Tag: Klaus Schulze (Page 1 of 2)

Lost Albums: JYL Jyl

After decades of composing lengthy synth symphonies, there must have been times when Jean-Michel Jarre must have just wanted to do a four minute pop tune. The France maestro managed this in a quirky collaboration with Cyndi Lauper on ‘Swipe To The Right’ in 2016.

But before that there was Peter Baumann producing a whole long player for Leda in 1978 while a few years later in 1984, another former TANGERINE DREAM member and fellow Berlin School legend Klaus Schulze did a co-production for the only album by Jyl, released on his label Inteam GmbH.

With Donna Summer teaming up with Giorgio Moroder on ‘I Feel Love’ in 1977, a new trend was set to accompany female vocalists with artful electronics. While Peter Baumann’s production ‘Welcome To Joyland’ for Leda saw him conflicted about the more commercial ethos of the concept, Gina Kikoine and Zeus B Held had a colder vision and achieved acclaim for their first album ‘Nice Mover’ as GINA X PERFORMANCE.

The vehicle of American avant-songstress Jyl Porch who wrote the majority of the lyrics to nine of the self-titled album’s songs, the music was composed and arranged by Ingo Werner who had been a member of cult German band MY SOLID GROUND before fronting his own project BABA YAGA; his wife Angela, a Neue Deutsche Welle artist in her own right, provided lyrics to two songs and backing vocals.

Born in California, Jyl Porch went to Europe to work as a dancer and model, before ending up in Germany. Here she was introduced to Ingo Werner who was looking for a performance artist to collaborate with on some electronic compositions he was developing. Recorded over a period of about 5 years, Jyl saw lyrics as pictures which suited the predominantly electronic backdrop, creating a character for each song.

The opener ‘Mechanic Ballerina’’ featured glassy PPG textures and a scary gothic male choir while a nonchalant spoken lead vocal came in the verses; there was drama and even a salvo of rock guitar from Leo Leonhardt of JOST BAND. A sexy love song in outer space, ‘Universe’ took on an ominous funereal pace with deep and kooky Lene Lovich stylings in the chorus that captured a Fantasia presence.

Chugging along with something of a disco military march and not a KRAFTWERK cover, ‘Computer Love’ saw Jyl playing the part of an operatic robot programmed to please and with Gallic expression from Helene Vernant, it was one of the album’s highlights. The playful ‘Position’ was shaped by pretty pulses and appealing sweeps for a wonderfully saucy spoken and sung number on carnal preferences, although its actual lyrical gist was of fighting patriarchy and breaking with traditions

Hopping over to 6/8 with figures reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Ivory Tower’ including Euro-rock interventions from noted studio engineer Frank Wolf’s guitar, the Anglo-French ‘Dance & Death’ naturally provided sinister yet seductive contrasts.

Back onto technological themes and digital chimes, ‘Computer Generation’ was pacier and percussive with delightful varispeeded voices; predicting today’s world with ”we are the computer generation – time time time – new technology – hit hit hit -high activity -s um sum sum – computer memory – trigger trigger trigger- machine authority”, it was ahead of its time.

With a pulsing synthbass as its backbone, ‘Animation’ was shrouded in a Trans-Atlantic rock flavour despite being all electronic with musical pointers to WHITE DOOR who issued their debut ‘Windows’ album the year before. Meanwhile with the spectre of Gina Kikoine looming, the spacey influence of the New York electro scene was clearly behind ‘Silicon Valley’ although the mighty synth solo would have appealed to old school Berliners; Jyl proclaimed “A brand new world future age in the heart of the valley” but countered about its “future rage”.

Continuing the New York influence with synthetic claps and Christoph Haberer’s timbale rolls thrown into the bargain, the female empowering ‘Electric Lady’ saw our heroine declaring “I’ll ride your rocket”; quite art school in its approach with an unusual beat, however it appeared that things were running out of steam as it did not hit the heights of the rest of the album. Closing the album and more new wave than electronic, guitars were the dominant feature on ‘I’m A Machine’ along with drowning vocals; undoubtedly the outlier on the record, it was result of a jam at the end of the recording sessions.

