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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 - Dune [MIG Records - 2016]

Dune was the eleventh album from this respected German electronic composer, Berlin school pioneer and ambient/ Electronica innovator. The album originally appeared back in 1979, and here we have a 2016 CD reissue of the album on the MIG label.

Like the other releases in the labels reissues of Mr Schulze work the CD comes in a glossy four panel digipak. This  features the original albums artwork taking in a blurred figure standing against a blue background, with a large sun like shape in the foreground- this is apparently a picture  taken of TV screen showing a scene from  Andrei Tarkovsky  arty 70ís sci-fi movie Solaris . The release comes with a 16 page booklet with a mainly blue colour scheme to fitting in with the original cover- it takes in concert poster, and  pictures of Mr Schulze & his set-up, along with English & German texts talking about Mr Shulze's work in general & the  Dune album itís self.

As the albums title suggests the theme/concept behind this album is the Frank Herbertís 1960ís soft science fiction classic novel Dune- which tells of a feudal interstellar society, in which noble houses are in control of individual planets.

The original album took in two lengthy side long tracks- this reissue of course present those two original tracks, but you also get  third lengthy track from the same period giving the reissue a generous running time of just shy of 80 minutes.

Each of the two original tracks sees Schulze mixing together two key elements with his moody & often detailed synth/ electronic sound-scapes. And these are cello(courtesy of Wolfgang Teipold) , and spoken word/ vocals (courtesy of Arthur Brown).

The first track is the title track, and this open with an often angular, space-bound, and lose blend of random icy synth blips Ďní plops, moody synthetic choir rise, and the occasional abstract violin wail Ďní saw. At around the five & a half minute a more consistent eastern bound yet spacey synth pattern comes into play, and along with this we get less abstract cello sways & picks. By the 8th minute things have moved beyond the eerier, angular & abstract to the epic, as Schulze brings into play a shifting & dramatic blend of synth craft, with the cello picking out the more mysterious yet harmonic edges of the track. The shifting & ebbing layers of synth lush-ness feel like  the sands of Arrakis( the key desert planet in Dune), and the cello adds in a slight more forlorn & sad feel- both together they conjure up a truly epic feel- thatís somewhere between grand ambience, dramatic classical music, and hints at more nomadic & sad world music harmonies. Unlike many of Schulzeís longer works a beat structure never appears and this really helps to enhance the feeling of forlorn, wondering yet epic beauty of the track.

Next up we have "Shadows Of Ignorance", and once again this starts in loose & moody fashion blending together slow often angular string saws and strands of synth tone.
But with-in a few minutes things to firm up & become more solid, at we get a blend of pitter-patter electro beat, a pulsing synth line and the odd vocoder effected vocal. Over the top & high in the mix we get a selection of more urgent cello saw, plus more noise bound stretches & whines of synth & electronics. At around the 9th minute mark the Arthur Brown spoken word/ semi chanted vocals appear- these seem to be ponderings about the vast-ness of the universe, deserts, and existence. After this point the beat & pulsing synth backing seem to get more choppy & tight in their focus, as the other elements appear in sudden drifts, once again bringing  a desert like shifting sand feel- though where the first track was a more drifting trip in the sand, this track feels a lot more purposeful & pacey, as if one is travelling across the expanse of desert at some pace. The track certainly works well in context of the first track, itís just Iím not overly keen on Mr Brown vocals- they just seem overtly random & often aimless to my ears, which rather lessens the impact of the track. But I guess if you just take them as another instrument layer, and not take too much notice to what heís actually saying- they are not too bad, as they do drift in & out of the tracks flow.

The bonus track here is entitled ďLe MansĒ, and comes in at the twenty three minutes mark.  Following up from the last track this is mostly a fairly urgent & pacey- bringing together rapidly thrusting Ďní pulsing electro ethnic rhythm & synth element- this is topped with soloing like synth lines, which at point almost sound guitar like at times, at other quite noisy & seared. As extras goes itís ok, though it does seem to lack any real focus, feeling more like a jam than full formed track. Though in itís last quarter a more wishful & wavering snyth melody line is added, with the whole thing turning beat-less & dramatic in itís last minutes. And clearly this is a live recording, as we get applause as the track ends.


As 70ís Schulze albums go Dune is another creative & worthy venture- the title track is great & really captures the epic & alien desert feeling of Herbertís book. The second track certainly fits in & continues the story, I just wish there was more meaning/point to Mr Browns elements.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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