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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KLAUS SCHULZE: Angst (1984)

Angst is a good cd and excellent way to be introduced to the sound of Klaus Schulze

1 Freeze 6:36

2 Pain 9:36

3 Memory 4:50

4 Surrender 8:41

5 Beyond 10:16

(Bonus Track)

6 Silent Survivor


SPV 304812 CD-REV 032

(CD 72:06) (V.F.)

(Minimalist New Berlin School)

ANGST is Klaus Schulze's 17th album solo and it's also the soundtrack of an Australian movie, written and directed by Gerald Kargl, which talks about the life of Werner Kniesek; a psychopath and serial killer. And it's an album as striking than the movie, of which the film-maker embroider around the music, and the 14th album of KS to be reedited in a luxury format by Revisited Records. A necessity? I think so because it remains a work always underestimated in Schulze's repertoire. It's an intense album. And even if the rhythms are blazing, the ambiences are at the same time dreamlike and intriguing, amplifying a strange discomfort which increases as the music enters insidiously between our two hemispheres.

Freeze goes into our ears with a subjugating digital sweetness. It's a superb oneiric melody which has accompanied a lot of my difficult sleeps and which is blown in glass that it's stroke slowly by magic wands. There are scents of Audentity, as well as Mike Oldfield's reminiscences of Incantations, which are floating here and there among these delicate arpeggios of glass that the Fairlight II sculpts and makes clink in seraphic breaths. It's the ballad of glockenspiel's keys with a Schulze hallucinating of tenderness who plays of virtual xylophone, like a pianist who is charming his piano of a disappointment anchored by despair, on this strange symphonic harmony which sparkles with a surprising lyrical coldness. A superb electronic melody which has doubtless inspired Robert Schroeder for Brain Voyager. One of the most beautiful I heard. Pain enters like a knife in a cloud of puff with a heavy and slow rhythm which makes contrast with its bed of nervous sequences. The rhythm is pulsatory and holds on a good bass line which beats of a symmetric measure, even when the ambiences are becoming of anxiety with strata of staccato violins, to become harder with some spectral laments roaring in a finale which kisses the memories of Dziekuje Poland. This is a good track which lulls between electronic rock and funk and where reigns a form of psychosis with this tearing between the violence and the harmonies that Schulze depicts skillfully on a background of tension which gives justice to this Australian film for television. Memory is a track which navigates on the harmonies of Freeze with a short structure which uses its chords like a frivolous panpipe all in bickering with a synth and its more conventional chords. Surrender puts things upside down with a rhythm which is fluid and well cadenced by a strong play of percussions whose strikings and metallic jingles resound and answer in a tactical echo while bombarding a hypnotic tempo that a sweet synth covers of a timid foggy melody. The rhythm is extremely minimalist and the melody brings its fine shades on a rhythm ploughed loudly. I would say that we feel in it some replicas of rhythms from Transfer Station Blue. Beyond is a particularly good title which went unnoticed in the work of Schulze. It's a skillful mixture of funk and groove which sways curiously in a musical envelope forged in the cosmic tones of pre-X era. An ambivalent movement full of restraints and of contradictions which is prisoner of its static structure, Beyond answers absently to its Tabla kind of percussions of which the evasive strikings have difficulty to match to a steady tempo while it tries a breakaway towards an approach more groove than a funk.

Silent Survivor is the cornerstone of this new edition of ANGST. And it's by far the most lovely track offered by Schulze on this series of new editions. A synth with waves heavy and dirtied by crystalline dusts floats in an absolute blackness that a chthonian choir caresses of dark voices. In spite of the slowness of a soporific impulsion, the movement breathes of these iridescent layers which entangle around the first linear pulsations. Quietly, a soft musicality goes out of the improbable with astral waves which whisper on the notches of the pulsations. And Silent Survivor to grow insidiously. It's soft and appealing. The first keys which begin to dance seem harmless. Suddenly this series of keys livens up on head winds and forms a rhythmic approach which seems disjointed, such as a hesitating samba of which the nervous step is prisoner of the intense mist of Mellotron. And the rhythm explodes of these rotary keys which spin with fury in this bed of mist, entailing Silent Survivor in a whirlwind of infernal sequences which undulate and oscillate furiously to bind themselves in a bass line, throwing so the pattern of a circular rhythm that a synth welcomes of its misty voice. The minutes which follow are as well intense as musical with a rhythm which becomes muddled, abandoning its melodic structure to mix up with isolated sequences and knocks of symphonic jaws which amplify the incoherence of a confused brain (remember that it's firstly movie music). Between being steady, divided and inconsistent rhythmic approach, Silent Survivor gets through a lot of phases which are in accordance with the level of wandering of a cruel psychopath. Klaus Schulze hammers our eardrums and tears our ears with his sense of muddled beat and his synth solos which fly over this vague structure. This is great Schulze but I doubt that it might be a track mislaid or unfinished in the vaults of ANGST, although by moment we feel a breath of the tracks performed during the Polish tour of 83.

I never understood the silence which surrounds ANGST. People talk few about it; a little as if it was a wrong turn in Klaus Schulze's career and this nevertheless that the work is striking with its rhythms, and especially its ambiences, which plunge us into a musical paranoia that only KS can sign. It's like a big mishmash of rhythms and moods where sequences and orchestral raids are in the continuity of Audentity. And amazingly, it's an album which is more melodious and so an excellent way to introduce those who were always afraid of the long disconnected explorations of the Master of Teutonic EM. And, as usual, this reedition is magnificently well presented with a great, and instructive, booklet which flies over the period of ANGST, and beyond, as well as a bonus track of which the forgetting would be a crime against e-music.

Sylvain Lupari (April 13th, 2013) *****

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