Despite its Klaus Schulze credentials, ‘Jyl’ did not capture the public imagination when released but over the years, the recorded has become something of a lost classic with its prophetic themes adding to its legend. ‘Jyl’ was remastered and reissued in 2020 by Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave Records and now being enjoyed by electronic music enthusiasts who were not aware of it previously. Ahead of its time, it can now been seen as yesterday’s tomorrow coming true.

Klaus Schulze would undertake further adventures in pop, working with ALPHAVILLE on a 1988 remix of ‘Big In Japan’ before producing their 1989 album ‘The Breathtaking Blue’. Meanwhile the classically schooled Ingo Werner would venture into classical electronic, new-age and soundtrack music.

Jyl Porch would co-write and provide vocal contributions on the Angela Werner tracks ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Gotta Little Love’ also from 1984. While she would not make another record of her own, she did make an eventual impact amongst the electronic cognoscenti with her enchanting collection of futuristic songs.

‘Jyl’ is available via Minimal Wave Records as a vinyl LP with 12 page booklet insert from https://minimalwave.com/releases/release/jyl/ or https://jyl-jyl.bandcamp.com/album/jyl


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Jeff DeCuir
24 April 2024


While 1979 saw a post-punk revolution with new wave and ska emerge as energetic expressions of youth with the likes of JOY DIVISION, XTC, THE SPECIALS and MADNESS, maturer acts with power pop sensibilities such as BLONDIE and THE POLICE dominated the UK charts.

But the synthesizer had become a new tool of creativity for those who weren’t interested in learning chords on a guitar and preferred to use one finger, thanks to its new found affordability with refined technology from Japan. While electronics had been present in disco, progressive rock and esoteric avant garde forms, following seminal records in 1978 such as ‘Warm Leatherette’ b/w ‘TVOD’ by THE NORMAL and ‘Being Boiled’ by THE HUMAN LEAGUE, a new DIY artpop form was developing that would eventually take on KRAFTWERK at their own game.

Among those fledgling electronic acts who released their debut singles in 1979 on independent labels were OMD with ‘Electricity’ on Factory Records and FAD GADGET with ‘Back To Nature’ on Mute Records. Meanwhile on another independent Rough Trade, CABARET VOLTAIRE achieved a wider breakthrough with ‘Nag Nag Nag’, the standalone single accompanying their first album ‘Mix-Up’.

Having experimented with synths on ‘Low’ released in 1977, David Bowie had gone to see THE HUMAN LEAGUE at The Nashville in late 1978 and hailed them as “the future of rock ‘n’ roll”. Alas it was TUBEWAY ARMY fronted by Gary Numan who beat THE HUMAN LEAGUE to the top of the UK singles charts in Summer 1979 with Are Friends Electric?’. However, just a few weeks earlier, SPARKS had taken the Giorgio Moroder produced ‘No1 Song In Heaven’ into the UK Top20. But however history is perceived, a revolution had begun that would lead to the dawn of “synthpop” in 1980.

Here are 20 albums which ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK sees as contributing to the electronic legacy of 1979. They are listed in alphabetical order with a restriction of one album per artist moniker, meaning Gary Numan and Edgar Froese appear twice…

ASHRA Correlations

As ASHRA, Manuel Göttsching released what many consider to be his first ambient masterpiece ‘New Age Of Earth’. On 1978’s ‘Blackouts’, he expanded the line-up to include drumming synthesist Harald Grosskopf and guitarist Lutz Ulbrich which continued on ‘Correlations’. Despite being more rock-oriented, it featured sequenced electronics with ‘Club Cannibal’ almost entering Jean-Michel Jarre territory.

‘Correlations’ is still available via Spalax Music


PETER BAUMANN Trans Harmonic Nights

Although he had released ‘Romance ‘76’ while still a member of TANGERINE DREAM, Peter Baumann’s first solo album after departing the band was something of an interim record before venturing into electronic pop with ‘Repeat Repeat’. Mostly shorter instrumental compositions using mysterious melodies and occasional vocoder textures, ‘Trans Harmonic Nights’ remains something of an underrated electronic gem.

