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Klaus Schulze - X CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

4.11 | 226 ratings

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Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The last of Schulze's 'classic' albums (beginning with Timewind from 1975) this was his most ambitious album to date. It's his most symphonic and classically influenced album featuring string players. Here he picks up the orchestral experiments he left behind on his solo debut Irrlicht. But unlike that album the strings here are not altered to sound like anything but strings. Guest drummer Harald Grosskopf is back and he is put to good use on this album. Klaus himself plays some percussion. This was originally a double album but the track "Georg Trakl" was cut to just 5 minutes because of vinyl limitations. The latest CD reissue restores all 26 minutes of the song and includes a bonus live version of one of the other tracks under a different title. Like Moondawn this album was slightly re-mixed for CD, with some keyboard parts being added.

The tracks on X are named after people who Klaus was inspired and/or influenced by. "Friedrich Nietzsche" (pronounced 'neets-shuh' and not 'neechy') was a famous German philosopher. This opens the album in a traditional Schulze spacey kind of way. Around 4 1/2 minutes the drums appear. The drumming gets more looser and busy as the track evolves. Klaus' tom-toms are really loud compared to Harald's drumkit. Behind the drums and percussion we get ethereal and spacey soundscapes with the occasional quasi-solo on synth. Once in awhile you hear something that resembles a melody.

"Georg Trakl" was an Austrian Expressionist poet. This is based around a sequence of notes repeated throughout the entire piece. Echoed synth soloing at the beginning. Drums come in later and are very cymbal-oriented. Later on some hypnotic sequencer patterns appear. The drumming eventually turns into some kind of proto-techno beat before it becomes more subdued and settles into the background. Most of the keyboards fade away and everything turns to a minimalistic note. The drums and sequencers become more prominent at the end.

"Frank Herbert" is an American writer most famous for his book Dune (which is what KS will call his next album which also features the cello player from here). At just under 11 minutes this is the shortest track. Sounds like Klaus is trying to appeal to the New Wave crowd here with the steady drumbeat and punky sequencer rhythm. Some sort of soloing on the synths at times. A good consistent song but not a highlight. "Friedemann Bach" was the son of J.S. Bach. This is probably the weakest track but it's still interesting. The most avant-garde thing on X. Generally not a lot going on here; sort of a mood piece like the music on his first two albums.

It starts out symphonic with some sparse percussion. A sequencer pattern appears as the other instruments seem to be improvised. Some interesting violin work in this track. Later gets scary and dramatic sounding. "Ludwig II. von Bayern" was a Bavarian king. This is the most classical sounding piece and a highlight. Great mix of strings and keyboards here. Features some strong melodies, some of which sound familiar. During one of those melodies around 6 1/2 minutes is some truly gorgeous Mellotron choir. Love this part. Mainly just moody strings for awhile. This middle part goes on just a bit too long I think and could have been edited a bit.

Eventually it goes back to the strings playing melodies. After 21 minutes the drums finally show up playing a laid-back, mid-paced beat. Some spacey sounds from the synths towards the end. "Heinrich von Kleist" was a German poet. This starts out with symphonic synths. Soloing violin later. Gets rather ambient sounding before some sci-fi sounding synth noises lead to a more ethereal yet dramatic vibe. Later gets more spacey and avant- garde sounding. Eventually it becomes more symphonic and the drums decide to join in playing sparse and almost randomly. One of the weaker tracks.

This may be a good place to start with Klaus Schulze, especially if you are a Symph Prog lover. However, there is a lot of music here and chances are you will rarely listen to the whole thing in one setting more than once. Like the vast majority of double-albums I think this would have been better as a single album. If X consisted of nothing but "Nietzsche" and a slightly edited "Ludwig" this might get 5 stars from me. But as it is it's still a great album, some would say his last great album. 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |


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