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X

Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic


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arildtor@stud
5 stars This is one of the best albums by Shulze (perhaps THE best). The compositions have very minimalistic and rythmic song structures, and Schulze succeeds in building some great moods. The track "Ludwig II. von Bayern" alone would be worth the price of the album, with its combination of catchy melodies (played by a classical string ensemble), minimalism and rock drumming. The way Schulze on this album uses layer upon layer with rythmic and melodic elements, really creates songs that keep you interested, even in the parts where, on the surface, nothing seems to be happening. The bonus track, "Objet d'Louis", is of little musical value, though. It is an old live recording of "Ludvig II. von Bayern", played with an out of tune orchestra that has not learned the song properly. But apart from that track, this album is a masterpiece.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#34995)
Posted Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Philrod
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Klaus Schulze more then surpasses himself on his tenth album(thats why it is called X by the way). Each song is inspired by a great German legend, but that is not the only thing that's great about this album. Schulze is absolutely astonishing with his electronic textures, which are joined by drummer Harold Grasskopf to give the album a more down to earth feeling. Every song takes a life in itself, and there are numerous bright moments, especially on the two higlights of the album, the opener Friedrich Nietzsche and the opener of the second album Ludwig II. von Bayern. The cello brings to the latter a new level, and surrounds Schulze's mood perfectly. But really Friedrich Nietzsche is the standout of the album, with a growing complexity that can't let you cold. The moog is specially well used on that one, the great tones adds to the textures into a perfectly constructed track. After you finish listening to this album, the images will stick into your head for a long time. Schulze's true masterpiece, X is flawless and now defines the career of this true pioneer of the electronic world.

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Send comments to Philrod (BETA) | Report this review (#34996)
Posted Saturday, May 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
katakala@welh
5 stars Personally this is one of favourits of Klaus as it combines very impressivily the rythmic pulse elements and flowing theme evolutions. It is more mature than the earlier works and the so called improvised content is better than in the later works. Personal highlights for me are Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludvig von Bayern.

Simply one of the very best in modern electronic music i've heard. Sadly it is not very known, even insed the genre.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#56224)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
mark.stevenso
4 stars [My review from a syth music site. I'm not sure what progressive rock fans will make of this. Genesis & Yes it ain't! There's no guitars whatsoever. No 'tunes' as such. There is: massed banks of all kinds ofsynth sounds, masses of mellotrons, drums & orchestral instruments in places. If you think synth music consists of Kraftwerk or Jean-Michel Jarre, think again... ]

This is an absolute MUST HAVE for Schulze fans. Possibly his greatest ever album, fully restored as per the Brain vinyl! There is also an interesting bonus track - a live orchestral / synth collaboration which contains elements of "Ludwig II". The big surprise here is that the short (5 mins) but wonderful track "Georg Trakl" has been expanded to a 26' epic. Superb stuff (it becomes a bit like "Heart" from the 1980 live album, but just buy it - you will not be disappointed. This 2CD set is sincerely recommended for anybody who would like to get into the strange but delightful world of Herr S. Be warned, however, that you must invest effort in some repeated listening to fully connect with this demanding / rewarding music. Finally may I take this opportunity to most warmly congratulate the people responsible for the current series of Schulze re-issues. Perfect sound, superb bonus material & beautiful packaging & booklets. 10/10

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#56262)
Posted Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have never heard a better mix of strings and electronics than on Klaus Schulze's double disc "X". These compositions definitely stand out from what is on his previous albums. I'm not sure about why the progressive electronic music of the seventies always tend towards minimalism or "ambient" (speculating about that would probably lead this review in the wrong direction). However, "X" is another minimalistic work from Schulze. Fans of minimalism (which is a simplicity in expression rather than only simple) definitely get their thing here. CD 1, which could be described as the easier part to get in to, contains four tracks. The first three tracks all have quite clear directions and sometimes they are even very rhythmic. The music then gets more loose and ambient. The best moment of the album is "Ludwig II. von Bayern" the first track of CD 2, where the strings are very prominent. The closing track "Heinrich von Kleist" (I don't have the bonus track "Objet d'Louis" so I can't comment on that) is in my opinion the weakest part of the album, because it doesn't give me anything new and it feels a bit stretched out. The same goes for "Friedemann Bach", the closing track of CD 1. But overall this is a highly recommended album, if you're into minimalism that is.