‘Trans Harmonic Nights’ is still available via Cherry Red Records



With TANGERINE DREAM taking a misstep with ‘Cyclone’ and perhaps prompted by the success of Jean-Michel Jarre’s electronic symphonies, on his fifth solo album ‘Stuntman’, Edgar Froese was at his most accessible with strong synth melodies, particularly on the title track. Elsewhere, new ages resonances were starting to develop while on ‘Drunk Mozart In The Desert’, there was atmospherics coupled with a rhythmic bounce.

‘Stuntman’ is still available via Virgin Records



Produced and co-written by Zeus B Held, the debut album by androgynous art history student Gina Kikoine featured an array of ARP and Moog synths to signal the birth of a new European Underground. Cult club favourite ‘No GDM’ was written in honour of the “great dark man” Quentin Crisp while other highlights included the detached vocoder assisted robotic soul of the title song and the feisty gender statement ‘Be A Boy’.

Available on the album ‘Nice Mover + Voyeur’ via Les Disques du Crepuscule



With Giorgio Moroder acquiring Roland’s new System 700 and an MC8 Micro-composer to control it, ‘E=MC2’ was touted as the first “electronic live-to-digital” album. This allowed for an uptempo funkiness previously unheard on sequencer based music to come into play. With the electronically treated vocals and euphoric energy of the marvellous ‘What A Night’, the sound of DAFT PUNK was inadvertently being invented!

‘E=MC²’ is still available via Repertoire Records


STEVE HILLAGE Rainbow Dome Musick

As a member of GONG and solo artist, Steve Hillage had a love of German experimental music and ventured into ambient with long standing partner Miquette Giraudy. Recorded for the Rainbow Dome at the ‘Festival For Mind-Body-Spirit’ at London’s Olympia, these two lengthy Moog and ARP assisted tracks each had a beautifully spacey vibe to induce total relaxation with a colourful sound spectrum.

‘Rainbow Dome Musick’ is still available via Virgin Records



With a manifesto of “synthesizers and vocals only”, the debut album by THE HUMAN LEAGUE included ‘Empire State Human’, ‘Circus Of Death’, ‘Almost Medieval’, ‘Blind Youth’ and a stark cover of ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’. Produced by Colin Thurston, while ‘Reproduction’ was not a commercial success, Philip Oakey, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware gained valuable experience that would progress their careers.

‘Reproduction’ is still available via Virgin Records


JAPAN Quiet Life

Although considered a 1980 album, the third JAPAN long player was actually released late 1979 in Japan, Canada, Holland and Germany. Featuring the sequencer-driven title song as well as the rockier ‘Halloween’ and a cover of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND’s ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’, despite Roxy rip-off accusations, it was a major artistic step forward as a quality timeless work embracing synths, muzak and orchestrations.

‘Quiet Life’ is still available via BMG


GARY NUMAN The Pleasure Principle

Devoid of guitar but using a flesh-and-blood rhythm section, Gary Numan realised his dream of producing a new form, machine rock. Synths were fed through guitar effects pedals to add a more sinister metallic tone and while there was sombre isolation communicated on all the songs, there was a catchy melodic sensibility to songs such as ‘Cars’, ‘Metal’, ‘Films’, ‘Engineers’ and ‘M.E.’ which turned Numan into the first synthesizer pop star.

‘The Pleasure Principle’ is still available via Beggars Banquet



Originally released on THROBBING GRISTLE’s Industrial Records, ‘The Bridge’ album saw Scottish duo Thomas Leer and Robert Rental trading vocal and instrumental duties using early affordable synths such as the EDP Wasp. Comprising of a side of five songs and a side with four ambient instrumentals, ‘Day Breaks, Night Heals’ and ‘Monochrome Days’ both showcased an avant pop sensibility. Robert Rental sadly passed away in 2000.

