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Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic


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Klaus Schulze Picture Music album cover
3.71 | 71 ratings | 15 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Totem (23:34)
2. Mental Door (23:03)
3. C'est Pas La Même Chose (33:00) (bonus track)

Total Time: 46:37 (79:37)



Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Klaus Schulze / all instruments


Releases information

LP Gramavision 18-7021-1 (1980)
CD Thunderbolt 98 (1996)
CD Magnum America 66 (1996)
CD Magnum America MACD66 (1996)
Revisited Records SPV 086-304072 CD REV 002 (2005)

Thanks to Fantômas for the addition
and to sheavy for the last updates
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Big In Europe Vol. 2: AmsterdamBig In Europe Vol. 2: Amsterdam
King Midas 2014
Audio CD$23.47
La Vie Electronique Vol.5La Vie Electronique Vol.5
Box set
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2012
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GoGo
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Big In Europe Vol. 1Big In Europe Vol. 1
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IrrlichtIrrlicht
Import
Spalax 1996
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TimewindTimewind
Blue Plate Caroline 1991
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La Vie Electronique 15La Vie Electronique 15
MADE IN GERMANY MUSI 2014
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$15.91 (used)
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KLAUS SCHULZE Picture Music ratings distribution


3.71
(71 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
15%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
46%
Good, but non-essential (31%)
31%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

KLAUS SCHULZE Picture Music reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars Actually , I have never seen this sleeve for this disc. The one I know is in the line of Timewind and Blackdance (representing some man having dived either in the atmosphere or water)! Not only is this remark valid for the artwork but also for the music.

If Irrlicht is probably more important historically , because it came out first, Klaus schulze is reaching fast his maturity with this album. Somehow the music is very similar to Tangerine Dream (the group he helped found with Edgar Froese, but left after the first album), but you can also plainly recognize that this album is clearly a Schulze Oeuvre. By this time , the use of sequencers were relatively common (as with Eno , Jarre and Oldfield) but this was still clearly adventurous music.

Today , with modern technology , it is easy to write-off such album as saying that they were able to do this because they were the first to own such synthetysers , but back then , only a truly adventurous person (such as the ones mentioned above) could've pulled such great sounds. Not as excellent as Timewind or Blackdance but still much worth a spin.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#34991) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, May 23, 2005

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The LP was released with several different versions of the cover art. The LP I bought in the 1970s had the predominantly blue and orange/brown cover art shown here, a surreal painting by Jaques Wyres.

If you are familiar with the electronic soundscapes of TANGERINE DREAM then you will immediately feel at home listening to this album. KLAUS SCHULZE was the drummer with that group before leaving to form ASH RA TEMPEL (also as drummer) and, after that, embark on his solo career as a 'sound artist' using synthesizers, other electronic keyboards, sequencers and some percussion.

This purely instrumental album was recorded in 1973 but was first released in 1975. The LP had two side-long tracks, although a 2005 re-issue on CD also has a 33-minute bonus track entitled 'C'est Pas La Meme Chose', a remixed and extended version of the first track 'Totem'.

The sounds on this album are almost hypnotic. The rhythmic pulsing, droning, throbbing, warbling and chirping electronic sounds are relaxing. As with the sounds of TANGERINE DREAM, this 'music' would seem to be a good accompaniment to getting stoned. When I'm tired this album is a real knockout draught. The second track 'Mental Door' includes SCHULZE on drums and cymbals backing a buzzy synthesizer tone seemingly rising and falling randomly, which I really enjoy for a while but it then starts to get a bit irritating.

"Picture Music" is more consistently trance music - and hence less varying - than, for example, TANGERINE DREAM's "Phaedra", but it does sound similar to the more hypnotically rhythmic segments on that album. I enjoy listening occasionally to the electronic soundscapes made by these artists but this is not my staple diet. I find "Picture Music" good but not particularly memorable, so I'll go with 3 stars (Good, but not essential).

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Send comments to Fitzcarraldo (BETA) | Report this review (#34992) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Review by Tom Ozric
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Klaus Schulze is a Krautrock icon and phenomenal synthesist, firstly drumming (!) for the incredible Krautrock bands 'Tangerine Dream, then 'Ash Ra Tempel', and what an amazing individual is he. 'Picture Music' is, what I think, his 'meisterwerk', not only utilising various early synthesizer technology, but actually *understanding* it. Side 1 , 'Totem', is an ambient soundscape, a near 24 minute 'otherwordly' atmosphere created by Klaus, formed out of percussive synth sequences, and drifting synth chords. The equipment stated on the back cover is : an EMS Synth 3 - sounds, ARP odysee - strings/percussion and a Farfisa Organ, as well as an acoustic drums set-up, which brings us to the second side - 'Mental Door', which is a more energetic piece, starting with brooding organ chords and sweeping synth effects, building to a frenetic frenzy of lead synth and manic drumming, the way only Klaus and precious few other progressive German musicians can create. Whilst some people prefer his more layered and involved work ( which is, for the most part, at least 'excellent' - although I only own albums up to 'Audentity'.) I am constantly amazed at the excitement this album generates - 5 star rating, no less !!!