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Send comments to 1971 (BETA) | Report this review (#60735)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is not only Klaus Schulze's masterpiece, but a masterpiece of Electronic Progressive music. I picked up this double CD set with the bonus track (newly remastered through InsideOut) about a month ago and was literally blown away. Schulze fuses his various synths and keyboards with the backing of a string orchestra (bridging the old with the new, if you will...). This combination works immaculately. I, myself, wonder if Schulze new that the final release would be as amazing as it turned out!

Each composition is named after a famous historical figure, and as others have already stated, it's almost like Schulze is trying to create a "musical portrait" for each of these figures. The standouts are "Ludwig II Von Bayern" and "Friedrich Nietzsche." I personally prefer disc two, as it has "Ludwig" on it, which is IMO one of, if not, Schulze's greatest compositions (that I've heard at least). Sure, this album is very difficult to get into and most definitely not for everyone, but I find it an extremely rewaring experience.

I don't think that this is the best place to start exploring Schulze's expansive discography, but is an essential listen for every fan of electronic music. A better strart would be Moondawn. Like I said before, this is one of the most rewarding listening experiences I've had. This album is definitely a masterpiece of Progressive Electronic music, a must for any fan of the genre!!! Five stars!

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Send comments to Zac M (BETA) | Report this review (#62284)
Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Content Development & Krautrock Team
4 stars Co-pioneered and father of experimental electronic music, Klaus Schulze explores one more time the power of synthesisers and analog technologies in this diptych « X ». The representative meditative & dark keyboards parts animate the gorgeous electronic textures of "X". In addition to analog synths and electronic effects, the music contains string orchestra arrangements. As in "Irrlicht" it is sustained by "echoed" rather atmospheric sound treatments. The traditional musical element creates something deeper, exploring new realms. The dark "cosmic" symphony side of the project largely blows away the couple of boring "spacey" electronic pieces which open this musical adventure. "Friedrich Nietzsche » and « Georg Trakl » are two inconsistent electronic pieces with cheap melodies and binary, rolling acoustic drums. Just forget these two ones and go directly to "Friedemann Bach" and the second volume. "Friedmann Bach» is one of the most courageous recordings I've heard from Schulze. The tune opens with a plaintive strings, dark and grandiose theme, floating in space. The tension is progressively noticeable with the coming of a regular "haunted" and obsesssional synth pulse. The apocalyptic drumming parts enrich this macabre symphonic & elegiac dance. "Ludwig II" is slightly inferior than the previous composition because the neo-classical structure is too evident and suffers from a lack of variations. "Heinrich von Kleist » is an exquisite, ethereal composition with abundant source of beautiful synth textures and strings. A large scale work and a highly appreciated old vintage recording.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#63958)
Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Of all the Klaus Schulze albums I own, this one seems to be the most complete and the most concise of them. Sure the songs are still at herculean lengths and they have similar instrumentation as his previous efforts, but the addition of a drummer and a cello player really add some balance and some new dynamics to the mix. Of the seven tracks on the album spread out over two discs (this includes the bonus track put on the InsideOut reissue of the album), they all seem to have a consistent flow and a great sense of development, from sparse desolate atmospheric to tense and enigmatic synthesizer sections, a very wide range of emotions can be heard here. If you are to get one album by Schulze, X would be by far the best choice.