‘The Bridge’ is still available via Mute Artists


ROEDELIUS Selbstportrait

Best known as a member of CLUSTER with the late Dieter Moebius and working with Brian Eno on two albums, ‘Selbstportrait’ was Hans-Joachim Roedelius’ third solo long player. This was a “self-portrait” reflecting the gentle introspective ambience of the record. Something of a sister record to the 1977’s marvellous ‘Sowiesoso’, it was more accessible than CLUSTER’s own structurally minimal ‘Grosses Wasser’ also issued in 1979.

‘Selbstportrait’ is still available via Bureau B



After the ambitious double opus ‘X’ which also incorporated strings in a record comprising of “Six Musical Biographies” in honour of figures including philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and ‘Dune’ author Frank Herbert, Klaus Schulze conceived an actual album called ‘Dune’. Something of a diversion, ‘Shadows of Ignorance’ featured the eccentric poetry of Arthur Brown while the experimental ambient title track made use of cello.

‘Dune’ is still available via Bureau B


SIMPLE MINDS Real To Real Cacophony

Stronger than their debut LP ‘Life In A Day’, SIMPLE MINDS started experimenting with more electronics and a very European austere on its swift follow-up ‘Real To Real Cacophony’ with the title song presenting their take on KRAFTWERK’s ‘Radio-Activity’. Underground and pulsating through on ‘Changeling’, that breakthrough single and ‘Premonition’ really were a sign of things to come in their dark avant disco templates.

‘Real To Real Cacophony’ is still available via Virgin Records


SPARKS No1 In Heaven

Following the inspirational success of ‘I Feel Love’, SPARKS were put in contact with its producer Giorgio Moroder who had aspirations to work with a band. The resultant album saw Russell Mael’s flamboyant falsetto fitting well with the pulsing electronic disco template. ‘The No1 Song In Heaven’ hit the UK Top 20 a few months before ‘Are Friends Electric?’ while the follow-up ‘Beat The Clock’ got into the Top 10.

‘No1 In Heaven’ is still available via Lil Beethoven Records



Still feeling the void left by the departure of Pete Baumann, following the vocal experiment of ‘Cyclone’, Edgar Froese and Christopher Franke opted to retain drummer in Klaus Krüger. While there was also increased guitar and piano usage, the title song and ‘Thru Metamorphic Rocks’ utilised pulsing sequencer passages to signal the future Hollywood direction that TANGERINE DREAM would head in.

‘Force Majeure’ is still available via Virgin Records


TELEX Looking For Saint Tropez

The ethos of Belgian trio TELEX was “making something really European, different from rock, without guitar”. ‘Looking For Saint Tropez’ contained ‘Moscow Diskow’ which took the Trans-Siberian Express to Moscow by adding a funkier groove. Also included were funereal robotic covers of ‘Rock Around The Clock’ which was a UK Top40 hit and Plastic Bertrand’s ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’ as well as their deadpan debut single ‘Twist A Saint Tropez’.

‘Looking For Saint Tropez’ is still available via Mute Artists



The title and the group photo on Beachy Head were tongue-in-cheek statements but THROBBING GRISTLE were still deathly uncompromising as shown by ‘Persuasion’. However, there were glints of light with the glorious cascading instrumental ‘Walkabout’ and mutant disco lento of ‘Hot On The Heels Of Love’ as Cosey Fanni Tutti’s whispered vocals competed with synthetic whip-crack and drill noises!

‘20 Jazz Funk Greats’ is still available via Mute Artists



Whereas the TUBEWAY ARMY debut featured punk tunes with added synth, ‘Replicas’ would see the Philip K Dick inspired dystopian vision of Gary Numan paired with appropriate electronic sounds as the main melodic component on the now classic UK No1 ‘Are Friends Electric?’. But the earlier singles ‘Down In The Park’ and the lengthy instrumental ‘I Nearly Married A Human’ pointed to a future guitar-free follow-up.

‘Replicas’ is still available via Beggars Banquet



Although VANGELIS had never been to China at the time the album was recorded, he had developed a passionate fascination for its people, culture and vast landscape, noting a connection between ethnic Greek and Chinese music. Using traditional elements alongside his synthesizers, the centrepieces were the majestic ‘Chung Kuo’ and the meditative pentatonic piece ‘The Tao Of Love’. ‘China’ remains an underrated record in his canon.