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Send comments to Tom Ozric (BETA) | Report this review (#110523) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, February 03, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars "Picture Music" was recorded in 1973 but not released until 1975 for some reason. This is a significant album as Klause introduces those pulsating beats that TANGERINE DREAM hadn't started to do yet.This is a lot easier to digest than his debut "Irrlicht", although there is a passage on "Mental Door" that are a little difficult. The album features two side long suites.

"Totem" features those pulsating beats while two different synth-like sounds play over top and around, which creates a spacey soundscape.The tempo picks up after 12 minutes and then settles somewhat 19 minutes in as the beat stops. Organ comes in late, and it ends on a very spacey note.

"Mental Door" is spacey as well with different sounds passing in and out of the cosmic soundscape. A louder, disconcerting sound comes in with twittering noises 8 minutes in. I like when the drums come in after 9 minutes. The intensity is released after 17 1/2 minutes. This sounds so much better as it becomes spacey with some excellent drumming from Klause. I thought he retired from the drums. Haha. Great way to end the album.

A must for the Electronic-Prog fan out there.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#185251) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It is of course useless, but I have always wondered what if Klaus had not left TD? One of the answer is that all of these geniuses together would have recorded superb things together. Anyway, they did it but each ones on their side.

I feel like this album is less spacey than "Irrlich" but more catchier than "Cyborg". The opening epic "Totem" though features some beautiful background keyboards melodies, even if in the forefront the pulsating beat is somehow too much of the same but these sounds were quite innovative at the time of release. Yet, very similar to TD.

But for the ones (like me) who can't get enough of this type of music, I'm sure that all of them would agree that this "Totem" demonstrates enough pleasure to satisfy their appetite.

The final part is quite moving and could have lasted for another couple of minutes to my taste.

The similarities with who you know is even more evident during the rich and beautiful "Mental Door". Same sort of hypnotic approach (some will say repetitive), which is the essence of both branches of this family of musicians. If you like it, you like it?and these sounds filled my heart with joy. There is nothing I can do about it!

To experience such cold beauty is amazing. Be prepared for a very special journey while listening to this album. Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#234352) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars This album, released in 1975, is said to be recorded in 1973. But I always had doubts about that, as it sounds a lot brighter and softer then the 1974 Black Dance release.

In my ears it didn't sonically belong in 1973 but sounded like a step further away from the abstract dark soundscapes of his beginnings. So as a preperation for this review I've been turning Schulze's home site inside out and indeed, the latest update says this was recorded in 1974, after Black Dance and before Timewind. The argumentation is that Schulze used a new synth here (the ARP Odyssey) that he didn't have yet on Black Dance. So this album should be listed around 1974 (or 1975) and after Black Dance. This can most clearly be heard around between minute 20.10 and 21.00 of Totem.

Trifling matters? Probably, but there has been some discussions as to which artists was first to use sequencers, Tangerine Dream or Schulze. The answer is probably The Who on Baba O'Reilly (1971) and Pink Floyd On The Run(1973). Anyway Schulze certainly wasn't there before Tangerine Dream and he also didn't use it as proficiently as they did on Phaedra. In fact this album made it quite clear Schulze's music would start to divert from what his friend Edgar Froese was doing. Schulze's electronic music was more ambient, smoother, less melodic and more organic, if possible, it's even more dreamy and spacey.

Both Black Dance and Picture Music are Schulze albums that I enjoy, but they fall somewhere in-between the unique dark ambience of the first two albums and the richer texture and brighter sounds of Schulze's classic period that would start with the next album Time Wind.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#256427) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars First of all, let's clear up some historical confusion. This album was NOT recorded in 1973. It was released in 1975, but recorded in late 1974(check out the official KS website if you don't believe me). I think Klaus and/or his management/record company at the time wanted people to think this was recorded in 1973...before TD's Phaedra album(which was recorded in 1973). It was as if Klaus heard Phaedra and decided he had to do something similar, but better. But he wanted everyone to think he did it at the same time; "Ja, I made this before Phaedra". Picture Music does not sound like it was recorded before Blackdance. On that album he only used a VCS3 synth while here he has an ARP Odyssey.