The first track is the 25 minute Friedrich Nietzsche. It begins with a choir that could easily be a mellotron, giving an epic and grandiose feeling. The drumming (by Harold Grasskopf) gives the piece a very down to earth feeling and helps keep the song on track even when it's at its most out there. Schulze in my opinion is benefited greatly from the addition of Grasskopf, because now his pieces feel more concise and to the point. The second track is the 26 minute Georg Trakl. It has a more atmopsheric feel than Friedrich, with some more expansive lead synthesizers and a nice underlying bass synthesizer beat. The drums are lush and they progressively become more and more involved in the song. It's an interesting track to say the least, but probably my least favorite on the album.Frank Herbert and Friedemann Bach are the two shortest pieces on the album, although they both still clock in at over 10 minutes. Herbert begins with a dissonant organ that becomes a droning and pulsating electronic beat with some underlying mellotron.

Bach begins with some underlying and bombastic percussion underneath some anxious synthesizer lines. Some interesting cello lines can also be heard in this track that spans a total of 17 minutes. Ludwig II von Bayern begins anxiously with some descending synthesizers and very haunting electronic noises and drones. Some superb orchestrations help create tension and a majestic atmosphere at the same time in this piece and in all, it's probably my favorite Schulze piece so far. Heinrich von Kleist is the last track of the official album, with Objet D'Louis being the bonus track. It begins with more anxious orchestral pieces and droning electronic noises, as well as a great underlying synthesizer progression. Throughout the 29 minutes of music, the piece evolves and regresses much like the shifting tide, reaching highs and lows but maintaining a constant flow. Objet D'Louis is the bonus track added on to the InsideOut reissue of the album. It's an even piece that reaches no real climax and yet doesn't fade off into obscurity. A good bonus, but it wasn't truly necessary.

In the end, X is the masterwork of Schulze, and may be one of the best electronic albums available. If you are in to minimalistic and atmospheric voyages of sound and emotion, than this album will definitely appeal to you. Although it's an ambitious and demanding listen, it's terribly rewarding in the end. 5/5.

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Send comments to Cygnus X-2 (BETA) | Report this review (#84634)
Posted Sunday, July 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Whilst Tangerine Dream never ceases to amaze me as the manage to create outstanding textures and sonic landscapes while at the same time keeping their audience awake, I'm afraid Schulze just bores me to tears. Although I recognize how influential his work has been for Electronic Music as a whole and for Kraut music in general, his solo stuff just don't do the trick for me. Before even thinking about buying this album, I'd tell you to spend you money wisely and buy Rubycon by TD, or Stratosfear by TD also for a more melodic approach.

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Send comments to electricsilence (BETA) | Report this review (#146627)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars My favorite Schulze album, along with Mirage.

This is one looong album though, not easy to get through in one sitting. Or, as I often do with Klaus' albums, listening in bed before falling asleep. This is not to imply that his music will put you to sleep, although it works well for that and no doubt many progheads would have trouble staying awake to this type of music.

Ambient, floating, psychedelic are the best ways to describe this music. A friend once told me that he thought of Schulze's music as totally organic. It grows and evolves so slowly and subtly that you don't realize it has changed until after it has. This is something that will be hard to grasp for many people, as this is very minimalist and slow moving music. But for those of us who have the patience and the ear for it, this is some of the most beautiful, and conversely, disturbing music there is. The cello of Wolfgang Tiepold really makes this album for me. Combined with Klaus' floating and draw out melodies, it is just stunning. This is, as I said, music that grows and evolves slowly over time, rather than immediate and striking like most prog rock (this can't be called rock by any stretch if you ask me, even though it falls under the overarching banner of kraut rock.............though this site thankfully puts it under a more appropriate sub-grenre).

I can't really do a song by song analysis here, because in spite of the fact that the songs are distinct from each other, there is quite a similarity in style so I have trouble recalling specifics about each. However, the first and last tracks of the album (the two longest, on my original CD release version) are the most satisfying to me, containing the most enjoyable cello parts and, in the case of the first track, some great drumming by Grosskopf.

This is, for me, one of two masterpieces by Shultze. Many of his other albums come quite close (Picture Music, Dune, Timewind, In Blue............and I haven't heard even half of his albums), but this one and Mirage are just that bit better and more masterful. If you like Tangerine Dream and the spacier parts of Pink Floyd, you may enjoy this. But remember that it takes patience and probably a certain temperament to appreciate the beauty in this music. Luckily for me, I am somehow able to have both when it comes to this music. 5 stars without a doubt.

