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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

KLAUS SCHULZE: Royal Festival Hall Vol.2 (1992)

Royal Hall Festival Vol. 2 shows from noises, Klaus Schulze is able to built something strong”

1 Ancient Ambiance 44:45   2 Anchorage 11:03   3 Variation On B. F. 11:45   Virgin CDVE 917

(CD 67:54) (V.F.) (Progressive orchestral EM)

If you found the early measures of Yen difficult to digest, your ears will again suffer with the opening of Ancient Ambiance. Cacophonous? I believe that Klaus Schulze has resolutely smashed this term with his intros as heavy as they are indigestible which always end up leading to some sublimity. The introduction horrifies me! Lapping water, oar strokes, cries of macaques, elephant sigh breaths, Elf children's choirs, Zoolook murmurs, percussion explosions, orchestrations as harmonious as they are indomitable and so on… But the rest ? What a delight! Towards the 9th minute (Yes! 9 minutes), soft layers of violin intersect their symphonic euphonies and install the rhythmic base of this long 45-minute track.

This hypnotic and minimalist movement in staccato is built on a flexible rhythm stuffed with bursts of drums, rattlesnake percussions, childish choirs and female voices of the Laurie Anderson genre which are intertwined in a maelstrom quite melodious for such a disheveled structure. A structure of rhythm which maintains its progressive growth in a kind of finely orchestrated musical delirium where everything is interwoven, even the improbability. A delirium soberly offered on a hiccupping and chaotic rhythm and molded in an excess that exceeds Beyond Recall. Because there is fury, violence and passion in Ancient Ambiance, which is smashed on unbridled percussion, but in balanced doses, a bit like an executioner who wants to stretch his pleasure. And Schulze stretches that pleasure. A violin appears around the 16th minute, nuancing the dimension of this symphony of sounds with a more folk approach that would have annoyed our ancestors. And it continues to surprise our ears with good electronic percussions, that sound so much like real tribal, and sighs of women that make us jump, and that would destabilize the devil, on an increasingly frenetic tempo.

A tempo which gradually fades into a static eddy where Muslim voices recite a Persian ode. We are entering a rather ambient phase where sampling can sometimes offend the ears. You have to support this if you want to enjoy a breathtaking final. But before, the progression goes through a big movement of sequences and percussions towards the 34th minute. Hold your hat tight because it blows. A demonic Schulze free of chains is throwing his samplings by intertwining waves on a brisky and very rocky structure nourished by superb percussions and guitar chords à la Göttsching in an intense cosmic rock which rolls like a frenetic belly dance in which sulfurous synth solos wallow. Quite sublime ... These last 10 minutes are worth knocking for this horrible opening as well as the price of the CD. This is high-level Klaus Schulze who still demonstrates very beautiful things. A solitary saxophone opens the first seconds of Anchorage. A sweet, melancholic intro drags its pain under a dark ocher color by the arrival of samples with cello sounds and boreal cries. The bass rolls its notes like a lascivious dance with swaying movements that Schulze likes so much to develop in order to bring out a strange cerebral sensuality on a glass wire with shards of Crystal Lake and breaths of pleasure. A strange but beautiful title where the crossings are mixed with cries of macaques under a fine synth flight from a Klaus Schulze very secret. A dreamy Klaus Schulze who simmers a structure with a latent, hypnotic and bewitching crescendo and which breaks up into a crazy structural reverse. Variation On B. F. offers a more austere, a more symphonic approach with the cello strings that strum a heavy structure animated by muffled pulsations and female choruses where the approach of Totentag's first essences is felt. A beautiful and more classical piece of music in the wake of Dresden 4.

Whether it's Vol. 1 or 2, I would start with 2, Royal Festival Hall is a complex work whose premise remains on a vast collage of sound samples over a musical structure which is struggling to emerge, except for Vol. 2. Vol. 1 has its forces (Silence and Sequence) and its Gregorian style à la Vangelis, while Vol. 2 is quite stunning with a more emotional and a more passionate approach. Klaus Schulze puts everything on it, even touching the roots of his Berlin School with a breathtaking ending on Ancient Ambiance. Quite remarkable!

Sylvain Lupari (July 5th, 2010) ****½*

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