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Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic

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Klaus Schulze Big in Japan album cover
3.27 | 26 ratings | 2 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1
1. The Crystal Returns 38:09
2. Sequencers Are Beautiful 39:00

CD 2
1. La Joyeuse Apocalypse 46:41
2. Nippon Benefit 14:16
3. The Deductive Approach 12:12

1. A Crystal Poem 34:12
2 Sequencers Are Beautiful 43:39

Line-up / Musicians

Klaus Schulze - All Instruments

Releases information

Cat. No.: MIG 00412

Thanks to sfranke for the addition
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KLAUS SCHULZE Big in Japan ratings distribution

(26 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(58%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

KLAUS SCHULZE Big in Japan reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Big In Japan' - Klaus Schulze (6/10)

If there's ever been an electronic composer one might call prolific, it is Klaus Schulze. An artist who has now gotten used to composing drawn out suites of music on the spot in front of an audience, it seems a live recording of the man's creativity is the best way to hear him work. Enter 'Big In Japan', an album recorded in front of a live audience by an electronic musician with forty years of experience to work with. At two discs of complete material and even a single track approaching forty-seven minutes, it would be easily to think at first glance that this is a challenging piece of work. Quite on the contrary, Schulze has fashioned a very ambient two hours of music here, and while the album's gratuitous length may be questionable, Klaus Schulze pulls through here with soothing electronic sounds.

Although recorded in front of a live audience, there is little here that might suggest that this wasn't a studio recording, besides the occasional bout of applause from an otherwise lifeless audience. From someone that is more used to hearing a live recording plagued by the cheers and jeers of intoxicated audience members, this is a welcome change, because it gives a studio quality clarity of the sound, with the sort of sonic resonance that can only be achieved when everything is being recorded at once. Although it sounds like Klaus picks up a guitar once or twice in the concert, he is almost always stuck behind a synthesizer, noodling around and at times even creating some very well intentioned segments. With virtually every track here being indistinguishable from the other, it is evident that the music here is being improvised, but taken for what it is, the effect is rather refreshing.

There's no doubt that 'Big In Japan' is a relaxing piece of work, but really the biggest weakness here is in it's structure; more specifically the length. Both discs are filled almost completely with music, and while this does technically give more music for one's money, the whole addition of a second disc on its own feels utterly ridiculous. While the live album is obviously supposed to emulate a live performance in its entirety from Klaus Schulze, for listening purposes, it would have been much nicer if Schluze had compiled the best ideas and put them all into two or three tracks on one disc.

'Big In Japan' may be more of a fan-based item, but I find it is one of the better examples of Schulze's ingenuity with improvisation. Despite its gross length, I find that 'Big In Japan' is a fairly enjoyable piece of electronic ambiance, and quite easy to get lost in at that.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If only Klaus came to Mexico...

...I would be really happy, he is one of those musicians who I would love to see on stage someday, I am sure I would be hypnotized and caught by his music, his talent and everything. I still dream. Klaus Schulze has given us a vast amount of albums during his successful career, albums whose music can share different things at the same time, that transport you to different places, eras, memories, etc., he is a prolific composer and an icon of progressive electronic music.

Last year (2010) he released a new live album from his performance in Japan, a two-CD- an-one-DVD-set that is worth listening if you know his music. So what can you expect here, of course instrumental music, long themes with mysterious passages that will blow your mind, but beware, if you don't like this kind of electronic music, then you will feel bored at the end of the first track.

The first CD features two compositions that reaches 77 minutes, two long almost 40- minute track each one. It opens with "The Crystal Returns" which is like a new version, or unique version for this concert of "Crystal Lake", a song featured on his "Mirage" album. It is a wonderful composition that will leave you speechless, you better listen to it with good headphones so you can fully appreciate the different sounds, its colors, textures and nuances. I like the different sub-passages created in the track, the mood changes as the music is being re-built. Schulze's synthesizer work is one-of-a-kind; it is incredible what he can create with them. At half the song, electronic drums appear and give a new direction to the music, modifying your nerves and filling your soul with energy. It continues like that for some minutes, until it slows down again.

The second track is "Sequencers are Beautiful", in this particular track besides the usual synthesizers and keyboards, Schulze plays electric guitar, and you can appreciate it since the first minutes, though the guitar sound is not really loud, you can hear it as part of the background, experimenting with the sounds and once again, creating different things. There is actually not much to add, the music gives that spacey sound that make you feel flying above the Earth, knowing the universe and its peculiar and unknown things; music that make you have a trip and see weird and colorful things.

In the second CD was included a long 42-minute track called "La Joyeuse Apocalypse" and two shorter ones with "Nippon Benefit" and "The Deductive Approach", a 12 and 14 minute track respectively. In the first song we will find a dark atmosphere that make us travel to older times, however, after four minutes some spacey sounds appear and then it make us travel to the future, you just have to use your imagination. If I wanted to review very detailed this song, I would never stop, it would be like reviewing a full-length album actually, so I stop here.

About the shortest ones, honestly there are not memorable tracks, nor outstanding, and there is nothing unique or new to add, however you can enjoy it if you have the time and mood, I say this, because it might be tiring listening to both CDs in a row, I have to admit that it is not the easiest to dig, so I would honestly have left out these two shorter ones.

This live album does not really sounds live, it sounds more like a studio one since you cannot hear a single word or applause by the audience, so the quality of Klaus live is as good as in studio; I envy those who have witnessed a concert of his. Well, regarding this Live in Japan album, I like it, I actually like every single Schulze album I have ever listened, and for that I thought of a four-star rating, but I believe three stars is more accurate due to what I expressed, its long length, though it a 3.5 star system existed, that would be my choice.

Enjoy it!

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