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Klauz Schulze-Irrlicht ALBUM REVIEW

Written Before Listen

First off, Rest In Peace Klauz Schulze. As a synth nerd like myself, I think that it is a must to finally get a glimpse of this pioneer’s catalog with one of his most celebrated albums, Irrlicht. I’ve personally enjoyed the likes of Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Jean Michel Jarre as well as OPN, so I thought that I would enjoy this. Without further ado let’s get into it.

A Little Bit Of Actual History

Germany. The history of Germany is very complicating and also very controversial. Martin Luther’s Protestant creation, Napoleon's losing record, The Third Reich as well as the Berlin Wall were a footprint on the German legacy. Surely Germany had important people in its history like Beethoven, The Brothers Grimm as well as Albert Einstein, but Germany was never one to look back fondly at. Post-War Germany wasn’t a good look for them. No matter what region of Germany it was, It was still Germany. In the music scene, Germany still didn’t have that much of a buzz in the 60s and 70s, but what they did was try to avoid any conventions of German music. They took influence from American and British music but the catch is that they tried to separate themselves from that as well. On the other side of things, classical music still had its legacy in Germany, so that’s what made the rise of electronics so important to not only Germany’s music scene but the entire music scene.

The Rise of Electronic Music

Electronic music was one of the enigmas of music for ages. We knew about electricity and we knew that guitars could be electrically powered so there was an absolute answer on whether or not electronic music is possible. There was, but since tape and a live recording were all that we had, the first instances of electronic music consisted of avant-garde and abstract compositions from composers coming from a classical background. It wasn’t until The Silver Apples took electronic elements into their unique brand of psychedelic rock in 1968 that the potential of electronics could be done in a boundary-pushing fashion. Terry Riley then came and took the influence of avant-garde electronic music and put it into a more classical aspect. The country of Germany then took rights into its own hands. We had Cluster, we had Tangerine Dream, we had NEU! And Kraftwerk but one of the first to do it was…Klauz Schulze. This album right here was a big step in the exploration of electronic music.

Track 1 (Level)

As the introduction to this album, it takes some time to get into it. We then get introduced to mellotrons, organs, and synthesizers. One thing that could be said is that this really could be a soundtrack to what was considered the mystery of space. The first moon landing happened 3 years before this and we got a glimpse of how space was, but we now know the look of space. We are brought with suspenseful chords, euphoric layers, and no melody. It’s somewhat droney. I will say right now, there is nothing ear-grabbing or hooky. No motif, no dynamic switch, and nothing that sticks out, and this track goes on for 23 minutes, but I love it. I’m a huge fan of music that makes me think, but most importantly, I’m super intrigued by the synthesizing exploration and the early 70s are some of my favorite instances of this. This was the time of Pink Floyd and Roxy Music so having people slightly before they explore this idea is super fascinating to me. Some of my favorite moments in rock songs are when synthesizers play a pivotal role in the atmosphere. Having just that synthesized moment gets the creative motivation going.

Track 2 (Thunderstorm)

I kind of see this track as a transition point. This is what branches the electronic ideas into the following long block. Being a short length of 5 minutes, It’s meditative and easy to listen to, but I don't think it's supposed to represent significance in comparison to the tracks surrounding it.

Track 3 (Exile Sils Maria)

The title Irrlicht translates to “will-o-wisp” which is the idea of something being reached but that thing is humanly impossible. I feel like this represents the mystery that represents space. It’s eerie, suspenseful, atonal, and yet hopeful. It gently climbs back into the synth ideas that the opening track had. It ends in a way that an album like this should. It’s instrumental, but I feel like there was a story being told. I think the world of this music took inspiration from classical music and most classical music told a story or musical concept, and I think Klauz Schulze put his spin on it.


This album was one that I’ll keep on listening to because I do love this type of music. It’s music for space and it’s aged pretty well if you ask me. I honestly loved it, I don’t know if you’ll love it as much as me but if you’re into spacy electronics and ethereal soundscapes, this is the way to go. Rest In Peace to a legend



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