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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KLAUS SCHULZE: En=Trance (1988/2007)

En=Trance has the defect of its qualities where my favorite half is often the one that the purists don't like. You see the topo here!

1 En=Trance 18:53 2 @-Numerique 16:26 3 Fm Delight 17:28 4 Velvet System 17:47  5 Elvish Sequencer  8:02 Brain 835 158-2 (LP/CD 70:47) Revisited Records SPV 085-304092 CD REV 007

(CD/Spotify 78:49) (V.F.) (Minimalist New Berlin School)

It's not for nothing that EN=TRANCE looks strangely like X. Twentieth album of Klaus Schulze; the 4 long tracks were originally presented on 2 vinyl of which the orchestral momentums try to borrow the vertiginous spirals of Schulze's 10th album. But there stops any point of comparison. For me, it's an album unequal. The warmth and the subtleties of X are lacking. But for the purists and the die-hard fans, which I am I think, they are charmed by KS who shows an unsuspected anger with dins that assault the ears. Once these hubbubs gone, the music parades in violent spirals with hardly felt nuances, creating an effect of redundancy which annoys with this cold tone that is the digital technology. At its release, the album received a good welcome because of the very beautiful FM Delight, but also because Klaus wrapped his digital frenzies of superb arrangements and orchestrations. A little as if our friend wanted to make us hear a new kind of X in a more digital envelope.

It's in full static cacophony that begins the title-track. A metallic din, hostile to the ear, where the analogue and the digital eras are crossing swords by synth lines which moo and spit crackling tones, throw resonant curves and lugubrious choruses that our listening has difficulty to hear so much the taste of metal is anchored in this slow dying intro. It's rather hard to digest, but this is KS stuff. A good spiral of rhythm gets out from this buzzing noise a little after the 4th minute. The rhythm is curt, concise and repetitive. It hiccups of its twisted jolts which mime an eternal rhythmic continual coming and going based on three circular chords which turn on a bed of percussions swarming with rebel and undisciplined strikings. This rhythm swirls ceaselessly with fine subtleties in its movement of frenzied carousel that stores Schulze's usual whole stuff; clanic tom-toms, breathlessness flute blows, wandering voices, chords of piano to the puzzling melody and finally chords fragmented in sibylline and philharmonic synth pads which fly like wild spirits. Even if repetitive to the boredom, the variations are rather thin needs to say, En=Trance breathes of this surprising Schulze babelian cacophony which always finds an excuse to our ears. I can't say the same thing about @-Numerique! Nevertheless, the heavy symphonic strata which open it seem promising. They throw a dramatic mood where the intrigue is there. It's a brief intense movement which fades out to make room for a piano of which the repetitive airs are wrapped by synth pads with persistent aromas of violin. It's the piano that forges the rhythm. A minimalist rhythm cutted down by a line of bass with furtive chords. And the melody dilutes itself with chimed chords which copy the slightest shadows of a keyboard played by explorer hands. The rhythm is like a wild dog which runs after its tail. This is creative cacophony but after the title-track, it's a little too much. I have the feeling of being on the same music pattern since the opening of the album. At half-time, @-Numerique borrows a more restful trajectory with an ambient passage where a line of bass shapes a stealthily pace under the cover of cymbal jingles and soporific violins' strata. It's a short moment of ambiances before the fragile rhythm clinks again of this fusion between bells and piano notes which this time are harpooned by good percussions. Entailing @-Numerique in an uneven duel where the rhythm lives only by the scattered strikings and the melody is dying of its disinterestedness.

Composed in only one night, on the occasion of his 40th birthday, FM Delight is the pearl of EN=TRANCE, although Velvet System is not outdone. It's a delight and a pure musical pleasure. The opening is honeyed with these synth pads which spread a violin mist. The movement is slow, floating. It leads us near a melancholy renewed with a sad harmony which congeals time with some so sweet astral voices which take the shape of the curves from the orchestral arrangements. Do I dream or it really sounds like these Software's virtual strings quartets? But no matter, this is very beautiful. And the movement begins to swirl. Subtly, Schulze unties his harmonious line to create another which swirls in the roundness of the bass line. Puts in naked on two side movements, FM Delight embraces its two movements which interlace, one soft and the other violent, in a wonderful musical paradox where the sweetness is darkened by manual percussions and notes of piano which govern an incredible philharmonic duality with a weighty rhythm constantly kissed by the romance of its intro. Splendid! Oh, did I shed tears on this movement of an inexplicable sadness. And yet, it's so cheerful but also strangely disturbing. A classic that was voted Hit of the Year on the waves of a German radio in 1988. Smoothly, and a little just like FM Delight, Velvet System follows the melodious curves of violin strata up until the explosion. The rhythm is heavy, powerful. Sat on a line of heavy bass and good percussions, it transports with fury the violin strings airs which resuscitate from the finale of FM Delight. Quietly, the harmonious candour turns into a more aggressive movement among which the fury of the percussions and the doggedness of the fluty chords facilitate an evolution which changes constantly of skin, allying repetitive chords and festive percussions for a rhythm as curt and concise as in En=Trance. There you have the best of both sides! The baroque sound samplings impose a sensational finale with smooth strata clearly more musical than clashing. Recorded in 75, while Klaus Schulze practiced on a prototype of sequencer, Elvish Sequencer is a class on the art of the rhythmic sequencing patterns. This piece of music is intact and shows directly the real nature of a sequencer, its impact and its use on rhythmic structures. So, the rhythm is motionless, like a sonic whirlwind where cogitate and cavort thousands of bones smiths of rhythms. And if we listen carefully, we can hear movements, tones and sequenced structures which may have served for albums such as Timewind and Picture Music. I believe that it should be the true nature of a bonus track.

Written and made in only 3 weeks, EN=TRANCE has the defect of its qualities. Some people will say that the redundancy kills the interest, while others will say that this serial approach in fact all the charm. I am a little shared. I would say that half of the album is splendid while the other half leaves me as much perplexed as of ice. And my favorite half is often the one that the purists love less. So, you see the topo here!

Sylvain Lupari (January 27th, 2006) ***½**

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