Anyone who had heard Who's Next or DSOTM was already familiar with sequencers anyway. Even if this album had been recorded in 1975 it still sounds way ahead of it's time. A lot of it sounds like 90s electronic music, not 70s or 80s electronica. The music can be repetitive but it's good in a hypnotic way. I prefer this album to both his earlier space stuff and his later more ethereal stuff. "Totem" sounds like early 90s house/techno/rave music(without the beat). "Mental Door" is more aggressive and strange sounding; it's my favourite of the two. The drumming is a nice addition to the song.

It's really hard to describe two 20-minute+ instrumental songs. Picture Music is the most electronic sounding thing he had done up to this point. It's more edgy and in-your-face than Timewind. Many say that was his best album; I think this one is(regardless of recording date confusion). Electronic music in the 1970s rarely got better. 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#307055) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The words/phrases "spacey," "electronic wizard(ry)," and "haunting" are probably all over-used when describing the music of Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, and all the other greats of early progressive electronic music. Hypnotic is probably another one. Why is this, you may ask? I think they're the words that probably pop into a lot of people's minds when they listen to the groups. Of course they're some of the first words/phrases to come to my mind when describing the music of Klaus Schulze/TD, especially both group's earlier eras. Describing their music without using at least one or two of these words/phrases would be nearly impossible for me.

Picture Music is Herr Schulze's third album, following up the raw and beautiful behemoth which is Cyborg. On this album, Klaus moves away from the sweeping ambient style present on Cyborg in favor of a more rhythmic sound, just as Tangerine Dream changed their style from Zeit to Phaedra. This album is one of many on which Klaus treated listeners to a very full LP, with each track over the 23 minute mark. The reissue I have also treats us to a 33 minute long bonus track. In short, you definitely get your money's worth (time-wise at least) when you buy a Klaus Schulze album, and this one in particular is no exception.

The first track of the original LP, "Totem" is the more spacey of the two tracks (there, I said it!), because it's entirely electronics. A steady beat pulses in the foreground while melodies weave in and out, and if you allow it the piece can draw you into a dreamlike state. All the best progressive electronic music can. The second track, "Mental Door," has more of a concrete rhythm, aided in no small part by Klaus stepping behind the drum kit again. Along with the drums though, we're presented again with some great exploration on the keys/synths being used. The bonus track, "C'est Pas La Même Chose," is more along the lines of "Totem," as far as style goes. Not very surprising as it's an extended/slightly different version of that track. No point in repeating myself about the style of the track.

Overall, this album is a great display of Klaus' electronic wizardry, though for me it stands in the massive shadows of his previous album. This one will definitely appeal more to fans of albums such as Phaedra or Rubycon by Tangerine Dream. If you're just getting started with Klaus' music, you wouldn't go wrong with this album, and if you're looking for music similar to the two TD albums I just mentioned it's also a great choice for you. Picture Music is a very pleasing album, not quite a masterpiece but still worthy of four stars.

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Send comments to SaltyJon (BETA) | Report this review (#415008) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Picture Music is where Klaus Schulze started to become more accessible (used loosely here) and is a direct predecessor to some of his most important and popular work. Irrlicht and Cyborg were mostly dominated by constant droning with small additions of sounds from electronic experimentation - Picture Music builds from this same foundation, but packs the music full of progressive tendencies and clearer melodic lines.

"Totem" at first sounds like the music from the previous albums, but eventually develops into a heavy Tangerine Dream-meets-India type electro-bass synth groove accentuated by organic ethnic percussion. Klaus Schulze shows us that past his electronic experimental compositions, he's still a krautrock drummer.

"Mental Door" doesn't contain any of the percussion or speed from the first track, but it is very mellow and sounds like it could've been on Tangerine Dream's Phaedra. Very cold and spacey, much like an improved version of Schulze's previous works. This is a fine mellow ending for an album that started with sheer electro-ethnic energy.

Picture Music definitely beats the previous two albums in accessibility and sonic experimentation, which is fantastic. If Irrlicht and Cyborg were too droney and uneventful for you, Picture Music is a great place to start.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#438949) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 25, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Picture Music - strictly speaking Schulze's fourth album, as recent research has revealed it was both recorded and released after Blackdance - finds Klaus continuing the process of refining the formula first hit upon in Cyborg. This time around he sticks to a formula established back in the Ash Ra Tempel days - one side being an electronic-dominated spacey piece whilst the other side is a bit rockier, with Klaus playing drums once again. It's pleasant enough, but Schulze had made no shortage of similar in the past, and it fails to emerge from the long shadow cast by Cyborg. Three stars.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#530210) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, September 23, 2011

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 6/10

"Picture Music" is more abstract than previous klaus Schulze albums, however not as intriguing.

