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Klaus Schulze - Pete Namlook & K. Schulze: The Dark Side Of The Moog CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic

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3 stars This is the first of long series of album which marked a partnership between the great Klaus and Pete Namlook. Although the title of all these works (eleven so far) clearly indicates their admiration for the huge Floyd, there is little to share with one of their masterpieces.

The start of this album sounds pretty minimalist, repetitive, cold and inexpressive. Experimental music, with little content IMHHO. Up to the tenth minutes of this piece. At this time, the mood quits the dull techno spheres and enters into a more sculptural and spacey "atmo" sphere. Needless to say to which one goes my votes?

The beautiful and melodic Schulze is back like in the good old days: an ocean of superb keys, vibrant musical simulations and some sort of an ethereal beauty. A fantastic voyage in time as far as his music is concerned and in space as far as the "trip" to which the listener is conveyed for about eight minutes.

Unfortunately, these high level moments are being skipped with these repetitive and boring electro beats again: there is nothing I can do about it; I can't really stand them. After this, you are invited to some "Echoes" like middle part for a long while: some ten minutes which is anyway too much stretched to keep the interest of yours truly.

To loop the loop, there are also some deep Schulze sounds (or is it TD) for the final "bouquet" which lasts for about thirteen minutes (from which half are very good). If you're familiar with Klaus's work, you know that the "epic" concept is a true word. Pieces of over forty minutes are normal, almost standard.

This album is not easy to rate: fourteen sublime minutes, seventeen average ones and over twenty of dull ones. Huuum?let's say three stars as a whole. I'm not really convinced with the first leg of this moog stuff?Ten more to go.

Report this review (#256939)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Wish you were there"

The first album in the ongoing cooperation between the German sonic wizards Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook is a difficult listen that takes its time to get going. Pete Namlook is a very versatile electronic artist with a strong tendency towards ambient music, a kind of electronic music that mostly limits itself to slowly weaving chords of sound as its means of expression. Both melody and rhythm are mostly given up in favour of texture and atmosphere.

It's a methodology similar to Schulze's first albums and kraut experimentations, the result is never equally overwhelming though. But this project goes far beyond the austere limitations of ambient music. Both Schulze and Namlook add mesmerizing touches of melody, moog soloing and layers of lush analogue sounds. Schulze hadn't used those for almost 15 years, but Pete Namlook gave him a strong impulse to return to the warmth of the 70's instruments.

This album is one continuous piece of music that is divided into 10 sections of exactly 5 minutes each, which is helpful if you want to proceed immediately to the more accessible sections at the end. The first half hour should not be ignored though. The atmosphere is very dark and spooky and both artists are masters in balancing their hermetic ambience with just the right amount of rhythm and melody. Part III - IV has such a moment with a recognizable moog solo contribution from Schulze. Namlook's rhythmical qualities can be enjoyed in short sections scattered throughout the album and add an ambient techno flavour to this project. It's something that won't sit well with all Schulze fans but I believe it really completes his shortcomings in that particular area.

Approach with caution, this first instalment is a slow and dense album that might keep its charms sealed tight for you forever. It also lacks real high points that adorn other albums in this series. 2.5 stars.

Report this review (#260218)
Posted Sunday, January 10, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars This is the first of a serie of albums entitled "The Dark Side Of The Moog", born by the collaboration between Klaus Schulze and Pete Namlook, a frankfurter musician and producer (real name Peter Kuhlmann) passed away in 2012.

Regardless the paraphrase, the link to Pink Floyd is not very strong. This is mainly an instrumental suite made of melodic moments alternated with electronic noises. Personally I found it very enjoyable for the similarities of some parts with Zeit, that's my favorite Tangerine Dream album. Tracks 2 and 3 in particular have "emotional" minor chords progressions. I personally prefer when there's no solo, so that the soundscape gets closer to space-rock. I think that Saucerful of Secrets has been highly influential for the whole electronic movement.

Going ahead, track 4 is a sequenced loop on with drone drums taking the part of the solo instrument. An interseting rhitmic section that I feel connected to both techno-wave and several species of small furry animals. A Scottish gramelot would have fit well. Very interesting. Track 5 adds a hypnotic ringtone-like sound to the drumloop. I'd say several species of small furry robots... Then back to deep space with track 6 up to track 8.

Track 9 is more rhithmic. Between the main theme of Blade Runner and "Set the controls for the heart of the sun". The melody reminds a bit also to "One Of The Few" in the structure. But similarities apart, I find it very enjoyable even alone, taken out of the suite.

Track 10 and last, enters a different realm more made of major chords, even with some dissonances. Finding similarities with other electronic artists is quite easy: usually the instruments used condition the composition style. In this case I see a link with Vangelis. I must say that the distinction between the tracks is based only on their length. The last three minutes of track 10 don't have anything to do with the first three. They put us back to the Ummagumma cave without a Pict.

...and the suite ends suddenly. Maybe the best way to close it.

not bad, really. Especially if you like the genre. Not a masterpiece but I think I'll dig the following episodes of this collaboration.

Report this review (#2904121)
Posted Monday, April 3, 2023 | Review Permalink

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