Klaus_schulze Deus_arrakis

Klaus Schulze - Deus Arrakis


I still vividly remember my first encounter of the third kind with the music by Klaus Schulze. I walked into a newly opened record shop in the town I grew up in to ask if they had received the new Gong album. They had not, but the woman behind the counter gave me timewind by Klaus Schulze and said I should check it out while waiting for the other album. The Schulze album totally blew me away and sent me into the wormhole of synth-based music for the years to come.

It is near impossible to give an overview of the impact Klaus Schulze´s music has had on almost every genre in modern popular music, be it synthwave, darkwave, techno, house, post-metal - every metal genre for that matter. A Facebook friend of mine once showed me Steve von Till´s playlist where Schulze was represented (thank you, Jane). Neurosis really found their footing when they made synths a part of their heavy and broad music. And a bandmate of Klaus from the early Tangerine Dream days composed the first track of Mayhem´s debut album. So, the electronic Berliner Schule (Berlin School) Klaus Schulze was a part of has had a huge impact.

But, sadly, the pioneers like him are not among us anymore. In April, he left to be a part of the great gig in the sky where among others Edgar Froese was waiting together with Keith Emerson, and Vangelis joined them a short time afterwards. It is sad but they left behind a vast and thankful fan base and their music lives on. Not at least Klaus Schulze´s music as the new album climbs the charts after it was released posthumously. That is awesome and will lead to more people to get close encounters with what might be the most inventive and creative musician. An artist that single-handedly became his own genre and released more than 60 albums since his solo debut in 1972. And every single album had his fingerprint, yet he always found a new musical direction.

Schulze played drums in early Tangerine Dream, but went solo because he wanted to explore keyboards thus beginning an expansive musical journey that ended this year and also ended with this Dune-inspired album, Deus Arrakis. It is not the first time that Schulze seeks inspiration for his music from the works of Frank Herbert, as he released an album called Dune in 1979 and also called one of his tracks on the album X ”Frank Herbert”. From this track Hans Zimmer lifted the bassline to include it in his soundtrack for last year´s movie version of Dune. The making of this new film made Schulze go back to the books by Frank Herbert and he was inspired to spontaneously compose three tracks for this new album. Each track is twenty to thirty minutes long and is divided into several parts.

The album opens with ”Osiris”: in four parts that evoke the sonics from the mid-70s up to his sampler period. As he always has done, he finds a tone and explores it and widens it out, brings in new notes and themes, finds the footing with a repetitive rhythm that leads towards part three which expands the sonics with a deep bass line under the rhythm. In the end the repetitive rhythm fades away and the sonics glide deeper and broader throughout into the short last part of the track.

The second track”Seth” is divided into seven parts and opens experimentally with some discordant electronic tones. Waves of sounds are coming from many angles, exploring each other, trying to find a connection. Eventually, they melt together and a vast soundscape appears and flows into the second part. This part is drifting towards a playful third part where droplets of sound jump in and out over the rhythm. It is embraced by the broad sonics from part two until there is an abrupt end to set the stage for a slightly new direction as Wolfgang Tiepold´s cello works appear within the sonics. Tiepold has been a frequent collaborator with Schulze and the latter is an expert in building sonics that embrace the sound of the cello throughout.

The album closes with ”Der Hauch des Lebens” in five parts. Meaning “The Breath of Life”, this track starts a bit foreboding with echoing synths over dark and vast sonics. In its reflective beauty it floats slowly along towards a more playful second part that is both funny and sad. Sad because this is the last composition we will get from Schulze. During the two last parts of the track he really “explains” how to build ambient soundscapes with his electronic instruments. It slowly fades away and lets us reflect upon a creative life that spanned more than fifty years and still makes us think of a title of one of the tracks from one of the earlier albums, ”I Sing the Body Electric”.