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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KLAUS SCHULZE: Miditerranean Pads (1990/2005)

Still controversial for some of us, Miditerranean Pads is the album of excess with its huge hammering percussions

1 Decent Changes 32:35 2 Miditerranean Pads 14:12 3 Percussion Planante 25:01 Brain 841 864-2 (1989) SPV 085-304142 CD - REV 018

(CD 72:01) (V.F.) (Hypnotic, minimalist orchestral New Berlin School)

I had an inexplicable attraction for Percussion Planante. I don't know how many times exactly! It's a title that has played often and for a very long time in my Walkman and especially in my car. MIDITERRANEAN PADS continues this massive use of samplings that Klaus Schulze quietly pushes towards his symphonic period and especially the opera section started with En=Trance. We thus find there these snatches of tortured choirs and these bursts of classical music diluted in dense ghostly orchestrations groaning from the slow movements of cellos from an invisible quartet that feed Schulze's musical frescoes since Audentity. It was on this album, with Decent Changes, that I appreciated the first spooky collages of Sieur Schulze and his segmented orchestrations. Except that MIDITERRANEAN PADS stands out above all by the percussion patterns, both manual and virtual, imagined by a Klaus Schulze sometimes dreamy, Decent Change, and sometimes rebellious, Percussion Planante. You could say that Klaus Schulze is exorcising his demons of yesteryear with today's technology. The effect is monster and multiplies the surprises on a titanic work. On this re-edition of Revisited Records, only 2 to 3 additional minutes have been added, the original being already near the time limit of 70 minutes.

Delicate percussions open the first measures of the long and very linear Decent Change. The rhythm is as softer as furtive and binds itself to a bass line which crawls under the strikings of percussions which are now divided between a real drum and the manual percussions. A solitary piano scatters its notes by clusters. Notes which draw a fascinating ethereal melody that choirs caress of their absent humming. There are not alone to caress this long funambulist introduction. The strings arrive around the 7th minute. And their movements are slow and sinuous, just as much as the first 12 minutes of the music which adopts afterward a strange cosmico-progressive structure of Funk with a heavy line of bass and Arabian percussions which drum under a skillful meshing of voice samplings and stringed instruments. The play of percussions is harmonized with the bouncy bass line, giving a rhythmic structure skilfully developed which sleeps under these dark choruses and these orchestral arrangements of which the slow ethereal movements float such as tormented wings. We are literally in En=Trance as the percussions lost of its strength, giving its hypnotic tempo to these violins, these enveloping strata, these fluty breaths and these notes of piano which forge the peaceful harmonious dynasty of Decent Changes. All in all it's a good track which would have been greater if shortened, even if it means stretching up the two other tracks which follow, particularly Miditerranean Pads which is a very intense ambient work and of which the vocals are the samplings of Efli Schulze's, the wife of Klaus. On a delicious piano with heartbreaking notes, the voice is blowing sighs of life, love, expectations and despairs on a lyrical movement built around diverse subtle intonations. This is a wonderful angelic soundscape track and a sublime interlude where the sensualism, do I love this sax which cries at night, is harmonized to sensibility. A very good taciturn moment. Secret at times, but KS remains divine with a great awareness in his choice of classical music samplings. To listen on an evening of sorrow of love. We burst of tears!

Ah … Percussion Planante. What I call an ode to percussions. We take the segment two of Decent Change, for its heavy line of bass, and we stick it on here in a measure amplified by four. That gives Percussion Planante. In a perfect fusion where all the percussions are squeezing up the beatings, as hard-hitting as harmonious, with a line of bass which supports an agile rhythm, as much as the grave notes of a black piano, the music flutters in the wings of its orchestral arrangements. But the rhythm refuses the obedience and it's rebelling constantly in a fascinating mosaic of percussions. Everything is well measured. The tears of violins are as dark as their silky jolts. The choruses are as much penetrating in their envelopes of discretion. These voices are the privileged witnesses of a movement from a piano which snakes and makes undulate its keys into some superb melodious passages. And the piano which tries its harmonic breakthroughs crumbles its poetry on the back of a rhythm which dissociates itself from the bursts of the scattered symphonic movements. This is cacophony reinvented! At around the 20th minute, these percussions are alone on a modulation movement which brings more symphonic, more orchestral lines on strikings as clear as hard-hitting. Brilliant and intense!

Although awarded in certain countries, like in the Netherlands, MIDITERRANEAN PADS always was a controversial work. The full excess of percussions and of convoluted rhythms, sometimes clanic and too often cacophonous, as well as its tortuous and dark orchestrations, without forgetting the so divine and black incantation of its title-track, make of it an album which goes out of a comfort zone that the fans had eventually ended by nested since the changes begun in Dig It. In fact, it can appear like a difficult album to approach because of its propensity to the delirious cacophony at some points. But if I guaranteed you beauty, would you believe in it? And nevertheless, it's a little the bad luck of Klaus Schulze's 21th album. Faithful to his habit, Schulze avoids the ease to dig even more his taste for orchestrations and also grope around the melodic frenzy. Quietly, he incorporates subliminal beauties in his works (Klaustrophony, Freeze or FM Delight). And his works he wants them rebel, more intimist than never and rightly a little more difficult to access. But beyond all this, when that the creative genius lives in us, should we rather use it with all the disconcerting ease that will kill its passion?

Sylvain Lupari (January 22nd, 2006) ****½*

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