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Send comments to infandous (BETA) | Report this review (#161860)
Posted Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Hmmm, my first Klaus Schulze albums (actually i bought X at the same time as Mirage).

First off I would like to state, this is not my taste at all. The songs are strung out with long ambient sections, with an almost techno beat accompanying. I am usually up for ambient music... but dedicating half an hour of my extremely short life for one strung out section of very shallowe ambient dribble is beyond me. The songs are simply to long, just for fun when I uploaded them onto my computer, I skipped to different parts of each song. In msot cases (1:00) sounds identical to (25:00).

Ofcourse, many people argue that this is really deep mood music, and I can see what you mean (hence 3 stars), it gets you into some cool hippy trance. However, it just rips at my nerves.

Die hard fans of ambient music will cherish this album, so if you are one of these people, HERE YA GO!

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Send comments to OzzProg (BETA) | Report this review (#164169)
Posted Monday, March 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is probably Klause Schulze's most ambitious recording.This his tenth studio album would be a double, and he would honour 5 men who he admired greatly by naming the songs after them. Because this was also a movie soundtrack ("Barracuda") he could afford to add an orchestra. He would also add a cello player and a drummer.The drummer was Harald Grosskopf from WALLENSTEIN who also played on his "Moondawn" album. The re-issue that i have is over 2 hours long, which for electronic music is way too long in my opinion. Especially when they added a bonus track which is simply an almost 22 minute live version of the first song on the second disc. They also extended "Georg Trakl" by over 20 minutes on the first disc. So in a perfect world I would be much happier with one disc with my favourite music on it. The other negative for me is the orchestral music which works at times, but for me it usually is more of a distraction. Lots of great music here though, and I did really enjoy the synths, drums and mellotron a lot. In fact for many people this is their favourite Schulze recording, so take what I say with a grain of salt. It's just my taste and opinion.

As much as "Friedrich Nietzsche" and "Frank Herbert" might sound similar they're two of my three favourite tracks on this double album.The mellotron, drumming and spacey synths are all so amazing. The moog seems more dominant on the latter song but they both are incredible."Georg Trakl" isn't bad but it's slower moving and seems to drag on for too long with the added 20 minutes. "Friedmann Bach" features lots of strings as drums come and go. An interesting track.

On disc two "Ludwig II Von Bayern" just has too much orchestration for my tastes.The bonus track is the live version of it but with a full orchestra, but I don't like it any better. "Heinrich Von Kleist" is my other top three song, and it's quite spacey and dark with orchestration until about half way through when the spacey sounds stop. It gets experimental then the spacey mood returns. Mellotron 18 minutes in. Drums come in after 23 minutes as the atmosphere seems to get more powerful as it plays out. I like it ! Tough for me to rate because I always rate excluding bonus tracks.That would make disc one 4 stars and disc two is probably 3 stars although "Heinrich Von Kleist" is so good.

I think 3 stars is fair.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#203450)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The recognition of the music of Germany of the 70's might have had music including the element of the electron , for example, the synthesizer also in Japan where I lived. Music that especially multiused electronics had feeling that Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream did [****] as a result being recognized those elements partially indispensable in the machine parts that the musician used.

The fashion like existing SF might spread from the flow in the 60's to the world to some degree and music to imagine space like them be established to music with Trip. It might be clear that it one was culture and feeling of cannot tasting the synthesizer with existing musical instruments till then. Schulze and TD advance to Britain and invent a lot of masterpieces in 1974. The flow of music with such a synthesizer might have become the index of directionality to techno and Ambient back.

It is known it has the flow of digital for the synthesizer in modern days well. And, he accomplishes the activity of apart from others though it is pushed to the wave of New Age in the 80's with TD. He has appeared it and "Expressionist" it might appeared in the work for music before the musician.

