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Klaus Schulze - Shadowlands CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic

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4 stars As many of the founders of this category; KLAUS SCHULZE has such a vast discography (with not "ALL" of those works; being exactly "Pearls"); that it is easy to get something which is not to ones own likings (how elegant ) or overlook some other excellent work. I guess that is why Progarchives is so attractive. Also sometimes it saves me a lot of time & money, understanding of course that all judgements passed are as subjective; as who you are. So we all have to draw our own conclussions; at the end of the day. . Well if you like Schulzes´s better days recovered in works like "In Blue" or the work done with (Death Can Dance; vocalist/composer)) Lisa Gerrard. "SHADOWLANDS" is in the same route and concept; (the usual, in fact) of long timed environmental compositions.

Why name "In Blue" in reference to this work? This work takes the same sinous, hypnotic and music free-flowing directions found in that album, but here there is less electronic- pulse/processes, this one tends more to the minimal, more towards simplicity (without silly "riffs" or "catchy" melody progressions; which sometimes Mr Schulze loves to abuse). And why the reference to his works with Lisa Gerrard? As those, this work also moves closer to "Sonic-Ambients", a field Mr. Schulze, also knows by heart.

With intelligent; slow paced compositions, varying his atmospheres as not to sound too "synth-full", and I suppose also, as a more experienced composer, as to avoid unnecessary ornamentations, a more clear to the his goal in the song writing, and of course overall, greatly achieved results.

**** 4 "excellent electronic/ambient work;... we were long overdue!"

Report this review (#924065)
Posted Monday, March 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#933006)
Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Review originally posted at

Lately I've been into Schulze's work with Lisa Gerrard, which to my ears is pure beauty, a wonderful combination of those endless electronic nuances and the also endless emotions powered by her voice, but I am actually a fan of Klaus' music as solo, so when I realized this 2013 he had released a new album, I couldn't wait to listen to it, the result is what he uses to offer, long songs, a salad of sounds merged into a saucerful of textures made by synthesizers.

Only 75 minutes of progressive electronic can be appreciated here, but wait, if you managed to get the special edition then you will have an extra CD with two songs that have almost the same length, I assume this music is not for everyone, because one can easily fall asleep if the situation is not the best, so please open your mind, rest and be prepare to have a new journey. The first song "Shadowlights" could actually be a sole album, it lasts 42 minutes in which he produces countless images, first only with some sounds but little by little he adds a lot of effects, noises, figures that with the pass of time help the music creating a story, which at the same time is divided in several short stories.

We can listen to drums that make the rhythm and invite the other sounds to produce something under its command; we can listen to voices here and there, I am not sure if Lisa's voice is there, it may be a sampler I don't know, but it is like the sensation of being watched by someone, who later talks to us while we are flying, discovering new realms, letting our souls be filled by the blood that runs on the universe's veins. What I love from Schulze's music, is that no matter its length, I always have something to imagine, it is wonderful how can my mind create stories that later may become history, how every single note/noise/texture etc. can cut across my soul and become part of me. One can travel and travel and don't find an exit, but when I listen to this music, I don't want to find an exit, I just want to be trapped and focus on what the music offers, nothing more.

"In Between" is much shorter though still long (17 minutes), here the first minutes are like echoes of that female voice, like spirits passing beside you while you are floating in another dimension, you may be dead but you are being charmed by several muses that lead you to a better place. After some five or six minutes the liquid landscapes take over the music, so those muses led you to Schulze's world actually, so sit comfortable and enjoy the trip. "Licht und Shactten" might be the second part of In Between, it starts with the same rhythm the previous finished, and then the voices appear again but clearly in new stages. The music flows, the same rhythm prevails, and the story changes little by little until it fades out.

I liked this album a lot, pure Schulze style, I love the images it puts every time I listen to it, so that's enough, that's a proof the music succeeded with me. My final grade 4 stars.

Enjoy it!

Report this review (#1012235)
Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | Review Permalink

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