Even more than with a band, the creative work of a solo artist is the direct and unadulterated reflection of recent experiences, a mirror of the soul, an undiluted reaction to their current life situation. This formula has always applied to German electronic music artist, composer and producer Klaus Schulze, and even if the astonishing number of albums recorded and released by him is virtually impossible to pinpoint (experts estimate the number of releases featuring Schulze to be at least 200, but more probably 500), his latest offering Silhouettes is no less special for the 70-year-old.
The four pieces on the album were created between summer and autumn 2017 following an extended period which was – due to health problems – very quiet and for this reason very meditative at times. Schulze: “The result automatically was a phase of reflection, of retrospection, of pure contemplation. In the wake of your 70th birthday you naturally find yourself looking back at the past – so the result is a reorientation, a renewed awareness of what is really important.” Schulze describes the music on Silhouettes as a “reduction to the essential things” and has consciously worked only very sparingly with solos and vocal elements. He explains: “No great distractions, nothing to force your attention in a certain direction, no major effects or gimmicks, no frills or dominant rhythms. It was important to me to paint the pictures in the depth of the space, the sonic fields of tension and atmosphere.”
Sonic images that inspire with their meditative ambience, their compositional elegance, their gentle advance into expanses and depths. “Although that’s not something you consciously decide to do – it just happens if the music wants it to happen and you listen to where the journey wants to take you,” Schulze describes his basic creative philosophy. “The result may appear to be unspectacular at first sight, but as with a microscope or a cosmic telescope, the evident should not really be what matters. Because there are levels in music that you can almost touch, that walk through the room – but first of all you have to allow the noise in your head to calm down so the music behind it becomes audible. Which may turn out to be very simple and for this reason very complex, depending on how far you’re prepared to venture into it.”
Analysing individual works in detail would not do justice to the overall phenomenon of Silhouettes, in particular since the titles ´Silhouettes`, ´Der lange Blick zurück`, ´Quae simplex` and ´Châteaux faits des vent` are expressive enough in themselves. As a brief assessment, let it just be said that the overture ´Silhouettes` sees Schulze pave the way for an epic symphony, consciously leaving it at hints, shadows and scattered fragments, while the other three compositions feature the sequencers that are so typical of him. Other than that, the whole album lives up to the tried and tested motto of this innovative artist: let the music talk!
Schulze was born in Berlin on 4 August 1947. He started his musical career as a drummer, initially with amateur band Psy Free, then with Berlin sound avant-gardists Tangerine Dream before going on to join Ash Ra Tempel. Following the recording of their debut album, Schulze left the fold to embark on his solo career. In summer 1971 he built his first small sound studio in the bedroom of his flat, where he recorded his debut Irrlicht which arrived at the stores in April 1972 and has been followed by countless successors to this day. The press was enthusiastic from the beginning, referring to Schulze as the “King Of Cosmic Music” and the “Magician on the Big Moog”, calling his work a “monument of forward-looking music.” Schulze himself has never been interested in these kinds of labels, he simply follows a clear artistic vision: “For me a piece of music takes time until it becomes alive. Theoretically I could of course cut down what people refer to as epic to four or five minutes. But then the dramaturgy of the work would break down completely. Since my debut album, I’ve always allowed my compositions the time frame they need.”
“Silhouettes” is set for a May 25th release through Oblivion/SPV.
Der lange Blick zurück 22:07
Quae simplex 21:48
Châteaux faits de vent 15:09
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