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Klaus Schulze - Blackdance CD (album) cover

BLACKDANCE

Klaus Schulze

 

Progressive Electronic

3.44 | 139 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
4 stars It is frequently pointed out that Blackdance was Schulze's "first synthesizer album," and this is true. But it is still very clearly a follow-up to Cyborg (1973).

The biggest break from Irrlicht and Cyborg isn't the synthesizer, it's the singing on the twenty-two minute, album-closing "Voices of Syn." This is the first instance, as far as I know, of Schulze's use of human voice on one of his albums; Ernst Walter Siemon (of whom I know nothing), provides operatic vocals on its first six minutes. Interestingly, "Voices of Syn" ends rather suddenly, especially given its long runtime. On the newer releases of Blackdance, this works out well, as the opening of "Foreplay," the first bonus track, begins abruptly. "Foreplay" and the other bonus track, "Synthies Have (No) Balls?" are believed to have been recorded in 1975, putting them closer temporally to the rest of the album than was the case on the rereleases of Schulze's first two albums.

"Synthies Have (No) Balls?" is a synthesizer-and-drumkit workout which seems to prefigure a fair amount of Schulze's mid-1970s output, especially Moondawn and Body Love. It's also reminiscent of Blackdance's opening track, "Ways of Changes," although "Ways" is much more nuanced. It seems obvious why "Synthies" was not originally included on an album: it's a good track, but not as good to those pieces it most resembles.

Like Schulze's debut, Irrlicht (1972), Blackdance is comprised of three tracks, with the shortest placed between the other two. That track, the rhythmless "Some Velvet Phasing" would have fit nicely on Cyborg. "Some Velvet" is a series of organ (and possibly synthesizer) tone and chords, and is thus might seem atmospheric or ambient, or maybe even meditative, but these change just a bit faster than I'd expect - - they demand slightly too much attention for the piece to work as ambient music; plus, by Schulze standards, 8:28 is pretty short for a meditative piece.

Blackdance is a clear improvement over Cyborg, as Cyborg was a clear improvement over Irrlicht. And yet, like Irrlicht, Blackdance is still a four-star album, Schulze not quite reaching the brilliance he will attain on Picture Music, which is to me his first real synthesizer album.

patrickq | 4/5 |

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