Klaus Schulze

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Klaus Schulze
Klaus Schulze with Lisa Gerrard, 2007
Klaus Schulze with Lisa Gerrard, 2007
Background information
Born August 4, 1947 (1947-08-04) (age 61)
Origin Berlin, Germany
Genre(s) Electronic music
New Age music
Space music
Trance music
Krautrock/Kosmische Musik
Berlin School
Occupation(s) Musician, Producer
Years active 1969–present
Label(s) Ohr Records
Brain Records
Virgin Records
Manikin Records
Island Records
ZYX Records
Synthetic Symphony
FAX +49-69/450464
Associated acts Tangerine Dream
Ash Ra Tempel
Cosmic Jokers
Website Official Site

Klaus Schulze (born August 4, 1947) is a 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 launching a solo career consisting of more than 40 albums (more than 110 CDs) lasting over 3 decades.


[edit] History

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 (his first album to feature the Moog modular synthesizer), 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 effect 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.

June 2007, Klaus Schulze released a new album entitled Kontinuum.

Both Klaus Schulze and Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance) have produced an album called Farscape, released in July 2008. Later that month, Schulze and Gerrard appeared at an open-air music festival on the Loreley rock in Germany.

[edit] Richard Wahnfried

Richard Wahnfried, then simply Wahnfried after 1993, is the long-time and only real alias for Klaus Schulze – originally a pseudonym, later an official side project name. Seven albums were released under this name between 1979 and 1997.

The main characteristics of the Wahnfried albums (as opposed to Schulze's regular works) are:

  • Often being oriented towards more mainstream genres (some would say "more commercial"), such as rock, dance, techno and trance.
  • Always allowing for collaborative and less electronic albums, with known or unknown guest musicians performing along Schulze's synths.

The pseudonym's etymology stems from Schulze's love for Richard Wagner:

  • Richard, evidently from Wagner's first name. Richard is also the name of Schulze's first son.
  • Wahnfried ("Peace from delusion and/or madness", in German), from the name Wagner gave to his villa in Bayreuth (and where he was later buried).

In his 1975 album Timewind (four years before the first alias use), Schulze had already named a track "Wahnfried 1883" (in reference to Wagner's death and burial in his Wahnfried's garden in 1883). The other track on Timewind is called Bayreuth Return. After 1993, the albums are simply credited to "Wahnfried", and namedrop Schulze ("featuring Klaus Schulze", "Produced by Klaus Schulze").

"Wahnfried" is the only known alias of Schulze (albeit on the 1998 Tribute To Klaus Schulze album, among 10 other artists, Schulze contributed one track barely hidden behind the "Schulzendorfer Groove Orchester" pseudonym).

[edit] Discography

[edit] Studio and live albums

Schulze's concert performances are original compositions recorded live and thus listed as albums:

In 2005 an intensive re-release program of Schulze CDs started, mostly with extended or bonus tracks, sometimes a whole additional CD. They are published by the label Revisited Records (a division of German company InsideOut Music 1), and distributed by SPV.

[edit] Richard Wahnfried albums

Composed by Schulze and performed with guest artists under alias Richard Wahnfried:

[edit] Personnel

(1979) Time Actor
(1981) Tonwelle
  • Klaus Schulze - synths
  • Manuel Göttsching - guitar (Ash Ra Tempel)
  • "Karl Wahnfried" - guitar (unrevealed guest, just 'happens' to sound exactly like Carlos Santana)
  • Michael Shrieve - drums (Santana drummer)
  • Michael Garvens - vocals
(1984) Megatone
  • Klaus Schulze - synths
  • Michael Garvens - voice
  • Olduer Madchenchor - voice
  • Axel-Glenn Müller - saxophone
  • Ulli Schober - drums
  • Michael Shrieve - percussion (Santana drummer)
  • Harald Katzsch (guitar)
(1986) Miditation
(1994) Trancelation
  • Klaus Schulze - synths
  • U. W. Überschall - sampling
  • Georg Stettner - keyboards
(1996) Trance Appeal
  • Klaus Schulze - synths
  • Jörg Schaaf - keyboards
(1997) Drums 'n' Balls (The Gancha Dub)
  • Klaus Schulze - keys, computer, recording, mix
  • Joe "Dum Dum" Loevenstone - ritual percussion
  • Sloto Olatunye - sirophone, melomanica, bubble drum
  • Katarina Nevaseynewa - singing voice
  • Venus "Fretless" Dupond - bass

[edit] CD Box Sets

  • 1993 Silver Edition - Limited edition 10 disc box set of 2000 sets. Sold out.
  • 1995 Historic Edition - Limited edition 10 disc box set of 2000 sets. Sold out.
  • 1997 Jubilee Edition - Limited edition of 25 disc box set 1000 sets. Sold out.
  • 2000 The Ultimate Edition - Re-released Silver, Historic and Jubilee Edition box sets expanded with bonus material. (tentatively scheduled for re-release in 2008)
  • 2000 Contemporary Works I - 10 disc box set with guest performers.
  • 2002 Contemporary Works II - 5 disc box set with guest performers (limited 6th disc included with the first 333 sets)

[edit] The Dark Side of the Moog series

In collaboration with the extremely prolific ambient techno guru Pete Namlook (joined also by Bill Laswell on volumes 4 to 7). Each title is a humorous distortion of a Pink Floyd title, included in brackets:

The series was officially concluded with volume 10. On 21 March 2005 at 14:52 CET, Pete Namlook sold the Big Moog synthesizer that was the symbol of the series. Surprisingly, volume XI of the series appeared on Namlook's set on April 15, 2008 [1].

[edit] Other collaborations

[edit] Lone tracks

  • 1985 "Macksy" - Vinyl single made for the discos on company's request.
  • 1994 "Conquest Of Paradise" - Single, Schulze commissioned to replay a track of 1492 by Vangelis.
  • 2002 "Manikin Jubilee" - On a Manikin Records 2-CD sampler limited to 777 copies.
  • 2004 "Schrittmacher" - On a Manikin Records CD sampler.

[edit] Samplers and promos

  • 1991 2001
  • 1994 The Essential 72-93
  • 1999 Trailer
  • 2003 Andromeda (Promo CD)
  • 2004 Ion (Promo CD)

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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