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Klaus Schulze - Trancefer CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.25 | 61 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars A lot of great electronic music - - and music in general - - has been created using digital synthesizers. So my preference for Klaus Schulze's analog period (i.e., essentially the 1970s) has little to do with the type of synthesis. And actually, his first two albums (Irrlicht (1972) and Cyborg (1973)) didn't feature any synthesizers. When it first became practicable for him to use analog synths, he did so right away, on Blackdance (1974). Over the next eight albums he continued to add and subtract other techniques and instruments, the analog synthesizer being the only real constant.

The claim that Schulze was successful in the 1970s seems borne out by his ability, in 1980, to purchase a Crucianelli GDS digital synthesis computer for around US$27,000 ($84K today). He first used the GDS on Dig It, released a year prior to Trancefer. An interesting note: only five or six of this GDS model were produced. Wendy Carlos also bought one and used it (extensively, as I understand it) on the Tron soundtrack. Anyway, Schulze had plenty of commercial success with an idiosyncratic style of analog synthesis across ten albums from Blackdance to ...Live... (1980), but when digital synthesis became available, he embraced it fully.

The works on Dig It were more song-oriented than most of Schulze's output, and these was stylistic diversity both within and between its tracks. In this respect Dig It was similar to its predecessors, X (1978) and Dune (1979). On the other hand, the two tracks comprising Trancefer are more repetitive and, as the title implies, trance- like - - harkening back to Schulze's mid-1970s work. Unusually, the personnel are the same throughout the entire album: Schulze, Wolfgang Tiepold (cello), and Michael Shrieve (percussion). Since Schulze's next albums, Audentity (1983) and Angst (1984) would continue the trend of heterogeneity between tracks, Trancefer seems to be a belated bookend to an earlier era.

The arrangements on the two tracks are reminiscent of the rhythmic movements of albums like Blackdance and Moondawn, with 'A Few Minutes After Trancefer' the more energetic and 'Silent Running' relatively subdued. Shrieve's contributions are well-integrated in most places, if a little too forward in the mix for my taste. Unlike much of Harald Großkopf's drumming on four of Schulze's prior albums, Shrieve's percussion tends to dovetail with the sequencer parts rather than establishing a backbeat. Throughout much of Trancefer, Tiepold serves a similar purpose, although elsewhere his cello does the opposite, clashing musically and rhythmically with Schulze's sequenced parts.

In short, Klaus Schulze has recorded some truly great works of electronic prog. He's also released some duds. Trancefer is neither. Nonetheless, it's a good album, and it's probably the best of his early digital works.

patrickq | 3/5 |


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