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Code III


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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Always described as Klaus Schulze's side project, Code III is essentially the work of Manfred Schunke and friends. This debut and last effort is a surprising, solid experimental essay in electronics, sonic soundscapes. The whole thing remains austere, featuring a lot of noisy interferences, avant folk eccentricities and various abstract, haunted electronic vibrations. The atmosphere tends to be unrealistic and ethereal. "Formations / The genesis" opens this amazing musical voyage with hypnotic electronic collages and narratives. This glacial and dark opening carries on a celebration of earth with in its bucolic nature. The musical illustration contains careful acoustic guitar lines, tranquil hippie like vocals. "Dawn of an era" features Schulze on drums for a ritualistic, esoteric drum / choir session. The sound is really deep, obsessional, oppressive...really weird but fascinating for adventurous listeners. "Countdown-Phoenix rising" represents the submit; a persistent strange experimental noisy piece built around an intense psych rock freak out. The composition starts with hesitant, spectral noises then goes into a repetitive hypno-rock theme led by a continuous bass line and electronic gadgets. The tempo goes faster to finally open on a vicious psycho-cerebral nightmare with plaintive, tormented voices in the distance. The last 10 minutes are a considerable exploration into sinister, ecstatic drone- like voices, including distorted guitar lines and cosmic effects. A magnificent, elegiac end...This album is obviously recommended. A unique recording.
Report this review (#89069)
Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Interesting are the stories and the truthful examples of great music into tiny and obscure bits of creation, promotion, lived performance or succinct sound revolution and evolution. Code III made only one album, but it impresses up to the point that great fans of the cluster music (generally speaking) can't control out of the freak excitement in it, specialists appreciate it comfortably as a high standard and a wrapping special case; but the rest stays hidden, both in the private pleasure of listening such a music and in the adapting taste of it being rare, hidden, trashed etc. Code III have one album, and it is, more or less approvingly, better than some entire music recordings, made by more intuitive (or simply not that spontaneous) artists. Code III strikes as an independent gathering of musicianship and musicality, yet a small label, Delta Acoustic (keen on artificial music or stereo equipment progressivism), picked up their creation and produced the album into a more broadened and fully accomplished attention; not to last long, yet to signal the entire stress of an album that's special. Code III is the ensemble of five talented (or beyond) artists, but it all reflects, almost, the craft and class of Manfred Schunke, who must have had, through this creation, a bit of intention to master all the ultimate language of the German acid prolific act. Finally, Planet Of Man is referenced as a great, different, deviant and out-striking album - and I tend to agree with every recognition this hard work, transformed and bashed through all imagination, sound effect and drastic measures, receives, being brain-exploding, partially, or lavishly artistic, amazingly.

On a different account, this is one of the most important and almost unpredictable artistic points on which Klaus Schulze worked and collaborated, outside his own striking classic expression (but together with it, since entire moments out of Planet Of Man make you think of Schulze, the drone artist or the virulently stickler of the analogy music, the experimentalist or the conceptualist). Schulze's participation in Planet Of Man's suggestive art equals the best (but also most critical) slides of the Cosmic Jokers, the really interesting Wegmuller tapes or, though nothing but superficial, a strange reminiscence of Electronic Meditation, where chimeras and noises ruled every fiber. Strangely, it is exactly the album that's not recognized, officially, in Schulze's discography, though the un-official (or fan-based) ones agree on the weird album being something slightly despondent of Schulze, if not actually exaggerating on Schulze's role. A role, true, not only based on drumming, but head stereo mixing too.

Planet Of Man is finally a complex, obscure, shredded in sound and design album, full of creation and contradiction, excessive in all the acid forms. It can portray all the summed specific progressive affections, from the electronic stereo primitive but refreshing call to the already easy to imagine electro-drones crashes, from krautrock's "rock" accent (it happens that a lot of moments do intend a schizoid remark towards pure rock and sound beat, rather than the very good psychedelics, giving an aura of moving harmony and "cantability", even to the points of boiling abstraction and weirdness) to acid rock's "acid" accent (when it gets on heavy and demonic trends, it's quite seminal and chaotic, reality-ruptured or form-farcical), finally from the experiment's bare huge size to some very special and delicate ornaments of music, sound, narration or avant-nuance. It's an attractive album for the very closed-in touches and modes, for the deep and devilish fantasy or for the problem of communicating an entire art, through an explosion of forms and a radicalness of rough explosions and groaning curiosities.

Private in its difficult, arid or unleashing orientation, the Planet Of Man experience, for krautrock and electronic, noise and concept scrupulosity. It's definitely independent and clouted, since all the ingredients can't define the entire spectrum. It's definitely a recommended album, since the art joy of such a music orientation must, more than usually, rhyme with an impressive and unique context.

