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Klaus Schulze - La Vie Electronique 1 CD (album) cover

LA VIE ELECTRONIQUE 1

Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic


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Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Episode I in the Schulze retrospective "La Vie Electronique". This set consists entirely of early studio recordings from the 70-72 period, meaning much of it predates his first official album "Irrlicht". In this era Klaus Schulze was still very experimental and minimalist, inventing new sounds on whatever equipment he could lay his hands on: a small echo-mixing device, an electronic Teisco organ, and processed guitar effects to produce dark rhythmic pulses. Needless to say all music on this set is still devoid of sequencers.

CD1 starts with the previously unreleased 3-part suite "I was dreaming I was awake and then I woke up and found myself asleep" (blame the goofy song-titles on Klaus D. Mueller, manager of the sacred Klaus Schulze vaults). This set is worth getting for this 25 minute piece alone. It's similar to "Irrlicht" but more organ-based and still with a more spacey touch, reminiscent of Richard Wright's organ playing of the "Umma Gumma" period. Also "The Real McCoy" and "Tempus Fugit" are stunning examples of Schulze's pre-Irrlicht experimentations. All these early give ample proof of his subtle but deeply sensitive playing.

CD2 has two lengthy organ pieces, "Traumraum" and "Cyborg's Traum", with the shorter "Study For Nrian Eno" in between. That songtitle is a bit misleading as Eno wasn't involved yet with experimental electronic music in 1970. Anyway, it's a stunning electronic piece that stands out after the very minimal and moody organ piece that preceded. "Cyborg's Traum" is more experimental, with lots of bleeps and buzzes from a maltreated piece of electronic equipment.

The bulk of CD3 is a 64 minute piece called "Die Kunst hunder Jahre alt zu warden". Schulze is well on his way to make it a hundred years and he will probably go while bent over his keyboards. I must say that after the 2 preceding CDs a certain weariness can set in. The mood is consistently dark and the playing is heavily chromatic, which can wear down the bravest of listeners. In the middle sits the best section, it's called "Machinenspiele" and it can be enjoyed as an individual piece with dizzying pulsating organs. The CD ends with two shorter pieces of which "Study for Terry Riley" is a clear tribute to one of Schulze's greatest influences.

Spread over 3 CDs comes 4 hours of abstract electronic music. That's 4 album's worth of material for the price of 1 CD. A good deal considering how I've enjoyed listening to this set in the past year. However, most material doesn't match his first two studio albums. Recommended for fans of the artist.

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Posted Thursday, April 07, 2011 | Review Permalink

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