Klaus Schulze-Crime Of Suspense.

Label: MIG Music.

By 1998, fifty-one year old Berlin School pioneer Klaus Schulze had been making music for twenty-nine years, and had achieved more than most during a career that already spanned four decades. His career began in 1969 when he was the drummer in Psy Free, and met Edgar Froese in the Zodiac Club in Berlin, West Germany and was invited to join Tangerine Dream. Just a few months later in October 1969, Klaus Schulze was a member of Tangerine Dream when they recorded their debut album Electronic Meditation. The future Berlin School classic was released by Ohr Records in June 1970, but failed to find an audience. This was a huge disappointment for Tangerine Dream, whose career continued, but without Klaus Schulze.

He left Tangerine Dream to cofound Ash Ra Temple with Hartmut Enke and Manuel Göttsching, and the new group recorded their debut album on the ‘11th’ of March 1971.Three months later, and Ash Ra Temple, a future Krautrock classic was released by Ohr Records in June 1971. However, when it failed commercially this resulted in Klaus Schulze embarking upon a solo career.

Just over a year later in August 1972, Klaus Schulze released his debut album Irrlicht. Although it was a groundbreaking album, Irrlicht which is a now a Berlin School classic failed to find the audience it deserved.

History repeated itself when Klaus Schulze released his sophomore album Cyborg in October 1973. Just like Irrlicht, Cyborg was an innovative album, that was so far ahead of its time that critics and record buyers failed to recognise the importance of both albums. It was only somewhat belatedly that critics released that Irrlicht and Cyborg were both Berlin School classics

Following the release of Cyborg in October 1973, Klaus Schulze went on to work with the great and good of the Berlin School and Krautrock. Klaus Schulze also became one of the most prolific German artists of his generation and by 1998 he had released thirty-three solo albums, three box sets, six volumes of Dark Side Of The Moog and seven albums using his Richard Wahnfried moniker. Klaus Schulze was a prolific musician with an impressive and burgeoning discography, who was regarded  as one of the most inventive and innovative musicians in the history of modern German music. He had also inspired and influenced two generations of musicians, who like his legion of fans, held Klaus Schulze in the highest regard. They wondered what Klaus Schulze’s next project would be?

Often, Klaus Schulze worked on several projects simultaneously and still found time to work with other musicians. However, the project that Klaus Schulze was about to begin work on yet another ambitious project where he planned to record ten new albums over the next two years. These ten albums would become Contemporary Works I, which was housed in a wooden box and released by Rainhorse Records in 2000 as a limited edition of 1,000. 

When Contemporary Works I was released on the ‘30th’ of October 2000, the 1,000 box sets which were one of the most expensive box sets to be released at that time, soon sold out. Many Klaus Schulze who wanted a copy were unable to secure a copy of this latest limited edition box set, and were left disappointed. It was a similar case for many of Klaus Schulze’s longstanding fans who were unable to afford Contemporary Works I and were left disappointed, and some even disillusioned. This was the fourth expensive limited edition box set Klaus Schulze had released since 1993, including The Ultimate Edition a fifty disc box set released on the ‘1st’ of January 2000. That had also been the budget of many of Klaus Schulze’s fans. The best they could hope that some of the new albums would be reissued at a later date?

In the reviews of Contemporary Works I albums like Ballet and Crime Of Suspense were hailed as among the highlights of Contemporary Works I, and featured Klaus Schulze at his best. Many of his fans hoped that in the not too distant future, these albums would be reissued?

It took six long years before the Ballet 1, Ballet 2 and Crime Of Suspense were reissued in 2006, and belatedly, Klaus Schulze’s fans were able to discover what they had missed out on six years earlier. They agreed with critics who had lavished praise on Ballet 1, Ballet 2 and Crime Of Suspense. The three albums were among the best that Klaus Schulze had released over the past decade. He was still to doyen of the Berlin School of Electronic Music.

Fast forward eleven years to 2017, and Klaus Schulze was about to celebrate his seventieth birthday on the ‘4th’ of August 2017. He was about to release his forty-fourth album Eternal: The ‘70th’ Birthday Edition on the ‘25th’ of August 2017. This was just the latest addition to a discography that also featured twelve volumes of Dark Side Of The Moog, six box sets and  seven albums using his Richard Wahnfried alias. Then there were countless collaborations over the last five decades. As Klaus Schulze approached what was a landmark birthday, he was one of the most prolific and innovative musicians in modern German music. Meanwhile, MIG Music were in the middle of extensive reissue program of his back-catalogue. Among the albums that were reissued during 2017 were Ballet 1 and 2 and Ballet 3 and 4. What about Crime Of Suspense came the cry from his legion of fans? 

