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Klaus Schulze - Shadowlands CD (album) cover

SHADOWLANDS

Klaus Schulze

 

Progressive Electronic

3.52 | 22 ratings

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Ricochet
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars To my mind, Shadowlands being only Schulze's third personal creation in eight years should count as more than a simple fact. While unjustly counting out his particular new rise with Lisa Gerrard throughout the mid-00s (where the music was his authoring just as much, plus the whole new development was something very interesting to remark) or other "lone tracks", of less notice anyway, scattered at times, I guess there's a point to make in how different his interests and were (from distressing hiatuses to spirited attempts to keep things going, trying out new things or putting back on shelves his entire music from the past, collaborating often and openly or getting occasionally back to his solo concepts) in what is now almost a full recent decade that's quite hard to define.

So just three solo albums in all this time, only one of them (very) good and, it has to be said, it isn't this one. No, that'd still be Kontinuum from 2007 thanks to its retro spicing, its throwback to vintage sequencing and its overall greatly inspired dynamics. It's somewhat understandable expecting Shadowlands to be, in some way, just as significant. Sadly, should it actually claim any meaningfulness, it comes off as rather superficial and laid-back. It's a throwback itself, but less clear as to what. It could well stand as a closing chapter to all these recent years' music, should Schulze impress with something new next time around, but that's to be seen (and improbable, if you ask me).

Instead, one could be more rude as to say much of the album is a rehash - there is some talk about part of the material being of Contemporary Works-period or Gerrard sessions provenance, but I couldn't find much information on this, nor match up the compositions too well. The way I personally see it, it shooting in different directions would in fact be the one thing about this album that intrigues me, especially since some connections are stronger than others. A lot of the beats, samples or overall templates and flows of the music are of a recent nature, in ways certainly not novel or unheard before - hinting at his recent concerts or, indeed, sharing traits with some of the deeper, slowburning epics off CW -, while at the same time it makes me wonder why other frequencies, with more gusto or more electrifying (such as on KlangArt or even Rheingold) feel abandoned. Gerrard's singing creeps back in, illusory, lointain and enchanting, with additional vocals by Chrysta Bell and Juli Messenger from CWII's Virtual Outback. More present is Thomas Kagermann - also linking to a couple of CW albums (Ballett, Virtual Outback), his violin melodies and dazes mostly enclosing and vibrant. The weirdest feeling of all I get is how some concepts ("Tibetan Loops") or rhythms ("Licht und Schatten") would reach out to Wahnfried albums from the 90s, such as The Gancha Dub.

The album lasts two and a half hours if you include the limited edition 2nd CD (which is, of course, Schulze's idea of a "bonus") and it's balanced and well composed and mastered, but also directionless and disorienting, channeling through different states- something that would never bother me that much in his music, except that right here it lacks substance and it even feels like it disturbs its "shadowy" trances, highly expressive touches or mantra lentor through beat surrender. The bonus disc would be even more worthwhile than the original material, The Rhodes Violin certainly a fine (if not superior) complement to The Rhodes Elegy off CWII, I myself loving its initial resonances, both suave and mysterious. Apart from a few fragments that sound the wrong way, "smoothy" or too beat-driven, the entire album can be enjoyed moderately. Yet afterwards, there's not much to say.

Ricochet | 3/5 |

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