This album is an album that hits his tenth work. He is satisfactorily demonstrated the method concerning Music who has cultivated it before and the technique and might be ..work summarized the appearing idea ..content.., too.. finished since this album. The photograph concerning the activity of the music that he did is published in the album.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#229460)
Posted Saturday, August 01, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This tenth album from the man was a quite adventurous affair, but unlike some other distinguished reviewers, I don't feel like being confronted to a masterpiece while listening to "X".

It sounds as if his cosmic texture has been quite turned into a dramatic upbeat affair, and the pieces held in here are less spacey and melodic than usual. It is clear that I prefer the spatial beauty of "Timewind" than the elements found here.

Not that I don't like a song as "Nietzche" but it is globally quite difficult to approach (just like the work of this German writer). Maybe that's the relation with his work: intricate and little harmonious. The vigorous percussions are also adding a layer which was mostly absent so far and which I can't really endorse.

One of my preferred track is the short and ambient "Trackl". More in-line with the usual great work from Klaus. Sorry if I may sound as a conservative here but my feeling are the same about the upbeat and repetitive "Frank H" which is the one I can't really stand here.

Fortunately, the superb and neat "Bach" reverts me into best known territories and I can't say anything more than I far much prefer these inter-sidereal soundscapes. Relaxing, melodic, subliminal, beautiful even the final part is quite abstruse.

"Ludwig II" starts very promisingly (if would like to consider my remarks from above), but after the first classical passage, it gets in too many directions, and some sort of cacophony prevails for several minutes.

My preferred song from this album is the beautiful closing "Heinrich Von Kleist". The violin play adds some East-European flavour and an extreme beautiful sadness (yes, it is compatible). This track is a wonderful journey to some far away abyss.

It is as beautiful as his best pieces: fully aerial, mysterious, ambitious, ethereal and easily accessible. It really saves the bill IMHHO. The last and complaining ten minutes are just another gorgeous moment of electronic music.

Klaus used me to release long albums and that was never a problem in terms of quality. With this work, I don't feel as receptive as usual and I would have preferred a much, much shorter format.

My review is based on the original work, but when I read Ricochet's reviews about the bonus material available in a newer release of this album, it doesn't really encourage me to grab it. As such three stars. It is my least fave album from Klaus so far in his discography. The most hermetic for sure.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#240759)
Posted Monday, September 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars X is widely recognized as the crowning achievement of Schulze's creative peak years. Following right after the incredible Mirage, we find Schulze rehashing known formulas and also exploring some new grounds beyond the usual boundaries of his style.

I admit adoring this album 20 years ago. However, I was in quite a Schulze mood in the first half of 2009 and imagine what, X came out as a bit of a disappointment. It has aged very well in terms of sound, but not so good in its over-indulgent ambitions. Nevertheless, it is monumental piece of work so I'll pay my respects with an equally long-winded review :)

Friedrich Nietzsche In form this is the closest you could come to define a quintessential 70's classic Schulze track, featuring entrancing sequences, wild moog solos and lots of percussion. It takes us back to the sound of Body Love but it's no improvement over similar tracks like PTO or Nowhere Now Here.

Georg Trakl Again the recognizable pattern of layers of interweaving sequences with a swirling finale. Somehow this one grabs me more then the opener. It's amazes me this track faded out after 5 minutes on the original vinyl. It's so much better here, restored to its full length. Nevertheless, I would have liked it even more if they had cut it at about 15 minutes. The last 10 are a bit dull and the tempo changes at the end don't work at all for me. (Yes we're a demanding audience)

Frank Herbert Kicks things in a slightly higher gear. Schulze never did anything so similar to something from Tangerine Dream in fact. Rather similar to TD's Madrigal Meredian from 1978's Cyclone but far below in execution: it is slightly predictable in its modulations and it doesn't have a good solo or interesting layers of sound to round it off. It fades out without grabbing much attention.

Friedeman Bach Similarly to Georg Trakl, Schulze goes for a slow and brooding sequence, creating a tension that never gets resolved. Especially so with the slightly dissonant violins and great percussion. It's very repetitious, but it works fine for me.

