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Klaus Schulze - Beyond Recall CD (album) cover


Klaus Schulze


Progressive Electronic

3.09 | 40 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars The more modern works of genre-defining German electronic composer Klaus Schulze have been a bit of a mixed bag to discover. His 23rd solo release from 1991, `Beyond Recall', sees the artist incorporating modern techniques and equipment, delivering what frequently works as a satisfying, if occasionally frustrating chill-out ambient work. Only a few annoying samples incorporated in a seemingly random manner (although I'm sure all these were actually carefully implemeted by the artist at key points) prove to be a little distracting, as does an over-reliance on cliched tribal elements. Yet Mr Schulze still finds ways to bridge enough of his usual ambient sounds of old, those long flowing pieces that gradually unfold and envelope the listener, into this modern age, and there's some intriguing results to discover.

The focal point of the disc is the opening 27 minute `Gringo Nero', Schulze utilizing acoustic guitar samples to quite dazzling effect, bringing an almost old dusty western cinematic quality and taking on sweeping symphonic themes. Lightly pulsing programmed beats and gentle synths bring a flowing breezy New Age sound, with diverting tribal flavours in the middle and a couple of darker, more urgent passages as well. There's occasional interjections of screeching groaning animals, chanting, chirping wildlife and vocal snippets that intrude on the dramatic build growing throughout, and the piece would have been even more successful without them. Even better is the gloomy dark cinematic soundtrack `Trancess'. Gothic piano, oppressive monolithic cold synths, groaning cello samples, a ghostly operatic female vocal and a welcome (if brief) return of the eerie Mellotron. There's a malevolent, spectral quality to this nightmarish piece that makes it darkly exquisite.

The aptly titled `Brave Old Sequence' closely resembles the Schulze of old. A chiming programmed pattern skitters over an icy crystalline electronic atmosphere, murmuring bass seeping along the background and sighing synth harmonies inhaling and exhaling, reaching a breathless urgent climax. After opening with floating placid washes of keyboards and cascading cloudburst synths that fall like shooting stars from the night sky, the undemanding `The Big Fall' simply offers more tribal ambience. Predominately piano driven with soft pattering beats, even slightly jazzy, the piece is quite warm and comforting, but a little too lightweight and obvious to be truly engaging. Tribal elements again come to the fore throughout `Airlight', completely devoid of percussion or beats, instead being a collage of different themes with plenty of growing unsease. Melancholic cello samples and synths that rise around piano middle section take on an almost cooing female vocal quality are the highlight, but there's not much to lift it above being a mildly curious background listen.

Mr Schulze certainly tries new sounds on this one, moving with the times and still experimenting, but there are simply endless more involving and interesting albums from the artist that should be recommended over this one. It's certainly more demanding, complex and challenging than the bland muzak dreck that fellow electronic masters Tangerine Dream have sometimes offered in this modern era, but it's never completely engrossing or rewarding. While it's frequently subtle, some of the tribal elements get a little tedious in spots, meaning the 77 minute running time will really test patience levels. I think many listeners may find the album is to be admired rather than totally enjoyed.

`Beyond Recall' is definitely a respectable release from the electronic pioneer, but all but die-hard followers of the artist should try elsewhere in his extensive discography of more fully rewarding releases before looking into this one.

Still, three stars...and I have to admit, I am rather smitten with the charming peaceful cover artwork!

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 3/5 |


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