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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

SCHULZE & GERRARD: Rheingold (2008)

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

A pure masterpiece which melts both skills in a unique musical texture


1 Alberich 24:54

2 Loreley 39:35


1 Wotan 10:03

2 Wellgunde 14:56

3 Nothung 11:20

4 Nibelungen 31:27

(Bonus studio track)

DVD 1 (99:00)

Live at Loreley 18th July 2008

1 Alberich 24:56

2 Loreley 39:35

3 Wotan 10:03

4 Wellgunde 14:56

5 Nothung 11:20

DVD 2 (120:00)

Documentary "The Real World of Klaus Schulze" – approx. 65 mins

Interview "A conversation with Steven Wilson and Klaus Schulze" – approx. 55 mins

SPV 306072 DCD

(2CD 131:18) (2DVD 219:00) (V.F.)

(Ambient Sequencer-based Berlin School)

From Friday July 18th to Sunday July 20th the Night of the Prog festival was held in Loreley, Germany. Among the guests were Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze as well as Phish,

Roger Hodgson, Barclay James Harvest and other bands whose music varies between rock and progressive. For his part, Klaus Schulze was accompanied by Lisa Gerrard on 2 tracks, Loreley and Wellgunde. The rest of RHEINGOLD is pure Klaus Schulze with improvised ideas and designs that fills our ears with pure nectar, like in the good old days of his Live in 1980 but in a more contemporary vision and version.

It's in a synthesized din that Master Schulze opens his concert. It is almost midnight. Alberich opens his tunes with a discordant synth that alternates between the hertzian madness and the central station. Schulze likes to start his concerts this way. Static cacophony that dies in the hollow of a synth wave to be reborn on a soft synth with ethereal movements, perfectly marrying the splendors of a falling night. Schulze introduces his virtual orchestra with the patience of a seasoned maestro on a floating movement of an angelic choir and orchestral arrangements that blend wonderfully into a serene soft atmosphere. An atmosphere to make us dream on the old serenades of the German creator who spices up the whole with some sound effects with the soft analogue perfume. Conquered, the audience patiently follows the slow evolution of Alberich which starts to get agitated around the 11th minute with a sequence that spins in jerky circles, creating a hypnotic effect on a barely tempered rhythm. Timid cymbals awaken its chipped circles a bit more until a heavy drumbeat hammers out a slow but powerful rhythm. Good old Schulze served up in a modern twist with echo-filled synths. The intro of Loreley is serene. Klaus gives us an earful with a dreamy synth that follows the wandering of the stars. Grace on the fingertips that reminds us of a younger, more analog Schulze. Cosmic and fragile, Loreley evolves like a soft cosmic mermaid voice floating in a radiant prismatic nothingness to introduce Lisa Gerrard's superb voice. Unlike in Farscape, the magic happens. Gerrard's voice blends beautifully with Schulze's vocal and orchestral arrangements. A splendid fusion that surprisingly evolves into a bouncy, neurotic sequenced rhythm, supported by Ms. Gerrard's vocal power. Dynamic Schulze who pushes the Australian singer to her limits with superb lively movements, almost bordering on techno, on wonderful sequential feats (it's live), animated by Blackdance-like percussions. Simply superb. The last 12 minutes belong to the spirit of Farscape, as well as Wellgunde, but it is more acceptable in this more eventful and strongly rhythmic context.

Big electronic eructation followed by a tornado by a synth with harmonious loops, Wotan pierces the night with a hypnotic pulsating aggressiveness on good sequences. Bold and brilliant, Schulze makes a sound montage with a din on melodious snippets surrounded by stripping solos. With minimalist synth waves that come back as loops on good percussions, Nothung shows the German Master's talent to travel in the spheres of his decades. Closer to his middle period, the track travels happily on a rhythm that transcends his musical stages. We find elements of his analog, digital and classical periods with good orchestral arrangements. A little more and you would think you were listening to Harald Grosskopf on drums. Pure Klaus Schulze! Nibelungen is a bonus track on the double-cd set. A long track that starts harmoniously with soft ethereal voices that follow a very sweet and melodious movement. So beautiful and promising, I think I'm dreaming because I have a feeling of musical beauty as I had experienced it on Mirage. The movement progresses with force, but always keeping its initial sweetness. A cello embraces the fickle emotions of this light rhythm around the 10th minute, where Nibelungen becomes more abstract than musical, but still with that harmonious touch lurking in the background. Voice samplings, flutes, violins and cellos float through this cerebral setting, adding the long understood and forgiven lengths of the German Master. Around the 23rd minute, Nibelungen flies higher with fine sequences that flow under a strange horn, keeping intact the emotion of the first moments and explaining the meaning of the lengths that Klaus likes to exploit. A pure delight!

Well, some will say that I let myself be carried away by my great passion for this contemporary musician who will become a legend in a few decades, but RHEINGOLD is a pure masterpiece if one forgives the usual length of the improvisations of the German musician-synthesist. For me, it is great electronic music (EM) that alternates between its crazy rhythms and its approaches of a sensitivity that can be judged with the progression of a life. I loved every minute of it, even the floating Wellgunde which takes on a whole new dimension in this fiery concert that Klaus Schulze gave at Loreley on July 18, 2008.

Sylvain Lupari (February 8th, 2009) ****½*

After Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygene Live In Your Living Room, RHEINGOLD's DVD is an anthology piece that helps to better understand the complexities of electronic music (EM). DVD 1 presents the entire concert without cuts or fades out. The unedited concert with its eccentricities, such as Klaus Schulze standing up in the middle of Loreley's performance to thank the crowd for their enthusiasm, and the synchronization errors that he seems to discern via his mimics. Thus we see how the master works. How he edits his compositions and improvisations. It's simply amazing and educational for a neophyte such as me, who has no knowledge of the conception of EM. To see with what precision how everything fits together and ends up creating a very high quality piece of music. It's obvious that some instruments are sampled but this does not detract from the artist's compositional work. The meticulousness of the art minimalism to which are added sequences, voices, orchestrations, percussions on a synth and its mellotron is a real course on how to make EM. Both are really manipulated by Schulze's hands, contrary to what Edgar Froese and his gang give us according to the various denunciations on the web. So, an excellent visual document that is well worth the detour with a superb concert.

The 2nd DVD is a documentary about the conception of the concert. Mostly in German, sometimes in English, Klaus Schulze discusses the concert from Peter Gabriel's studios. Klaus explains his vision of the concert recordings, what brought him to Loreley and the participation of Lise Gerrard. Very interesting documentary where we see a relaxed Schulze, as human as his music. The second part is a conversation, much more than an interview, between Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree and Klaus. It's very interesting, although sometimes difficult to follow because of the very pronounced accents of the 2 characters. And the DVD has no French subtitles, a serious omission in my opinion because a large audience of Klaus Schulze is French speaking.

So 2 scholars in their bubbles talking and talking, forgetting the camera and those who are going to listen...Let's get it just for the concert!

Sylvain Lupari (February 8th, 2009) ***½**

Available at Groove nl

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