KLAUS SCHULZE: X (1978)
“X is a timeless beauty that has age only its entered in history”
CD 1 1 Friedrich Nietzsche 24:50 2 Georg Trakl 26:04 3 Frank Herbert 10:51 4 Friedemann Bach 18:00 CD 2 1 Ludwig II. von Bayern 28:39 2 Heinrich von Kleist 29:32 3 Objet d'Louis (Bonus track Live 1978) 21:32 SPV 089-304042
(CD 159:28) (V.F.)
(Berlin School, orchestral EM)
In one of my chronicles on Guts Of Darkness, I made an uproar when I dared to compare some works of contemporary EM to classics. X for 10, the 10th work of Klaus Schulze, is one of these works! Like many classics, it matured with the years and always ask for a good open-minded for a progressive and orchestral approach, especially on CD 2, by the famous German synthesist. Cited as being a great masterpiece, X is not easy to tame even if we know the airy style of Klaus Schulze. Concept album in six musical tableaux that pay tribute to contemporary musicians who have influenced his artistic visions and direction, X is a grandiose symphony to the extent of Klaus Schulze's ambitions and who, must be honest, doesn't have to blush in front of the great classical music works. Flanked by Harald Grosskopf on percussions and Wolfgang Tiepold on cello, X sails between Moondawn and Body Love, as well as what will be the musical core of Klaus Schulze for the coming years.
Electronic gadgets are sparkling on the curves of a sinuous wind hummed by a bass-voices choir. Austere, the introduction of Friedrich Nietzsche barely crosses the 3 minutes as arpeggios jump on the effects of jerky layers. The rhythm becomes agitated by the spasms of the arpeggios, while the bass line tempers the excitement of the rhythm which finds quite easily the paths of Body Love's electronic trances throughout the next 20 minutes. Without respite, Harald Grosskopf hammers his skins on another monumental title that moves with heaviness around the orchestral strata that make waltz Friedrich Nietzsche. An intense title where the thick fogs of mellotron and its virtual choir form a warm and harmonious ambience. At the top of his shape, Klaus Schulze multiplies synth solos that fly and wind up aerial figures on drums that roll at full speed. A little more and we would be in the spheres of Moondawn! A superb piece that changes its course, always so intense, around the 16th minute, when KS develops his finest solos on the gracious game of Harald Grosskopf and his swift hands on drums. Some great Klaus Schulze that needs to be listened with passion! Georg Trakl is a more tempered title that is stretched of 20 more minutes on this reissue of Revisited Records. The rhythm is carved by two steps of two sequences, dancing like a cha-cha in a delicate atmosphere attracted by the Groove style. Keyboard riffs, synth pads, and percussion cling onto this floating rhythm, that breezes of Arabic flutes are covering of a soft reverie. Georg Trakl leaves the bed of its 6 minutes with a little more vigor in a rhythmic vision fed by sequences whose alternating keys plunge us into the poetic world of Body Love, while the crystal-clear sequences that dance there bring us near Mirage, but with a slightly more progressive approach. It becomes a long languorous title, a little bit too long I think, which evolves in a haunting atmosphere with these riffs of keyboard/synth which finally harmonize with the sequencer, weaving a strange atmosphere of free jazz well flanked by the magic hands of the man from Ashra. A powerful organ rush pushes Frank Herbert's rhythm into an astonishing rhythmic ride where a sequencer makes quickly roll its keys with bass tones hyper-excited. It's a wild and unbridled title that builds on this beautiful line of bass sequences with keys as galloping as the most furious movements of Chris Franke. Harald Grosskopf's arms are tireless here. Keyboard riffs sound like a guitar-neck folding under this intense rhythmic weight where Klaus Schulze is preparing his solos. Only the color is to be defined! Klaus Schulze rocks on an infernal rhythm, and his solos are superb.
Friedemann Bach takes us to these more difficult territories of X. The movement includes a recording of a string orchestra that Schulze has recorded and reshaped, in a recognizable way, to give a more contemporary classical texture to his electronic vision. This process was also applied to Ludwig II. von Bayern. A heavy, apathetic violin drags its first notes, which are tortured by orchestral percussions with scattered strikes. Sudden sound eruptions upset a relative tranquility with aggressive bursts, while two lines of orchestrations confront in a vision where the classic and electronics seek their landmarks. The drums hammer and roll in this placid atmosphere that sways with its violin chords. And this movement develops with more melodious homogeneity which results in an increasing velocity dictated by the riffs of the strings pinched cruelly. Dense, the mellotron blows a warmer atmosphere while the title takes shape surprisingly in a complete sonorous anarchy. A synth with oblong orchestral strata makes fly its violin strings on scattered and unruly percussions to form a disorganized ensemble on a minimalist tempo that evolves stubbornly. A cacophony that I find great ... after several listenings. And there is only Schulze to harmonize such a cacophony. X takes an orchestral turn that continues with the excellent Ludwig II. von Bayern. Flows of tones falling and deployments of giant sound wings, the music also starts in a din. The movement that develops is slow with a line of violins and their poignant caresses that stretch their strings in a melancholic concerto. They waltz at times while the cello, imperturbable, discreetly caresses this fascinating symphony that makes our ears dependent as on the first measures. Between frivolities and dark corridors, Ludwig II. von Bayern flows and walks slyly with the fluidity of the bows on the strings until one gets lost in a Mephistophelic Mass with a dark passage that will last for about 7 minutes. As soon as the strings chase these moods, Harald Grosskopf's drums fall and his hands give us the shivers, so much his strikes on the drums are in symbiosis with the orchestrations. Schulze Goes Classic! This is probably where the idea sprout. Heinrich Von Kleist is a title that evolves slowly in its envelope of atmospheric orchestrations. Less musical than Ludwig II. von Bayern, the violin layers flow with melancholy and a passion held. Wolfgang Tiepold's cello is sweet and lulls us with an illusion of nostalgia. The music also goes in a very dark passage where chthonic choruses and cello weave the canvases of a heavy moment that gets out of its coma to go towards the final. A finale animated by percussions and cosmic sound effects of a synth that envelops a tempo became livelier. Objet d'Louis is the musical piece offered as a bonus with this Revisited Records edition. This is a somewhat improvised version of Ludwig II. von Bayern played in concert in 78. The quality of the sound is very average, not to say downright bad. I imagine that hardcore fans will love it. I love Klaus Schulze and I don't like it!
For many experts, X is the classic of EM classics. Klaus Schulze develops symphonic movements with passion and a much creative madness. At once complex and lucid, X is savored slowly, with as much passion as Schulze puts in it. I would not say that it is easy to tame (after all, it's true classical ideas floating among electronic movements, sequenced and unbridled) but we can easily be charmed, listening after listening, by this timeless beauty. The versions of BRAIN, vinyl and CD, are the best recordings sources of X.
Sylvain Lupari (September 23rd, 2006) *****