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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KLAUS SCHULZE: Dune (1980)

“Contrary to the works which followed Picture Music to X, Dune has not this spark which bewitches from the first listening”

1 Dune 30:28 2 Shadows of Ignorance 26:20

Bonus Track 3 Le Mans 23:03 (Live 1979) SPV 085-304122 REV016

(CD 79:26) (V.F.)

(Ambient New Berlin School)

Klaus Schulze continues to pay homage to writers who have influenced his culture. On X, he had composed the very rhythmic track Frank Herbert, with DUNE he composes an atmospheric music in close relation with the book. It's also Schulze's last album with an analog flavor. Subsequently it's the digital era.

The title-track is hyper floating. No rhythms or fine pulsations. A 30-minute of dark and mystical atmosphere that begins with an orchestral anarchy typical of Schulze's improvised introductions. Choirs cover this land of desolation with sterile chants that mingle with Wolfgang Tiepold's cello strings, creating an intimate ambience with a fingering that fits perfectly to the thoughts of a Schulze lost in the mists of his Mellotron. Slow and quiet, Dune is the pinnacle of soporific with a Mellotron still breathing the breath of X and with this celestial choirs chanting over a good amalgam cello/mellotron, drawing the axes of a fascinating orchestral duel. With a bit of more life, Shadows of Ignorance dances on a light rhythm that is plowed by cello strokes and percussions drummed with variable strikes that a musical synth covers of very melodious solos. This title introduces for the first time Schulze's favorite singer, Arthur Brown. And this is where I move away from this title to the potential of the best rhythms of Klaus Schulze. If the music captivates, Brown's vocalizations are without expressions. And frankly I don't understand the spell of Arthur Brown over KS. His voice, although poetic at times, doesn't stick to Schulze's structures. Halfway between singing and prayer, this voice is out of tune regarding the curt and jerky rhythms, and taints the complicity between Schulze and Tiepold who are weaving a tasty rhythmic imprint for the time. A voice that I find without soul and which doesn't manage to enrich the depth of the shadow of the ignorance. Too bad because it's quite a track! Recorded live at l'Abbeau of l'Epeau, LeMans is typical of the improvised impulses from Klaus Schulze. It's a dynamic title that starts with sequenced drums that roll a rhythm undulating under nice twisted solos. The minimalist percussion rolls in continuous loops on a random structure where the musical rhythm fades to leave place for an incoherent speech of the synths, which undoubtedly inspired the robotic languages of the arcade games, before falling into a morphic phase and a most atmospheric finish where intense sails of mellotron crown an atonal final.

Unlike the works that followed Picture Music up to X, DUNE doesn't have that spark that mesmerizes the first time you listen. There are not these sequences that captivate and enchant, as well as its synths that bewitch and magnetize. I had to listen to it more than once before letting myself be captivated by the title track, while I still can not stand Arthur Brown's voice. Having said this, the musicality behind Shadows of Ignorance and the silent poetry of Dune, which is the pivotal piece of this 11th Schulze opus, should not be ignored; a title whose influences are recognized on several musicians of atmospheric EM. Although after X, I maintain that it falls rather flat. In fact, I will not recommend it to introduce a neophyte to the world of the German musician. Because DUNE is definitely not the barometer album of the quality of his works.

Sylvain Lupari (December 15th, 2006) **½***

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Dec 25, 2020

I also hardly perceive the tracks in Schulze's albums recorded with similar vocals. Although in his discography there were sometimes quite good vocal works.

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