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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KLAUS SCHULZE: Blackdance (1974)

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

“It's with this great album, a classic in the story of the EM, that my love affair with Klaus Schulze has started”

1 Ways Of Changes (17:13)

2 Some Velvet Phasing (8:23)

3 Voices Of Syn (22:40)

Bonus Tracks Revisited Records

4 Foreplay (10:33)

5 Synthies Have (no) Balls? (14:41)

Brain Music (LP 48:50)

Revisited Records SPV 78802 CD REV 074

(CD 73:33) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

It's with BLACKDANCE that my love affair with Klaus Schulze began. With Ways of Changes, more precisely. A soft synth and its appearance of a trumpet with a cold drops a heavy lament that wavers and remains suspended in a cosmos still virgin. As guests to a strange sound feast of intergalactic dimensions, guitar notes linger nonchalantly. These disparate sound elements come together and end up consolidating a strange cosmic anthem where chords and guitar riffs become more furious, jerking the procession of the synth and its waves always floating. In the distance, cymbals are heard. They activate a rhythm that ripples and gallops on the dreamy plains of a synth with layers became astonishingly spectral. Tablas percussions fuel this furious tempo which is slashed by screaming of electronic streaks and carried away by this sulphurous synth with waves always deviant. Am I delirium? Not really. One must hear his sequenced cycles dance on a dark organ, yet quite musical, to capture the madness of Schulze's musical epics at this time when the imagination was difficult to translate into music. This organ that floats, like a drunk accordionist, in a heavy cosmos illuminated by these electronic sounds so unique to the musical world of Schulze are a kind of hymn to solitary madness. A bass sequence waves with these percussions. This unique combination, whose loops are playing with echoes, forges a heavy and resonant roll. Like a heavy cosmic rock played and recorded in a small room. A great title of the experimental electronic era.

Some Velvet Phasing is a more ambient title. A synthesized melody that progresses slowly on waves and reverberant loops and that is cooing in a sclerotic world. One of the first titles to exploit only a keyboard. On Voices of Syn, Ernst Siemon pushes grave vocalizations on a placid intro filled with buzzing and twisted loops by a vaporous synth loaded of Some Velvet Phasing's sonic fragrances. Fortunately for me, Siemon's presence is short-lived and testifies of KS's dedication to the tenors and operas. Quietly, the music follows a more nervous rhythm with circulatory minimalism movements that drum like heteroclite percussions. The old organ modulates divine strata which serve as basis for a heavy tempo of the VCS 3 which pulses while spinning, like a lighthouse that rotates and dazzles us at each turn. Fine arpeggios tinkle discreetly, attracting my hearing that is fascinated by all this range of sounds that lives on a powerful and heavy minimalism structure whose hypnotic meanders circulating on spiral of rhythms are fascinating. Both by the intensity and by the euphoria of the static loops. The version of Revisited Records offers 2 bonus tracks. The placid and ambient Foreplay where choruses and lines of synth embrace a linear form that is devoid of movements but seized with a heavy monastic atmosphere. The explosions that arise there can annoy, because they erode a spiritual tranquility. But it's really Schulze's world, is not it? Synthies Have (No) Balls also offers a hovering intro with heavy explosions of cosmic gas. A heavy intro that throws itself into a metallic din, resonating too heavily in speakers and headphones, and which leads to a good pace supported by a good play of percussions. A strongly animated portion, but also quite indigestible for the ears because of a metallic tone and it's filled with distortions. It's also pulses with aggressivity in a cacophony unique to the genus and the hallucinations of Klaus Schulze. Is this reedition is worth of been buy? Especially since the community of fans of the German synthesist is very divided versus the sound quality of this reissue that would be full of errors, according to their ears. I had the vinyl option with all the frying wear of the years .... So! A re-edition that is not really worth the extra expense, unless you are a collector, because the presentation and the booklet are always well done.

With BLACKDANCE, Klaus Schulze concretized his musical genius through arrangements and compositions that were not much easy to do for a single musician. Surpassing the minimalist lines of Mike Oldfield, Schulze innovated with his mastery of synthesizers and arrangements. In fact, BLACKDANCE secured Schulze with his ability to create harmonies and put him in full confidence with his upcoming works. A great album and a classic EM in style unique to Klaus Schulze.

Sylvain Lupari (January 13th, 2007) *****

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