Obituary for Klaus Schulze: music coming from the car park – culture

A man and his cars, reunion scenes ready. As can be seen Klaus Schulze at a concert recorded by WDR in 1977, he was everything at once: hippie, monk and astronaut. He sits cross-legged on a fleece rug, surrounded on three sides by synthesizers, mixers, sequences and tape recorders. He carefully turns the knobs and plays some notes on one of the keyboards.

Sometimes his bust, wearing a white flowing shirt, sways slightly, his hair is cut into a stiff Prince Valiant hairstyle. From the car park comes ominous whistling noises, later fabrications, and after four minutes a fiery pulsating melody begins, which sounds futuristic and romantic at the same time. Music of the future from the past.

Cross-legged on the hair carpet

In YouTube comment columns, fans have identified some of the devices, including Schulze’s Big Moog legend, a 100-pound, cupboard-tall giant he inherited from Florian Fricke, the band’s founder, Popol Vuh. Also notable: a Synthi-A, an Odyssey Korg ARP, “oh, and 2 ReVox A77 in the background,” while a commenter cheers. Contributions are written in English, French and Russian, among other languages. Klaus Schulze, who died Tuesday at the age of 74, was an internationally known star.

David Bowie and Brian Eno adored him, as did British musician Richard David James, better known as Aphex Twin. Excerpts from it can be found in the soundtracks of Hollywood directors Sofia Coppola and Michael Mann. Schulze is considered a pioneer of sinta pop and techno. In Germany, however, much less attention was paid to the pioneer.

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Schulze often avoided praise, saying he wanted to know nothing about a revolution in which he was involved. He “just did it,” he said, and about his music more needs to be said about evolution. Schulze, born in Berlin in 1947, began his career as a drummer, playing in the short-lived lineup Psy Free and Tangerine Dream. He left the krautrock band Ash Ra Tempel after they recorded their debut album. Schulze wanted to have discovered electronic music when Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese was still imitating Jimi Hendrix rock. In 1972 he published his solo debut Irrlicht. What bothered him most about the groups were the endless discussions.

Strange music from the walled city

Since the days of the student revolts, West Berlin has been a center of experimentation, with many people making strange music. Schulze rose to become a central figure in the so-called Berlin School. He set the standard with his spherical music, based on sound landscapes and striving for infinity. On the album “Moondawn” (1976), which he recorded with his former Ash-Ra-Temple comrade-in-arms, Harald Großkopf, you can still hear background noise and vocal fragments. With records like “Mirage” (1977) or “Dune” (1979) the sound became more transparent and solemn. Music as a form of meditation.

Schulze, who ran a recording studio at Lüneburg Heath, has released more than fifty albums. His latest work, Deus Arrakis, is scheduled for release in June. Schulze did not know what to do with terms like “cosmic music” or “New Age.” The New Age is a “movement that does not give me a curse” and has just given birth to Muzak. He preferred to refer to Richard Wagner and published several long discs under the pseudonym Wahnfried. He also contributed to Nietzsche, Friedemann Bach, and science fiction writer Frank Herbert.

Schulze was also a discoverer and promoter. In 1978 he founded his own music label Innovative Communication. The Ideal band’s debut album, which Schulze had produced, was released there. He liked Annette Humpe’s “challenging singing”. As a producer, he also worked for the bands DIN A Testbild and Alphaville, among others. Klaus Schulze was an introvert, Alphaville singer Marian Gold said in a radio interview. But in a way he was the “center, the sun” around which everything else revolved.

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