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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KLAUS SCHULZE: Cyborg (1973)

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

We must know how Cyborg was done to appreciate all the genius of Klaus Schulze

CD 1 (72:14)

1 Synphära 22:49

2 Conphära 25:52

3 Chromengel 23:49

CD 2 (75:28)

1 Neuronengesang 24:57

2 But Beautiful 50:45 Concert in Brussels, 1977 (Bonus Track)

Kosmische Musik 2/58.005 1973

SPV 305252 DCD 2006

(2CD 147:42) (V.F.)

(Experimental Ambient Music)

We must know how CYBORG was done to appreciate the genius of Klaus Schulze. Penniless and without instruments, apart from an organ, a VC3 synth and a Revox tape-machine, the young Schulze demonstrates all his genius by cutting out et glue recordings of classical music in order to create the cosmic and atmospheric portion of CYBORG. There is a lot of work in this double-vinyl album that was transferred to CD in 86 and remastered by Revisited Records in 2006.

This strange musical adventure begins with Synphära, the infinite tenderness. On a very slow linear movement, with subtle variations in the tones, the organ progresses in a sea of buzzings, long beeps in jerky loops and a heavy wind of ether. Throughout, Klaus Schulze maintains this claustrophobic ambience in which the organ moves spectrally in a confusing environment. That sounds a bit long when you hear it for the first times, but that gradation in the movement is something to feel. It's in a motley tumult that begins Conphära; intense buzzing that turns into an apocalyptic siren on an organ with a pulsating structure. Quietly the chaos is extinguished to give free rein to a spectral organ and its bewitching undulations and whose pulsations resound like muffled percussions. From his organ, Schulze pulls out beautiful dark and floating strata that accompany Conphära to his last pulsations where the breaths of the flute and the rubbing of a bow on a cello soothe his last torments. Chromengel opened the 2nd album in 1973. It's a slow track where the Farfisa procession is solemn. Staggering and slinky, the movement is full of sound effects that sound so much like swarms of bats, bows rubbing violins et cello on the rhythmic oscillations of the VCS3. The atmosphere is dark and austere. At times, I feel like I'm in the mad halls of the movie Phantasm. The last minutes are drowned with winds and a semblance of rain. Neuronengesang presents an atonic linear motion which is crossed by rotary pulsations whose sound peaks emit laser tones. Very dark, the synth layers juxtapose and stack to create an intensely static impulse, a bit like Tangerine Dream's Nebulous Dawn on Zeit. Less difficult to tame than Irricht, CYBORG is still an album that requires a few listenings, and even more I would add, before its charm really sticks to our ears. And I remember that scratches on my vinyl proposed more rhythms than in the music. So, I did not buy the CD version of FNAC. But I let myself be tempted by this remastered edition of Revisited Records, especially for the bonus title.

Recorded in October 77 during a concert at St Michel Cathedral in Brussels, But Beautiful has the soul and nobility of Klaus Schulze's long improvised movements. An atmospheric intro with sound effects à la Body Love, à la Mirage and a small sequence step with alternating rollings are flowing under a floating synth pad. The subtleties in the variations are always present and impose a floating tempo filled by delicate permutations. Klaus Schulze's solos embellish But Beautiful before a heavier sequence shakes the columns of the temple with a progressive heaviness that joins an unbridled tempo. Going beyond the 50 minutes, But Beautiful is just like the sound Masses that Klaus performed in the golden years of EM where the progressive rhythms and superb synth solos embellished the immersive experiences of hundreds of fans of EM. It's this title that made me discover a little more CYBORG.

With its beautiful booklet and historical anecdotes, this reissue of CYBORG is, to my ears, quite sublime. I add to my ears since the general opinion of Klaus Schulze's fans goes in the opposite direction, saying that this remastering did not have the same depth as the original. The memories I had of the original were full of frying noises. But after all ... I, who had a certain apprehension to hear this organ with a sinusitis tone again, was struck by the structural beauty of Synphära and Conphära. The complexity of Chromengel and Neuronengesang is amazing, considering the era and the technology. Despite the very dark and progressive character of his music, Schulze managed to maintain a harmonious interest. As for But Beautiful; how can we dislike Schulze's passionate impulses in '77? It's for these reasons that CYBORG is a masterpiece of ambient and innovative music that has a place alongside contemporary big names such as Steve Reich, Charlemagne Palestine, Philip Glass or John Adams.

Sylvain Lupari (December 17th, 2006) *****

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