former deep turquoise blue. The snuffling matchbox quality of the beats, the confused bits of piano, the constant drones of the organs - all accomplishing the same thing: creating the most magical sways of electronically infused currents swooping along - hoovering through the most frightening parts of the human imagination.

Disguised as a ferocious shark attack, or purely listened to as a piece of modern electronic sculpturing of music - Klaus Schulze digs as deep as he´d ever venture with Blackdance, and although quite bizarre and avant-gardistic in nature, - I´ll still happily recommend this album to anyone who´s interested in experiencing suspense and danger, Hitchcock style, conveyed in electronic sounds and ominous textures.

Guldbamsen | 5/5 |


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