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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Klaus Schulze: Mirage (1977)

“Cold but intensely dreamlike, Mirage is a timeless album by Klaus Schulze that has influenced a generation of musicians since 1977”

1 Velvet Voyage 28:16

2 Crystal Lake 29:15

Thunderbolt CDTB 033

(CD 57:321) (V.F.)

(Ambiant, Berlin School)

After the rhythmic Timewind, Moondawn and Body Love, Klaus Schulze puzzles his public by offering an album of an unexpected tranquility. MIRAGE is a sublime minimalism musical journey where Schulze multiplies synth layers which are harmonizing with the echo of their pads in an ambient, floating and desert ambiance. It's a superb album with subtle nuances and sequenced progressions which are always flooded in the dream or crystal.

Velvet Voyage is a long synthesized voyage where he juxtaposes his synth strata on a slow musical development where beat turns subtly into a sinuous tempo. The effect of solitude is hunting. We are in full floating implosion, which move finely on uncertain movements, giving thus a conflicting heaviness. A synth to multiple breezes of mist opens the first lines. We enter into a beautiful spectral environment with synth lamentations of mermaids with deformed singings which flow among dramatic Farfisa effects. Keyboard pads float in a beautiful orchestral ambiance while fine oscillations make progress the gliding rhythm of Velvet Voyage which presents, I have to admit, a superb oniric intro. An intro which becomes more caustic and silvered iridescent a little after the 5th minute with a curious choral which goes of hatched singings Velvet Voyage takes back its rights on ambient cosmic with wonderful synth layers which are moving as floating shadows in a fauna filled of chanted lamentations. Sounding as quixotic violins synth layers hove over a nice line of a vaporous bass to deaf implosions, while various e-noises of a foreign cosmos appear to guide Velvet Voyage towards a soft sequenced waddling. Crystalline sequences which sparkle and shine more than they pulse, guiding us so towards a 2nd hypnotic part filled with great synth solos which sing under the impetus of a bass just awakened enough to feed this delicate daydreamer rhythm. Glass sequences alternate and skip with an innocent fragility on Crystal Lake's opening, my very first musical favourite from Schulze. It’s simply a superb hypnotic and a minimalism sequential movement which is joined by another sequential line, in a more fluid waddling, which dances as angels bypass on a delicate crystalline structure. A fluid sequential movement with tones of multiple bells draws this sound horizon in crystal notes. Synth layers to variable intonations espouse this movement of a crystalline carousel which shines in an increasing crescendo where droning of synth hove on top of this maelstrom with notes as much acute than bass. Minimalism, circular and catchy the movement becomes more dramatic in the 2nd half moved by surges of a mordant bass line which give a waving effect to these heavy impulses livening up this slow quiet bed of roses. Solitary, a synth hangs its breath on this background of bass lines. Fine notes pierce the crystal silence and are feeding on their echoes, propelling the movement in a synthesized tornado a little bit as the one on Velvet Voyage to spin of their resonances and float of their symphonic solos. It’s a gorgeous track which, in spite of its lengths (phenomenon inherent to minimalist works), is a pure classic of Schulze primary era and of which this sequential movement will feed many other works of contemporary EM. What had been more beneficial in the listening and the analysis of Big in Japan is certainly the renewed desire to hear again MIRAGE, as well as the other old Klaus Schulze works, with a quite new approach. I hardly made a link between the sequential spheres of influence of Velvet Voyage and Crystal Lake. In fact, I rediscovered a splendid album which is a piece of art. An album filled of subtle nuances and sequenced progressions which are always flooded in the dream or the crystal. I just can’t tell you how much it will have its place in your cd collection but try to find the Island or Thunderbolt edition instead of the SPV which sounds a bit metallic and cold. You will find those, at great prices, on eBay!

Sylvain Lupari (13/07/07) *****

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