Ludwig II von Bayern Friedeman Bach introduced some violins in the mix. Here they are used for maximum dramatic effect. They are the lead instrument and move through a few repeated themes during this half hour long composition. The themes are somewhere in between Mozart's late symphonies and the romantic lyricism of 19th century Russian composers like Mussorgsky. It might also remind you of Philip Glass' track Pruit Igoe from Koyaaniskatsi. The track is absolutely stunning for the first 10 minutes. But then follows a very monotonous section with just one theme stretched over 10 minutes. I find that hard to sit through. The closing section repeats the opening 10 minutes but after the dreary middle part it overstays its welcome.

Heinrich von Kleist Continues the violin heavy sound, but the themes develop more organically. It's very minimal; the absence of sequences and recognizable melodies will demand some patience but the atmosphere created here is so out worldly and beautiful that you will need to take the effort to sit this one out.

Objet d'Louis A low-fi live rendition of Ludwig II. Unnecessary. Since I have heard the Historic Edition cd-set, I find it a bit disappointing that this piece got selected above "The Future" (HE cd4), a similar track in sound and atmosphere but much superior.

From a compositional point of view X is Schulze's most diverse album. But because of the variety and its extreme length, it's an acquired taste. You may like some tracks a lot and others not at all. If you want to get into the Schulze universe I would rather recommend the chilling Mirage, Body Love II, Timewind or his more recent album Kontinuum.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#246862)
Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars X is one Schulze's epic masterwork, with a strong emphasis on epic. This album is obnoxiously long, and most people probably couldn't get through this album in one setting. Fortunately, this music is fantastic enough to make its full running time ignorable, for the most part.

I won't go much into detail about each track individually (c'mon, I just finished three final exams and a long research paper), but this whole album is an amalgamation of Klaus Schulze's best work and the best of the progressive electronic rock genre. If there is anything that you've ever liked about progressive electronic, it's here on this 2 disc set.

Electronic experimentation, sonic textures, dark ambient atmosphere, driving beats, accentuating percussion, soaring synths, spatial noises, chamber orchestra arrangements, hellish drones and exciting buzzscapes are all here. Do yourself a favor and purchase this album.

P.S. - Disc 2 is the best part.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#439046)
Posted Monday, April 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A feast of Klaus Schulze compositions, each intended to reflect the personality of one of Klaus' inspirations. More diverse fare than the usual Schulze work - there's still epic electronic tracks in his signature style, but other tracks reintroduce percussion into his music to a greater extent than any of his solo albums, whilst others slip violin into the mix, and there's even a mostly orchestral piece. Still, the absolutely epic running time will try the patience of many, and I can't put hand on heart and say this is better than Mirage. Nonetheless, another very credible addition to the sprawling Schulze discography.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#558566)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The last of Schulze's 'classic' albums (beginning with Timewind from 1975) this was his most ambitious album to date. It's his most symphonic and classically influenced album featuring string players. Here he picks up the orchestral experiments he left behind on his solo debut Irrlicht. But unlike that album the strings here are not altered to sound like anything but strings. Guest drummer Harald Grosskopf is back and he is put to good use on this album. Klaus himself plays some percussion. This was originally a double album but the track "Georg Trakl" was cut to just 5 minutes because of vinyl limitations. The latest CD reissue restores all 26 minutes of the song and includes a bonus live version of one of the other tracks under a different title. Like Moondawn this album was slightly re-mixed for CD, with some keyboard parts being added.

The tracks on X are named after people who Klaus was inspired and/or influenced by. "Friedrich Nietzsche" (pronounced 'neets-shuh' and not 'neechy') was a famous German philosopher. This opens the album in a traditional Schulze spacey kind of way. Around 4 1/2 minutes the drums appear. The drumming gets more looser and busy as the track evolves. Klaus' tom-toms are really loud compared to Harald's drumkit. Behind the drums and percussion we get ethereal and spacey soundscapes with the occasional quasi-solo on synth. Once in awhile you hear something that resembles a melody.

