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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Klaus Schulze: Picture Music (1974)

“Picture Music is the beginning of Klaus Schulze's new musical tangent”

1 Totem 23:53

2 Mental Door 23:02

Bonus Track

3 C'est Pas La Même Chose 33:00

BRAIN 1067

(CD 79:55) (V.F.)

(Ambiant, Berlin School)

Phew! It had been a while since I had not listened to PICTURE MUSIC. I had forgotten its impact on Klaus Schulze's musical direction. Because after the atonic, abstract and dark Irrlicht and Cyborg, PICTURE MUSIC is the beginning of his musical revolution with a more electronic vision. Floating still, but with more synthesizers electronic gears. Without turning his back on his sound explorations, he concocts in PICTURE MUSIC the first of his albums that combine experimentation, rhythms and harmonies. A very good album which is remastered, with some sound failure, by Revisited Records and with a bonus track; C'est Pas La Même Chose which the very first version of Totem, with an additional 10 minutes. Just this makes it a must for fans of the German musician.

A distant arid breeze, coming from a cosmos clouded by an ochered veil, shyly opens Totem. Fine percussions drum a tempo which quietly takes shape on a waving synth wind. A breath that flickers like a flame and crosses synth pads divided by a hybrid musical structure where the uncertain tempo waddles in a crystal mist. The rhythm is swinging like a delicate Indian shadow on beautiful breakthroughs of a synthesizer with mixed breaths. Hypnotic, the movement develops on discrete synth lines that intertwine and from where emerge fine limpid keys cradling on a warm mellotron. The tempo gradually changes its measure to speed up the pace. Totem goes wild behind splendid layers of organ and mellotron which draw a spectral atmosphere. Sound filaments start to sparkle and circle like electric shocks, the percussions get a little more frantic while the synth throws sweet twisted solos that curl around a structure as harmonious as eclectic.

Mental Door is more exploratory with a more progressive approach than electronics. A long intro with organ fragrance draws a slow procession on an eclectic background. A juicy synth line comes alive around these sound effects unique to Klaus Schulze's repertoire and Mental Door goes unleashed on good percussion and takes on the appearance of a big colorful progressive rock. A mix of ELP and Hawkwind! This is a long track that is at the crossroads of Krautrock and Berlin School where Schulze varies the movements with excellent percussion (it is to wonder why he uses Grosskopf, as his play is very good), a good rhythmic base and a synth that teems with analog sound effects. This crazy title shows that Klaus Schulze has a sense of rhythm. This reissue of SPV is not perfect. There are gaps in the mastering but it feels good to hear Totem without the sounds of fries on my lp version. Moreover, this new Totem's mix is the richness of this reissue with its first version in C'est Pas La Même Chose. A more complete Totem, but less warm with a mono sound that respects the anthology of an honest reissue. In addition, the booklets of SPV are all rich in information and comments and complement very well the list of must-haves for all fans of Schulze and those who aspire to become

Sylvain Lupari (August 12th, 2006) *****

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