Review Summary: “Blackdance” isn’t an album for the typical Eno lover or the Boards Of Canada fanatic. It’s different and very unique for its time. To my mind, in a nutshell, it’s a cure for nyctophobia (fear of darkness), and a thumbs-up ambient piece.
Klaus Shulze is truly a distinct character when it comes to the history of music, but more of a iconic character to the history of German music, especially with this 1974 release “Blackdance”.
It brings about a mixture of experimental, scenic melodies and dark ambiece – certainly dark ambience.
It is produced as a three track LP with the collaboration of experimenting instruments such as the synthesiser, percussion, 12-string guitar, organ and piano, with the once-off track introduction of soprano by Ernst Walter Siemon. Indeed, this is the first of his LPs where he is given the chance to introduce himself as a German synthesiser artist, amongst his former collaborators such as the ambient icon Tangerine Dream. In his two previous albums, “Irrlicht” (1972) and “Cyborg” (1973), he experiments with organs, reversed and phased to the extremities of abstraction. In the ambient art, there’s always a time for change.
The album begins with a typical dark-ambient seventeen minute tune “Way Of Changes” which commences with a fast, yet cruel-like sound of the synth and thimbles, resembling a form of darkness and a true scene of evil. Not that it’s bad, but it’s very aesthetically pleasing, if you’re into that dark stuff! Mid-way between the song, it begins to soften and blow the proportion of experimenting with this alienated synthesiser. He absolutely loves his new style! It isn’t long into that twist where he amalgamated this foreign sound with his commencing sound – the fast synth and thimbles, with the great addition of congas. For 1974, it is a fine ambient and electronic sound, especially for a first-timer on the synth – hence the title of the song “Way Of Changes”.
For an album of three tracks, you’d really expect this experimental work of ambient art to be classic, deeply meaningful and effortful, but “Some Velvet Phasing” is what it says on the tin – as if some beginner DJ self-discovered how to phase a sound he or she made, and continuously repeat it for eight and a half minutes! If you’re the person that listens to continuous animal sounds to put you to sleep, this is truly the piece for you. It’s quite relaxing, to say the least, but isn’t the standard that Shulze had prepared in previous works. In fact, get a cheap-ass Korg or Mitsubishi, hook it to the computer, press the record button, press one key, phase it, repeat it and voila! You have “Some Velvet Phasing”.
Though there was a small flaw in this album, it didn’t destroy the whole production. “Voice Of Syn”, a track that lasts for twenty-two minutes, is a dark-ambient piece with the previously mentioned soprano Siemon at the commencement for about six minutes, and slightly subtly transfers onto some phasing with synthesised bass lines. Of course, if you’re an ambient-music lover that means you’re patient with this musical art, which is why this bass-line repeats itself for fifteen minutes, and finishes with beautiful, yet black phasing and starry swishes of electronic sounds.