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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Klaus Schulze - Moondawn [MIG - 2016]

Moondawn was the sixth album from German electronic music composer and musician Klaus Schulze. It originally appeared back in 1976, and saw him fully embracing the Berlin School side of his sound. The album is justifiable seen as one of his classic creation, going onto influence future ambient, electronica, and trance music. Here we have a 2016 CD reissue of the album, which reprints the reissuing pressing from 2006.

The release appears on the MIG label- coming in rather classy looking brown digipak , that takes in pictures Mr Shulze & his impressive equipment set-up. It also comes with a 16 page booklet- this takes in more groovy pictures of himself & his set-up, along with English & German texts talking about Mr Shulze work in general & the album it’s self.

For the album sees Shulze plays a mix of the following- – Moog, ARP 2600, ARP Odyssey, EMS Synthi-A, Farfisa Syntorchestra, Crumar keyboards, Sequenzer Synthanorma 3-12. With live drums from Harald Grosskopf.

The original album featured just two lengthy twenty five minute plus tracks- one on each side of original vinyl. This reissue of course features the original two tracks, but adds in an un-released twenty one minute track.

Staring  the album we the track "Floating". This opens in a fairly mysterious & lose manner- with a heady sonic haze  of sparking & simmering electronics- this topped with  a ominous male voice intoning the  Arabic version of the lords prayer. As the minutes tick by Shulze skilful adds on the more layers of synth tone- blending together the original sparking & simmering free fall elements, with more sustained & atmospheric sweeps of harmonic synth banks. At around the 7th minute the drums come into play- this causes the whole thing to become a lot more defined & urgent in it’s feel- with building layers of chopping & pulsing synth patters. These are shifting over by a blends of both more abstract 'n' noise bound synth-craft, & a more melodic  additions which follow the main themes of the track.

Next up we have "Mindphasers", and this opens with the soothing yet moody sound of water on the shoreline. Fairly soon the first layer of synth craft comes in, and it’s a slowly climbing blend of majestic yet sad melody- which has quite a cinematic feel to it, bringing to my mind the slower/ more moody soundtrack work of Popol Vuh. Until around the five minute mark we get a blend of the climbing layers of sad synth work, and the back drop of less constant sea crashing against the shore. After this point we get the return of the sparking/ shimmering elements from the first track, and with this the pace quickens slightly become more defined in its moody synth string sweeps. Also as times ticks on Shulze adds in spacey-moody-to- noise synth layer detail.  At the 12 minute the drums kick-in, and with this we get a more urgent organ like synth layer coming to the front of the mix, and along with this we get great texture synth & electronic detail- such as simmering sweeps, frying like pinchers, and higher pitched twists. From this point on the track wonderfully builds & builds with the whole taking on a very frantic & frenzied  jam-out feel….with it only dropping back both the drums & the more urgent elements in the last minute to return to the vibe of the start of the track.

The bonus track is entitled “Floating Sequence”-this comes in at just over the twenty one minute mark, and as it titles suggests it links back to the original "Floating" track.  It’s basically the more chopping & pulsing elements of the track expanded a bit more- on the whole it’s worthy enough, and really now works as a nice return to the original tracks themes, plus you get some great more frying,  chopping & electro sparking textures from the EMS Synthi, which of course Japanese noise legend  Merzbow has used on some of his more celebrated  psychedelic-noise albums like 1997’s Space Metalizer.

Really if you have any interest in electronic music of any form this is a vital & must have release. As reissues go this isn’t too fancy or overtly luxurious, but it’s nicely presented in it’s minimal digipak…so if don’t already have, or need a upgrade this really is a no-brainer.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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