Klaus Schulze - Inter*Face [MIG Records - 2015]Inter*Face, the eighteenth album from this German electronic legend appeared slap-bang in the middle of 1980’s. And it shows Mr Schulze trying to mix his trademark synth sound with more 80’s bound elements, such as New wave beats, instrumental synth pop, and more dance bound rhythms- it’s fair to say it’s somewhat of a hit & miss affair.
Here we have 2016 CD reissues of the label on the MIG label- package wise it follows on from the lables other Schulze reissues, taking in a glossy three-panel digipak. We also get a 12-page booklet, and this features both German & English texts about Mr. Shulze’s career in general, plus interview write-ups focusing in on this album. In the booklet, you also get a selection of pictures from the period- both taking in studio & live shots.
The albums opens with the just under minutes of "On The Edge". And this is best described as a sleek-slightly moody mix of pumping synth bass & chopping light 80’s dance beats- with some easy-listening touches like lines of chiming synth bells & the occasional electric piano solos. It’s ok as 80’s electronica goes, but doesn’t really have much of an identity.
The second track “Colour Is Darkness”, and this is a good improvement on the opener. The nearing nine & a half minute opens with a mix of tight throbbing electro beats, slight malevolent & off angle synth strings, & the occasional shimmers of icy tone hits. As it reaches its mid way point the strings feel more harmonic( though still off), and a pumping synth line is moving & driving the thing forward- though fairly soon the more angular moments, and shattering icy hits reappear again.
Track three comes in the form of "The Beat Planante", and sadly this seven & half minute track really returns to the rather bland 80’s electronica-meets easy-listening feel of the opener. It features a locked & simple clip-clop rhythm, with a selection of sweeping harmonic synth strings, with marching keyboards lines on top. It almost feels like an 80’s parody in its often sleek blandness, and while it didn’t do much for me- I could see it appealing to fans of retro musak & vaporwave.
Next, we have the albums title track, this is a more epic twenty-four minute affair, and it’s really the main attraction on the album. It all starts in fairly noisy-yet-mysterious fashion with a selection of boiling, searing, and sputtering elector textures- underneath these are a constant & brightly weave of keyboard notation. At around the third minute the noise bound elements to pan back, and we’re left with a selection of shifting synth layers- we have buoyant & bright note weaves, thicker & slower almost spacey slurred organ tones, and this oriental sounding tighter selection of keys. At the seven minute mark a moody ‘n’ marching tick-tock rhythm comes into play, and slowly but surely Schulze builds both the layers & atmosphere of the track up & up. With these the more oriental melodies come into play, and these are joined by prime spacey synth textures, as well as later great dramatic timpani like percussive rolls. With out a doubt this track is the highlight here, and at it shows Mr. Schulze at the height of his powers.
As we’ve come to expect with these MIG reissues we get some nice juicy bonus material- and on this reissue, we get two tracks, which each have running times around twelve minutes, so the whole CD has a total runtime of just over seventy-five minutes. The first track is entitled “The Real Colours In The Darkness”- the piece opens up with a stretched out & stream like hissings- this is met by a selection of sparkling and grating tones. By the minute & a half mark, things have settled somewhat & we get a mix of mournful & emotional synth strings, and once again these have a semi sort of oriental feel to them. The track remains beat-less throughout, and it’s very much an exercise in sentimental, though effective synth scaping.
The final bonus track is "Nichtarishe Aris", and this is an urgent, more agitated slice of 80’s electronica. It’s opens around a tight & quite noisy mix of pulsing ‘n’ darting electro percussion, banks of throbbing synth craft, a rising harmonic keyboard line, and what sounds like synth guitar texturing. And later on, we get some nice almost futuristic tribal breakdowns, as well as some unusual sort of sing-song vocals. It’s a great & dramatic slice of 80’s electronica, and it’s a pity more of this spirit & punch was not found on the early tracks on the album.
So, in conclusion, Inter*Face rather lacks the originality, consistency, and over all flair of Mr. Schulze key 1970’s albums. But there are moments of greatness here, and the title track, as well as the two bonus tracks, make this worth picking up.Roger Batty