As 2017, gave way to 2018 there was still no sign of a reissue of Crime Of Suspense by MIG Music. This was disappointing for many of Klaus Schulze’s fans who wanted to rediscover or discover the delights of Crime Of Suspense. Fortunately, they were in for a pleasant surprise when MIG Music recently released Crime Of Suspense, complete with bonus tracks.

Klaus Schulze began recording the ten albums that featured in the Contemporary Works I box set in 1998, and after the best part of two years, Klaus Schulze was almost finished what had been another ambitious project. He had set out to record ten albums within the space of two years, and by early 2000 had almost achieved that goal. He had still to record Crime Of Suspense, where Klaus Schulze was joined by two familiar faces.

This included violinist, flautist and vocalist Thomas Kagelmann who was formerly a member of the folk-rock bands Fiedel Michel and Falckenstein in the seventies. More recently, Thomas Kagelmann, who was a versatile musician had worked with Klaus Schulze on a number of projects including the Ballet quartet. The other familiar face was Australian singer Julia Messenger, who Klaus Schulze had met via Cologne based DJ collective Solar Moon System. Julia Messenger had been their vocalist, and would go on to collaborate with on Vox’n’Harmony a track from Adds and Edits. They began work with Klaus Schulze, who put his banks of synths to good use on Crime Of Suspense.

Together, the three musicians entered the studio and recorded three lengthy soundscapes that became Crime Of Suspense. The trio’s musical pasts influence what’s a genre-melting album.

Crime Of Suspense opens with Good Old 4 On The Floor a twenty-four minute opus which incorporated elements of the Berlin School, electronica with modern dance music, and in particular house and techno.  Julia Messenger plays her part as her vocal veers between an ethereal, jazzy scat to needy and sensuous. Meanwhile the pulsating, mesmeric arrangement provides a moderne backdrop and shows that Klaus Schulze’s music is just as relevant as it had ever been. 

Straight away, there’s an Arabian sound to J.E.M. as a flute plays, and soon, Klaus Schulze deploys drums and a pulsating bass synth. Initially, the soundscape os understated with just drums pushed back in the mix. This allows the flute to take centre-stage before a pulsating bass synth is joined by drums, which sound as if they belong on a drum ’n’ bass album. Later when the drops out, the synths and drums take centre-stage before the flute returns and adds the Arabian influence to a track that not only seamlessly fuses musical genres, but combines musical cultures.

Closing Crime Of Suspense was Overchill, which is an ambitious thirty minute soundscape. Drums crack and combine with sci-fi synths, before washes of cinematic synths are added. They’re joined by Julia Messenger’s ethereal vocal, while sometimes, the drums have been inspired by drum ’n’ bass. What follows is a quite beautiful, dreamy and ethereal downtempo track. It’s Klaus Schulze’s finest moment on Crime Of Suspense.

As an added bonus, MIG Music’s reissue of Crime Of Suspense also features two bonus tracks Ruins and Castles. They’re a welcome addition to the reissue and will be of interest to those who have followed Klaus Schulze’s career since the early days, when he released debut album Irrlicht in 1972 and the followup Cyborg in 1973. Both albums were Berlin School classics, and showcased a groundbreaking musician who would go on to become one of legends and leading lights of modern German music.

Forty-five years later, and much of Klaus Schulze’s music has a timeless quality. This includes albums like Irrlicht,  Cyborg,  Blackdance, Picture Music, Timewind, Mirage, and later, the Ballet quartet and Crime Of Suspense. It was an ambitious genre-melting album which was recorded and released in 2000 by Klaus Schulze who was a still a musical pioneer who pushed musical boundaries to their limits he combined disparate musical genres.

That was the case on Crime Of Suspense where Klaus Schulze with the help of Thomas Kagelmann and Julia Messenger combined elements of his musical past with contemporary dance music. Klaus Schulze combined elements of the Berlin School, with ambient drum ’n’ bass, electronica, house, Krautrock and techno. The result was an album that showed that although it was recorded in 2000, has a polished, timeless and innovative sounding and is still relevant today. 

That is no surprise, as Klaus Schulze is a musical pioneer who at the age of seventy is preparing to release a new album. It’s sure to be a welcome addition to his impressive and eclectic back-catalogue. It documents the career of Klaus Schulze the musical chameleon who throughout a long and illustrious career, continued to reinvent his music to ensure it remains relevant. That was the case on Crime Of Suspense which was recorded and released as part of the Contemporary Works I box set. Along with the Ballet quartet, Crime Of Suspense was one of the highlights of the Contemporary Works I box set, which is a reminder of a musical pioneer as he entered the fifth decade of a career, and continued to influence and inspire a new generation of musicians who even today cite Klaus Schulze as a major influence.

Klaus Schulze-Crime Of Suspense.

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