Klaus Schulze finds cosmic beauty in sci-fi-inspired Deus Arrakis

Deus Arrakis unexpectedly became a posthumous album following the death of Klaus Schulze in April, only a few weeks before that of another notable figure in European electronic music, Vangelis. Its three long instrumentals are a masterclass in old-school cosmic music, full of flashing lights and slowly oscillating drones – a journey into the afterlife piloted by Schulze on the keyboards of the set of analog synthesizers he kept at home. him in Germany.

Emerging from the Berlin underground rock scene in the late 1960s, Schulze was part of the generation of German musicians who pioneered ambient music. He was originally a drummer in bands including Tangerine Dream before going it alone in 1972. Irrlicht. He went on to make numerous solo albums, including film soundtracks, but never to the level of Hollywood success of Vangelis.

Deus Arrakis rekindles Schulze’s interest in Frank Herbert Dunes science fiction novels. In 1979 he released an album bearing their name, while the previous year he recorded a track called “Frank Herbert”. It has a catchy electronic bass line that Hans Zimmer borrowed, with the cooperation of Schulze, for his score of the recent film adaptation of Dunes. The experience inspired Schulze to create the three epic tracks of Deus Arrakiswhich last about 80 minutes in total.

The first, “Osiris”, has a sweet echo of “Frank Herbert’s” bass line embedded in it. It pulsates gently in the middle of inflated synth chords, like a signal dragging us into space. “Seth” opens with the unsettling sound of static interference, which resolves into a beautiful ambient melody. A cello part emerges later, played by frequent collaborator Wolfgang Tiepold. His elongated drones complement those of Schulze’s electronic equipment. The ending has the mystical quality of the Indian raga.

“Der Hauch des Lebens”, which translates to “the breath of life”, is the final track. Crafted as Schulze was nearing the last breaths of his own life – he was 74 when he died, after suffering from kidney disease for a few years – it features a classic 1970s cosmic melody that spins like a planet in motion eternal. It is a moving testimony to a pioneering era for electronic music, the breath of life for future generations of musicians.

★★★★☆

Deus Arrakis‘ is published by SPV

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