"Georg Trakl" was an Austrian Expressionist poet. This is based around a sequence of notes repeated throughout the entire piece. Echoed synth soloing at the beginning. Drums come in later and are very cymbal-oriented. Later on some hypnotic sequencer patterns appear. The drumming eventually turns into some kind of proto-techno beat before it becomes more subdued and settles into the background. Most of the keyboards fade away and everything turns to a minimalistic note. The drums and sequencers become more prominent at the end.

"Frank Herbert" is an American writer most famous for his book Dune (which is what KS will call his next album which also features the cello player from here). At just under 11 minutes this is the shortest track. Sounds like Klaus is trying to appeal to the New Wave crowd here with the steady drumbeat and punky sequencer rhythm. Some sort of soloing on the synths at times. A good consistent song but not a highlight. "Friedemann Bach" was the son of J.S. Bach. This is probably the weakest track but it's still interesting. The most avant-garde thing on X. Generally not a lot going on here; sort of a mood piece like the music on his first two albums.

It starts out symphonic with some sparse percussion. A sequencer pattern appears as the other instruments seem to be improvised. Some interesting violin work in this track. Later gets scary and dramatic sounding. "Ludwig II. von Bayern" was a Bavarian king. This is the most classical sounding piece and a highlight. Great mix of strings and keyboards here. Features some strong melodies, some of which sound familiar. During one of those melodies around 6 1/2 minutes is some truly gorgeous Mellotron choir. Love this part. Mainly just moody strings for awhile. This middle part goes on just a bit too long I think and could have been edited a bit.

Eventually it goes back to the strings playing melodies. After 21 minutes the drums finally show up playing a laid-back, mid-paced beat. Some spacey sounds from the synths towards the end. "Heinrich von Kleist" was a German poet. This starts out with symphonic synths. Soloing violin later. Gets rather ambient sounding before some sci-fi sounding synth noises lead to a more ethereal yet dramatic vibe. Later gets more spacey and avant- garde sounding. Eventually it becomes more symphonic and the drums decide to join in playing sparse and almost randomly. One of the weaker tracks.

This may be a good place to start with Klaus Schulze, especially if you are a Symph Prog lover. However, there is a lot of music here and chances are you will rarely listen to the whole thing in one setting more than once. Like the vast majority of double-albums I think this would have been better as a single album. If X consisted of nothing but "Nietzsche" and a slightly edited "Ludwig" this might get 5 stars from me. But as it is it's still a great album, some would say his last great album. 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#609776)
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
4 stars Yes, this relatively much reviewed album is among the finest by Klaus Schulze. Originally released as a double vinyl, the CD edition consists of two full-length discs (both over 79 minutes), because one track ('Georg Trakl' 26:04) was originally only a fracture in length, and because there's a live version of another, nearly a half an hour track. While the latter is not that necessary, unless you enjoy comparing the two versions, the former is worth the massive playing time.

As I said in my previous Schulze review of Dune, "X" has a lot of intensity and sense of drama. Definitely the appearance of a drummer (Harald Grosskopf) helps this album to stand out positively from Schulze's vast discography. It's maybe closer to the Virgin-era TANGERINE DREAM than Schulze in general - so it's especially recommendable to those who know TD but not yet Schulze.

This time he has drawn inspiration from mostly literary figures. And as a lover of literature I'd like to deal a bit with those persons. First, 'Friedrich Nietzsche', the famous and also notorious philosopher with his ideas of Über-Mensch. The musical portrait is stunning, a highlight of not only Schulze's but of the whole Electronic Music genre. Spacey sounds accompanied with intense percussion and just the right amount of progressivity along the way.

