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Klaus Schulze - Silhouettes CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic

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3 stars Most who have any knowledge of electronic music know Klaus Schulze is a living legend. The latest entry into his extensive discography is Silhouettes, which follows the trance inducing blueprint Klaus patented in the early Nineteen seventies. Four lengthy tracks all made on synths. There's some melody to the proceedings, but the main focus is atmosphere. 74 minutes of solid background music that shows the Berlin School still can delight the senses and sweep the cobwebs from your brain. Der Lange Blick Zuruck and Quae Simplex are the most interesting and active tunes of the four, but as a collection this album is delightful.
Report this review (#1938305)
Posted Sunday, June 10, 2018 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars It is hard to really comprehend just how important Schluze has been to Krautrock and electronic music in general, from his early days with Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel he then moved into solo works, and I am sure that many progheads have at least a couple of his albums in their collection. The four pieces on the album were created between summer and autumn 2017 following an extended period which was, due to health problems, very quiet and for this reason very meditative at times. Schulze: 'The result automatically was a phase of reflection, of retrospection, of pure contemplation. In the wake of your 70th birthday you naturally find yourself looking back at the past ' so the result is a reorientation, a renewed awareness of what is really important.' Schulze describes the music on 'Silhouettes' as a 'reduction to the essential things' and has consciously worked only very sparingly with solos and vocal elements. He explains: 'No great distractions, nothing to force your attention in a certain direction, no major effects or gimmicks, no frills or dominant rhythms. It was important to me to paint the pictures in the depth of the space, the sonic fields of tension and atmosphere.'

My wife found me intently listening to this album and burst out laughing, as I had my eyes closed, and she just wouldn't believe that I wasn't actually asleep. But this is an album that really does work best when all other sensory distractions are removed, and one can just fall into the soundscapes being created. In many ways this reminds me of some of his earlier work, where trance was an influence, and the music becomes layered soundscapes for the mind. It is more direct than many of Jean Michel Jarre's works, but in some ways it does have similar style, yet somehow that little bit more direct. It doesn't fall into the New Age of some of Wakeman's solo works either, but combines many elements that just work. Of all the solo albums I have heard from Schulze, I must admit that this is my favourite so far, although to be fair I have only come across such as small amount of a man with a prestigious output. Fans of both electronic music and prog will certainly enjoy this.

Report this review (#1945991)
Posted Saturday, July 7, 2018 | Review Permalink
3 stars By far, my favorite Klaus Schulze albums are his first ten, released between 1972 and 1978.

I bought and have listened many times to five of his next seven albums, but they just aren't nearly as good.

When he released Moonlake in 2005, it was hailed as a return to his earliest works, but I didn't bite (although now I'm tempted). The same was said of Silhouettes thirteen years later, and I decided to give it a try.

The opener, "Silhouettes," is vintage Schulze, or more correctly, vintage atmospheric Schulze. "Der Lange Blick Zurück" starts off sounding like more of the same until a Schulze-style sequencer pattern starts around a third of the way through its 22-minute length. Surprisingly, at one point, the sequence arpeggios around what seems like a major chord - - very unlike the Schulze music I'm aware of. The pad-and-sequencer-based "Quae Simplex" ("that simple" in Latin) lives up to its name, and very nearly resolves on a major chord - - though this piece too is reminiscent of 1970s Schulze. Not long after the sequencer kicks in around 1:40 of the final track, "Châteaux Faits De Vent," it's almost as if a variation of the main movement of "Quae Simplex" is being played. The substantial difference is that "Châteaux" is much more sequencer-driven.

Silhouettes is indeed a return to Schulze's early period, and it's a good album, but I'm pretty sure Schulze has created this album for personal, as opposed to commercial or even artistic purposes. In addition to those first ten albums, there are well over eighteen hours of music on seven fantastic La Vie Électronique sets (v. 1 to 7) for fans of this era of his music. Another 75 minutes, in the form of Silhouettes, was hardly needed.

Silhouettes perfectly fits the definition of a three-star album on Prog Archives: good, but not essential.

Report this review (#2138756)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2019 | Review Permalink

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