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Klaus Schulze (born August 4, 1947) is a highly influential German electronic music composer and musician. He also used the alias Richard Wahnfried. He was briefly a member of the electronic bands Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel before a solo career of more than 40 albums (more than 110 CDs) lasting over 3 decades.
In 1969, Klaus Schulze was the drummer of one of the early incarnations of Tangerine Dream for their debut album Electronic Meditation. In 1970 he left this group to form Ash Ra Tempel with Manuel Göttsching. In 1971, he chose again to leave a newly-formed group after only one album, this time to mount a solo career. In 1972, Schulze released his debut album Irrlicht with organ and a recording of an orchestra filtered almost beyond recognition. Despite the lack of synthesizers, this proto-ambient work is regarded as a milestone in electronic music. The follow up, Cyborg, was similar but added the EMS Synthi A synthesizer.
He has had a prolific career, with more than 40 original albums to his name since Irrlicht, some highlights being 1976's Moondawn, 1979's Dune, and 1995's double-album In Blue (featuring one long track with electric guitar by his pal Manuel Göttsching of Ash Ra Tempel). He often takes German events as a starting point in his compositions, particularly on his album "X" (the title signifying it was his tenth album) in 1978 which was subtitled "Six Musical Biographies", including such notables as Ludwig II of Bavaria, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. His use of the pseudonym Richard Wahnfried indicates his interest in Richard Wagner, which also informs other albums of his music, notably Timewind.
Throughout the 1970s he worked mostly in the musical vein of the above-mentioned Tangerine Dream, albeit with far lighter sequencer lines and a more reflective, dreamy edge, not unlike the ambient music of contemporary Brian Eno. Some of his lighter albums are appreciated by new age music fans, but Schulze has always denied connections to this genre.
Klaus Schulze had a more organic sound than other electronic artists of the time. Often he would throw in decidedly non-electronic sounds such as acoustic guitar and a male operatic voice in Blackdance, or a cello in Dune and Trancefer. Schulze developed a Minimoog technique that sounds uncannily like an electric guitar, which is quite impressive in concert.
In the 1980s Schulze moved from analog to digital instruments, and his work accordingly became less experimental and more accessible. Although the switch to purely digital recording and instruments is evident in the style of Dig It (1980) It was not until the release of Trancefer (1981) that the shift in style became evident. Trancefer was far more obviously reliant on sequencers than previous recordings, and the resultant affect transformed Schulze's style from gentle melodic journeys to and ever growing crescendo of music consisting of multi layered rhythmical passages. This is particularly evident in the Trancefer's first track "A few moments after Trancefer", although the second track "Silent Running" is more reminiscent of Schulze's earlier works.
This newer style can also be found in Schulze's next release Audentity. Both "Cellistica" and "Spielglocken" are composed in a similar, sequencer based, style as Trancefer, but this is certainly not the case of all of Audentity's tracks, indeed "Sebastian in Traum" hints towards the Operatic style to be found in some of Schulze's much later work. The predominance of sequencing can also be found in the follow up live album Dziekuje Poland Live '83, although it should be noted that many of its tracks are re-workings of those to be found on Audentity. Schulze's next studio-based album Angst (soundtrack to the namesake 1983 film) moved away from the harshness of sharp, heavily sequenced style of the 3 previous albums and, once again, had the more "organic feel" of earlier recordings. Another highlight of this era was En=Trance with the dreamy cut "FM Delight". The album Miditerranean Pads marked the beginning of very complex percussion arrangements that continued into the next two decades.
Starting with Beyond Recall, the first half of the 1990s was the notorious "sample" period, when Schulze used a variety of pre-recorded sounds of screeching birds and sensuous female moans in his studio albums and live performances. Sampling was such an unpopular diversion that when In Blue was released in 1995 without samples it was hailed as a return to form. The decade also saw the release of copious amounts of previously unreleased material, of varying quality, in several limited-edition boxed sets. Some live recordings were discovered on pristine but forgotten reels of tape which had been used to provide echo in concerts.
Recently Schulze began incorporating elements of jazz and classical music, working with more contemporary techno dance music such as trance, and creating two opera, the second still awaiting release. Also, in 2005 he began re-releasing his classic solo and Wahnfried albums with bonus tracks of unreleased material recorded at roughly the same time as the original works.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Official Homepage: www.klaus-schulze.com
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