Georg Trakl is a less known figure. I studied from a literature sourcebook that Trakl (1887- 1914) was an Austrian poet with a tragic and short life, and in his Expressionistic poetry he dealt with suffering and death. The dark tones of this sinister track reflect that life and the listener can visualize in music all details (s)he knows about it. Heinrich von Kleist (1777- 1811), a playwright and short story writer, made a double suicide with his ill female friend. The track features violin and - as Bonnek points out - demands in its minimalism a lot of concentration from the listener but is full of otherworldly beauty.

Ludwig II von Bayern was the duke of Bavaria in the 13th Century. This track (it's the one with the mildly shorter live version included too), featuring a string orchestra, is not among my favourites here. It flirts with classical music sometimes to a dramatical effect but it also has sections that make it a bit unbalanced as a whole. Also 'Friedemann Bach' (referring to one of J. S. Bach's sons?) got a dishonour of not being taken into my one-CD edition of "X".

'Frank Herbert' makes an exception in two things: it's the only "shorter" track - if a Schulze track is 10:47, you can use the word short! ;) - and the only figure not from a German- speaking country (and also the only one having lived after the World War Two). The next year Schulze would record Dune based on Herbert's famous SciFi novel. This track is not up to the level of album's highlights but a fairly good one and not too long at least.

Mostly "X" is in my opinion Schulze at his best, but I'm not sure if I can rate it with five stars if it's not entirely that good in its 2 x 79 min length. But it contains some excellent Electronic Music that very likely pleases the listeners of the genre and may win it new listeners too, if they only get over the feature that it's generally very repetitive and therefor a 25-minute track is completely another thing than a prog epic of the same length. The SOUND is the key word why I enjoy Electronic Music, and lately Klaus Schulze has become one of my key artists.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#643824)
Posted Friday, March 02, 2012 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The last truly great release from the German godfather of electronica - and arguably his best - 1978's double-sided 'X' album marked the culmination of a fabulous decade for the former Tangerine Dream drummer. With all ten albums leading up to 'X' (bar, perhaps, the avant-garde dronery of 'Blackdance') proving singularly brilliant in their own unique way, the 1970s was a truly fertile period for Schulze and it seems fitting that he would end this golden period with one of his most ambitious projects. Featuring almost two hours worth of material spread out over six lengthy tracks, and with each track based on a particular historical hero of the Teutonic synth wizard, 'X' is a truly magnificent labour-of-love featuring a vast array of analogue technology (synthesizers, mellotrons, sound effects, tape relays, banks of keyboards etc). The subjects for 'X' are drawn mainly from the worlds of classical Germanic music and literature, and include philosophiser Friedrich Nietzeche, Austrian poet Georg Trakl, classical composer Friedemann Bach, former Bavarian king Ludwig 2nd and German novelist Heinrich Von Kleist. The one exception to the otherwise Germanic cast is the addition of American author Frank Herbert - best known for writing of the epic sci-fi opus 'Dune' - and whose trademark novel would become the focus of Schulze's next album, 1979's 'Dune'. Schulze claims to have a stylistic theme running through each composition, yet with each individual piece stretching around the twenty-minute mark, 'X' simply becomes is a highly-complex and never-ending sprawl through the psychedelic possibilities of early electronica. Like contemporary electronic artists Tangerine Dream and Edgar Froese, this is music very much for those listeners with the patience to enjoy it, with layers of highly atmospheric artificial sounds, industrial noises and throbbing, phaser-laced keyboard washed gently bubbling away underneath Schulze's slowly-unfurling synth-led rhythms and melodies. Like his very best work ('Timewind', 'X', 'Irrlicht') 'X' proves a thoroughly hypnotic and intensely mystical experience - more a continuous soundscape than a series of tunes - yet one that never loses its momentum. Describing 'X' in it's entirety is a difficult enough task; listening to it is an almighty quest into the unknown. Fans of Schulze will, of course, know exactly what to expect; new listeners are advised to take their time, as multiple listens reveal the true sonic beauty of Schulze's gloriously anti-commercial music. His last great work, 'X' is a true sensory experience and Klaus Schulze an artists quite unlike any other. Highly recommended. STEFAN TURNER, FRANCE, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#795478)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2012 | Review Permalink

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