Klaus Schulze’s gift to himself to celebrate his tenth release is a 16-page-libretto included in this double-abum. Time for Klaus to look back on his career so far: from the early days in various groups to his adventures as a solo-performer. The cool pictures showing him as part of the early incarnation of Tangerine Dream or playing drums for Ash Ra Temple are already worth buying the record. But it is also a strange and egocentric move to release a record so decidedly self-historicising.
The compositions on the record are named after philosophers, poets and other historical personalities who may or may not have inspired Klaus Schulzes music. This is another self-assured if not megalomaniac statement: Naming a song “Friedrich Nietzsche” is like saying: “Well – yeah, Nietzsche, quite a character!” It’s hilarious! Nigel Tufnel for electronic musicians!
In respect to this not-so-thoughtful (but funny) conceptual approach it’s no surprise to learn that the accompanying liner notes to “X” written by Schulze and KD Mueller are not very lucid when it comes to aesthetic strategies or conceptual ideas behind the music – because at the end of the day there are none! Or at least: none of that – besides a longer quote from Schulze that his music’s based on emotions and the very moment it is performed in – is articulated in the linernotes: Schulze is just writing in a “been-here-done-that”-style on his so far career, while KD Mueller’s piece is just pseudo-intellectual bullshit.
It’s as simple as that and there’s nothing wrong with it: the music’s a result of Klaus Schulze’s personality, his ability to monitor/operate his synthesizers and the emotional state he’s in during a recording-session. The rest is left to post-production – and all the references delivered with the music are mostly ornamental.
But – like I said – there’s nothing wrong with this somewhat sentimental method as long as the results are as good as they are on “X”. Leaving the random, self-historicising blurb aside there are six pieces of electronic music, classic Berlin-School-Style. Some tracks feature Harald Großkopf on drums (which is something that I’m not very keen on), some feature symphonic arrangements and a more romantic touch (“Ludwig II. Von Bayern”), so there’s plenty to discover and Klaus Schulze is showing a broad palette of styles using about ten different synthesizers to which he dedicates the record:”Dieses Werk ist meinen ach so geliebten Synthesizern gewidmet” („This opus is dedicted to my oh so beloved synthesizers“).
So, giving the conceptual side of the record a second thought: Maybe “X” is a good (if not the best in terms of musical variety) record to start listening to Klaus Schulze if you never heard a single note of his music before. It’s sort of a beginners-guide – guided by the man himself (some nonsense included if you can read/understand the German language liner notes).
review by Holger Adam