Klaus Schulze's fourth album is one that still puzzles the listener: it is not one that follows the norms of what this musician usually gives to himself, not being anywhere near 'Cyborg' nor 'Irrlicht'. 'Blackdance', the third album, was probably the closest thing to 'Picture Music' so far. The result is pretty enjoyable overall and somewhat surprising too.

By saying that 'Picture Music' is different from the rest means that space seems to not be the main theme: there are some spacey elements in some spots, but the overall feel is much more abstract, as if in fact it was music for your mind instead of music made for creating space odysseys in your head. Slight synth wobbles give a strong, yet cold rigidity, the atmospheres are more claustrophobic because of a lack of reverb, only occasionally slight phrases of strong, fractured synthesizer accents.

The two long pieces of the album are stretched out, meditative, but at times underwhelming: The first track, 'Totem', is the superior one: more engaging, more interesting in terms of sound, and more effective in the attempted process to relax the listener. 'Mental Door' is forgettable, no particular moments are effective nor extremely enjoyable, minutes after minutes simply pass by without anything exciting happening.

'Picture Music' is enjoyable overall, even though at times, especially in the second and final track, the music is straight-out boring and unsatisfying.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#625506) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 03, 2012

Review by Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Klaus Schulze's fourth studio album (not his third, but that's an old story by now) was a bit of a schizoid affair, contrasting some of the composer's strongest work to date with some of his weakest, over each side of the original vinyl. The opening "Totem" is a classic piece of otherworldly electronics: twenty-three hypnotic minutes of gently percolating synthesizers overlaid with Schulze's intuitive brain- wave soloing. It might sound a little static at times, but the total effect is equally soothing and unsettling, with a subtle undercurrent of tension built into the ominous background radiation of quietly bubbly rhythms, slowly gaining momentum but never rising to the expected boil.

The flipside "Mental Door" was a different trip entirely, and the first attempt by KS to incorporate rock music dynamics into his usual outer-space explorations (his previous album "Blackdance" was likewise heavily rhythmic, but with a stark uniformity of performance suggesting a machine). "Mental Door" isn't entirely convincing, in retrospect. The opening atmospherics are compelling, but the track soon devolves into something entirely too earthbound, at least when compared to the uncanny vistas of his earlier "Irrlicht" or "Cyborg".

Give Schulze credit for trying to reconcile two very different musical traditions (modern rock and avant- garde electronics), and in a more challenging, improvisational manner than the supercharged pomp of an Emerson or Wakeman. But he would need a few more years of careful refinement (on the "Body Love" soundtracks, and his mammoth "X" double-disc) to finally resolve the issues raised here, notably the insecure noodling using what must have been a trendy synth-patch at the time, factory fresh in 1973 but turning to stale cheese shortly afterward.

Thankfully the 2005 Revisited Records CD edition balances the lopsided original LP by including an even longer alternate take of "Totem", bringing the album full circle but with slight variations (the mirror image of the epilogue is equally fascinating if a little less exquisite in reflection). The symmetry of the CD re-issue is appreciated. But in the end the album remains a lesser effort from a tireless pioneer, on the road to far greater things.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#1254237) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Latest members reviews

4 stars Schulze's first true expression of his classic sequencer style (Blackdance was a step toward it, but it still relied heavily on the organ and Mellotron tones of his first two albums), and easily worthy of the attention given his more popular subsequent releases. The sound is stripped down from the ... (read more)

Report this review (#1256382) | Posted by Stalvern | Friday, August 22, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The "golden era" in Schulze's planet! Want the best example of a work that is original, unique, daring, creative, flawless: "Picture Music"1975, by electronic-prog pioneer Klaus Schulze. Evocative and direct, two of the most focused, evolving, perfect pich compositions in a single project. N ... (read more)

Report this review (#887985) | Posted by admireArt | Saturday, January 05, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Even since I was a child, I always loved traditional Indian raga music... Then in the early 70's when I first heard "Totem" I immediately fell for the piece. The percussion is very similar to the tabla and the whole composition has a very spacey feel about it... For "Totem" alone, this albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#275410) | Posted by Lieven Van Paemel | Monday, March 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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