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Klaus Schulze - X CD (album) cover

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Klaus Schulze

 

Progressive Electronic

4.15 | 181 ratings

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Matti
4 stars Yes, this relatively much reviewed album is among the finest by Klaus Schulze. Originally released as a double vinyl, the CD edition consists of two full-length discs (both over 79 minutes), because one track ('Georg Trakl' 26:04) was originally only a fracture in length, and because there's a live version of another, nearly a half an hour track. While the latter is not that necessary, unless you enjoy comparing the two versions, the former is worth the massive playing time.

As I said in my previous Schulze review of Dune, "X" has a lot of intensity and sense of drama. Definitely the appearance of a drummer (Harald Grosskopf) helps this album to stand out positively from Schulze's vast discography. It's maybe closer to the Virgin-era TANGERINE DREAM than Schulze in general - so it's especially recommendable to those who know TD but not yet Schulze.

This time he has drawn inspiration from mostly literary figures. And as a lover of literature I'd like to deal a bit with those persons. First, 'Friedrich Nietzsche', the famous and also notorious philosopher with his ideas of Über-Mensch. The musical portrait is stunning, a highlight of not only Schulze's but of the whole Electronic Music genre. Spacey sounds accompanied with intense percussion and just the right amount of progressivity along the way.

Georg Trakl is a less known figure. I studied from a literature sourcebook that Trakl (1887- 1914) was an Austrian poet with a tragic and short life, and in his Expressionistic poetry he dealt with suffering and death. The dark tones of this sinister track reflect that life and the listener can visualize in music all details (s)he knows about it. Heinrich von Kleist (1777- 1811), a playwright and short story writer, made a double suicide with his ill female friend. The track features violin and - as Bonnek points out - demands in its minimalism a lot of concentration from the listener but is full of otherworldly beauty.

Ludwig II von Bayern was the duke of Bavaria in the 13th Century. This track (it's the one with the mildly shorter live version included too), featuring a string orchestra, is not among my favourites here. It flirts with classical music sometimes to a dramatical effect but it also has sections that make it a bit unbalanced as a whole. Also 'Friedemann Bach' (referring to one of J. S. Bach's sons?) got a dishonour of not being taken into my one-CD edition of "X".

'Frank Herbert' makes an exception in two things: it's the only "shorter" track - if a Schulze track is 10:47, you can use the word short! ;) - and the only figure not from a German- speaking country (and also the only one having lived after the World War Two). The next year Schulze would record Dune based on Herbert's famous SciFi novel. This track is not up to the level of album's highlights but a fairly good one and not too long at least.

Mostly "X" is in my opinion Schulze at his best, but I'm not sure if I can rate it with five stars if it's not entirely that good in its 2 x 79 min length. But it contains some excellent Electronic Music that very likely pleases the listeners of the genre and may win it new listeners too, if they only get over the feature that it's generally very repetitive and therefor a 25-minute track is completely another thing than a prog epic of the same length. The SOUND is the key word why I enjoy Electronic Music, and lately Klaus Schulze has become one of my key artists.

Matti | 4/5 |

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