Report this review (#128601)
Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars CODE III really was a project put together to simply showcase the Kunstkopf Artificial Head Recording System. Studio engineer Manfred Schunke was the man behind this and he brought in American multi-instrumentalist Ed Key along with his wife (vocals) and Apama Chakravarti who played tambura, harmonium and added vocals. Manfred asked Klaus Schulze if he would be interested in participating in experimenting with this new technology and he not only said yes he helped in the renovations to the studio. Klaus was back on the drum stool once again.This past week i've been listening to some strange music my friends, not only with this album but also with that DRUM CIRCUS album. Both are so inventive and well done though that it's hard not to be impressed with either.This was is also quite the trip I must say.

"Formations / The Genesis" is the almost 18 minute track to get us warmed up.We get different spacey sounds coming and going to start as distant sounding spoken words arrive before 2 minutes. It sounds like thunder before 3 1/2 minutes. A haunting atmosphere at 6 1/2 minutes followed by more spoken words.Water sounds come in as it continues to be haunting. Birds then come in chirping as acoustic guitar joins in as well. Flute-like sounds join in after 9 minutes followed by reserved vocals as the birds and guitar continue.This is great, it reminds me of an old FLOYD song as it's quite folky. It all gets more passionate then we get vocal melodies before 13 minutes then vocals 15 minutes in. Spoken words and atmosphere take over 16 1/2 minutes in. What a ride that was !

"Dawn Of An Era" opens with faint words then a line is repeated "Man is coming" over and over. Loud bangs come in then native chanting.This is quite haunting too.

"Countdown-Phoenix Rising" opens with female vocal melodies and harmonium. Faint spoken words before 2 1/2 minutes as the vocal melodies stop. Another person speaks over top of the first person who continues. A third person starts yelling and dropping some "f" bombs towards the second speaker as the first speaker continues.Yes this is insane ! The music kicks in after 4 1/2 minutes.This is great ! Klaus is pounding away then the vocal melodies join in a minute later.The tempo picks up before 7 minutes. Some strange shouts after 8 1/2 minutes then it picks up even more. So good. Silence 11 1/2 minutes in until faint sounds can be heard before 13 minutes. Spoken words too then a beat takes over and speeds up. Loud strange sounds after 17 1/2 minutes then we get a reprise of the music from the first track that I had said sounds like FLOYD when they play in that folky style.

I have read that this sounds amazing with headphones on. It's the Artificial Head technology !

Report this review (#468775)
Posted Friday, June 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars This obscure relic, apparently intended as some sort of demonstration disc, takes the listener on a cosmic voyage to the beginning of Time itself, reconstructed in a barely organized jumble of music, poetry, and amateur theatrics. It likely would be totally forgotten by now without the participation of KLAUS SCHULZE, but the Progressive Electronic trailblazer was just a hired hand for these sessions (and only as a drummer), his presence unable to salvage what must have been a very odd novelty even in the 1970s.

A possible concept is suggested by the cover reproduction of the NASA Pioneer plaque, launched into space as a greeting to any potential interstellar neighbors. The opening minutes of the album likewise recall the sound of a deep space probe adrift between the stars, but the awesome ambiance is interrupted by some portentous overlapping male/female narration, sounding like a Michael Moorcock paraphrase of the Book of Genesis.

What follows is an unexpected and very lovely episode of unplugged acid folk: a musical evocation of Eden by way of PINK FLOYD's "Grantchester Meadows", complete with birdsong. It's easily the highlight of the entire journey, and all the more charming when compared to the clunky symbolism heard afterward in "Dawn of an Era".

Here the music gives way to a cacophony of animal shouts, campfire chanting, and clumsy percussion...or maybe it's someone pounding nails into pressure-treated 2x4 lumber? The effect is not unlike an early RESIDENTS album (minus the humor), or a discarded outtake from the notorious AMON DÜÜL freakfest of "Psychedelic Underground", after the LSD wore off.

Some desultory Space Rock finally emerges during the 25-plus minute "Countdown-Phoenix Rising", with Schulze's metronomic drumming counting time beneath a foreground of ethereal Middle Eastern vocalizing. And the album returns in the end to the same idyllic melody heard earlier, but with more electronic emphasis in the reprise, providing artificial but not unwelcome closure to a very haphazard LP.

Listening to the album today is like watching an old, low-budget film with your eyes closed (or blindfolded): be prepared for more sound effects and dialogue than actual music. The world of Krautrock is dotted with unknown gems and hidden treasures, but some rarities are better left that way.

Report this review (#867570)
Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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