Dienstag, 9. Oktober 2018

Nostalgic recollection, pt. 6

In autumn 1978, when the double album "X" was released, we could not foresee that it will be a historic milestone ...today, 40 years after.
Two reviews, printed in The KS Circle no. 82, when "X" had its 25th anniversary:

(*****) Electronic Music's Greatest Masterpiece.
The influence "X" has had on the current two generations of electronic artists/composers is beyond words but completely understandable. With this 1978 double album, Schulze reached the height of his creative powers, producing a work which bridges the gap between the so-called "progressive" jazz-rock of the day to some of the most original and profound electronic ambient music ever made. Officially titled "Sechs Musikalische Biographien", it moves from high-speed trance sessions like "Friedrich Nietzsche" and "Frank Herbert" to pieces inspired by the Western classical tradition ("Friedemann Bach" and "Ludwig II von Bayern"), to the unfathomable nightmare of "Heinrich von Kleist", which is arguably Schulze's finest half-hour ever. Fellow electronic composer Steve Roach has sited this album along with Schulze's "Timewind" for inspiring him to make a career out of making electronic music and it's simply no wonder as to why. Without question one of the truly great recordings of the past quarter-century in ANY field of music.


(*****) A Relentlessly Dark Oppressive Provisional Masterwork.
There are two rules to KS albums: 1) His best work is completely bleak 2) Almost ALL his compositions run far too long.
Nevertheless, "X" is arguably as good as he gets. If there is soundtrack to hell, personal or universal, this is it.
It all starts with "Friedrich Nietzsche", a 24 minute head rush that would have been just fine at ten or twelve minutes. I keep getting images of the "Dawn of Man" segment from "2001" in it's first few mintues. Still strikeing. "Frank Herbert" may be the ultimate road-rage soundtrack. "Ludwig II von Bayern" makes fantastic use of a full string orchestra in its first several minutes and is probably the best thing Schulze ever recorded. In fact, it's SO good I kept wondering why he never utilized more orchestral arrangements in his later albums. He seems a far better composer than performer. (Another curious note, none of the musicians for the orchestral sections of "X" are credited... seems a bit wrong.)
Those are the highlights.
I recommend this for those looking for some kind of Heavy Metal/Ambient/Neo Classical hybrid. (How's that for a description?) It's definately one-of-a-kind.


PS: The list with the names of the orchestra members were printed in the 'Circle'. Here it is again. The solo violin was played by B.Dragic and the orchestra was conducted by Wolfgang Tiepold.

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Autumn in Berlin
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(& in large)

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