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Klaus Schulze - Picture Music CD (album) cover

PICTURE MUSIC

Klaus Schulze

 

Progressive Electronic

3.77 | 100 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Klaus Schulze's fourth studio album (not his third, but that's an old story by now) was a bit of a schizoid affair, contrasting some of the composer's strongest work to date with some of his weakest, over each side of the original vinyl. The opening "Totem" is a classic piece of otherworldly electronics: twenty-three hypnotic minutes of gently percolating synthesizers overlaid with Schulze's intuitive brain- wave soloing. It might sound a little static at times, but the total effect is equally soothing and unsettling, with a subtle undercurrent of tension built into the ominous background radiation of quietly bubbly rhythms, slowly gaining momentum but never rising to the expected boil.

The flipside "Mental Door" was a different trip entirely, and the first attempt by KS to incorporate rock music dynamics into his usual outer-space explorations (his previous album "Blackdance" was likewise heavily rhythmic, but with a stark uniformity of performance suggesting a machine). "Mental Door" isn't entirely convincing, in retrospect. The opening atmospherics are compelling, but the track soon devolves into something entirely too earthbound, at least when compared to the uncanny vistas of his earlier "Irrlicht" or "Cyborg".

Give Schulze credit for trying to reconcile two very different musical traditions (modern rock and avant- garde electronics), and in a more challenging, improvisational manner than the supercharged pomp of an Emerson or Wakeman. But he would need a few more years of careful refinement (on the "Body Love" soundtracks, and his mammoth "X" double-disc) to finally resolve the issues raised here, notably the insecure noodling using what must have been a trendy synth-patch at the time, factory fresh in 1973 but turning to stale cheese shortly afterward.

Thankfully the 2005 Revisited Records CD edition balances the lopsided original LP by including an even longer alternate take of "Totem", bringing the album full circle but with slight variations (the mirror image of the epilogue is equally fascinating if a little less exquisite in reflection). The symmetry of the CD re-issue is appreciated. But in the end the album remains a lesser effort from a tireless pioneer, on the road to far greater things.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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