Review Summary: "Quadrophonische symphonie für orchester und e-maschinen"
Following his work as a drummer with Tangerine Dream
and Ash Ra Tempel
after just one album, Klaus Schulze finally realized that a solo career would suit him best. His solo debut was in some ways even more ahead of its time than his electronic works, seeing Schulze creating ambient drones and highly experimental cosmic sounds made completely without the use of synths. The sounds on Irrlicht had a lot more in common with the philosophies of musique concrète
, with Schulze manipulating tapes he made of an orchestra practicing and stirring those sounds into swelling sheets of electric organ and cosmic ping-pongs of delay and other effects. Schulze himself called the album a "quadrophonische symphonie für orchester und e-maschinen
", what sums the album quite well up.
The record is divided into three movements or "Satz". The first, the longest part is obviously the best here, is 23-minute opener Ebene
, a powerful trip, almost like a space travel experience, with organs and other electronics are used to create a floating, atmospheric, warm and spacey sound texture. Schulze did something more on the first track than he gave the cosmos atmosphere - he wove in the cosmological search for a man, which gives the song a full metaphysical dimension. It begins in a dehumanized way, though not entirely, because from the very beginning there is the fear that the Kosmos awakens. Soon, sounds from the world of people come, fragments of orchestral music, but they are so processed and chopped that they seem to flow from a powerful distance - here we have no doubts that we are in space and to the Earth, at most from the distance of light years. Gradually, the emotional tension rises up to the organ, extreme emotional, metaphysical and cathartic finale, in which Schulze jumps on chords like on the strings of the human soul, but in which the cosmic element is not pushed out but entangles with emotions. This piece is a man facing the infinity, the cosmos, the largest existing puzzle. At the same time, psychedelia, a sonic break does not stop here.
is actually a short interlude for searching less metaphysical, more purely sound and psychedelic., with more emphasis on musique concrète
sounds. Finally, Exil Sils Maria
is already Kosmos heavily dehumanized, cool, dispassionate, sinister and unmoved. It carries on for over twenty one deeply imaginative minutes, conjuring images in the listeners mind of deep space, wasteland dawns, machines whispering at night and the emptiness of infinity.
All in all, Irrlicht (in english "Will o' the Wisp"), is an electronic ambient masterpiece. The spirit of the organ of Messiaen's work in the last part of the first song, in the most important fragment of the album, is difficult for me to undermine; the influence of Stockhausen's achievements on the sound is impossible to undermine. And these are only the most obvious things. This, however, naturally does not undermine Schulze's success, rather the contrary.