‘China’ is still available via Universal Music



The second and best YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album featured an embarrassment of riches.  It included the glorious Technopop of ‘Rydeen’, the mighty citypop of ‘Technopolis’, the moodier ‘Castalia’ and the Cossack romp of ‘Absolute Ego Dance’.  But it was the iconic ‘Behind The Mask’ originally composed for Seiko which was later covered by Greg Phillinganes, Eric Clapton and Michael Jackson.

‘Solid State Survivor’ is still available via Sony Music Direct


Text by Chi Ming Lai
1 January 2024


Photo by Tapio Normall

It was hoped to be a year of positive electricity but with the oddball burst of negative waves, 2022 was summed up by the title of its best album.

The product of Finnish duo SIN COS TAN, ‘Living In Fear’ captured the anxieties of living with The Bear Next Door in a post-pandemic world. With billionaires taking over social media with the intent of allowing the extreme right wing an increased voice, it was as if the lessons of Trump and Bolsonaro had not been learned.

‘The Wolves Are Returning’ warned xPROPAGANDA on a track from their excellent album ‘The Heart Is Strange’, the message coming from two Germans whose grandparents’ generation “did nothing” and had made the mistake of opening up the door to the Nazis was extremely poignant.

It was as if The Cold War had never ended; the poetry of one who has escaped ethnic genocide and been separated from next of kin as a refugee has substance. So for Alanas Chosnau on his second album with Mark Reeder, this was ‘Life Everywhere’ and provided a deeper statement on life during wartime. Meanwhile China’s STOLEN presented their ‘Eroded Creation’ and explained ‘Why We Follow’.

Battles both worldwide and personal were being reflected in music everywhere with ‘War’ by I SPEAK MACHINE being another example. Things did not get much cheerier with Rodney Cromwell whose long-awaited second long player ‘Memory Box’ provided commentary on a sadly post-truth world, the so-called “alternative facts” as Donald Trump’s extremely dim advisor Kellyanne Conway liked to put it.

The decade so far has not been a barrel of laughs and the likes of UNIFY SEPARATE, BOY HARSHER, O+HER, NNHMN, VANDAL MOON and ADULT. captured the zeitgeist of the past 3 years.

Meanwhile, MECHA MAIKO maintained it was still ‘NOT OK’, I AM SNOW ANGEL felt it was now a ‘Lost World’ and Swedish duo SALLY SHAPIRO made their comeback by reflecting on ‘Sad Cities’.

As sardonic as ever, DUBSTAR presented their second collection of kitchen sink dramas since they reconfigured as a duo with ‘Two’ and reunited with producer Stephen Hague for their most acclaimed record since their 1995 debut ‘Disgraceful’.

On a more optimistic note, Italians Do It Better brought their cinematic world to London with headline shows by DESIRE and MOTHERMARY who each had new long form releases to air, while shyness was nice for the most promising breakthrough act of the year Gemma Cullingford who got all ‘Tongue Tied’ on her second long player. Meanwhile DAWN TO DAWN, ULTRAFLEX and H/P offered electronically escapist solutions to the year,

But KID MOXIE was happy to ‘Shine’ with the best video of 2022 while CZARINA got mystical with ‘Arcana’, Karin Park looked back at her ‘Private Collection’ and Patricia Wolf explored ambience on ‘See-Through’. Other female talent that shone brightly in 2022 included Norway’s SEA CHANGE, Sweden’s Hanna Rua, Alina Valentina from The Netherlands, Mexican Valentina Moretti and Anglo-French avant songstress Julia-Sophie but sister / brother duos MINIMAL SCHLAGER and SPRAY proved siblings could continue to work well together in synth.

40 years after the release of their debut album ‘Happy Families’, BLANCMANGE returned home to London Records for a ‘Private View’ while mainman Neil Arthur was keeping himself busy with FADER too. Having being shelved for 30 years, the second ELECTRIBE 101 album ‘Electribal Soul’ finally saw the light of day. And some 39 years after it was first conceived, the lost Warren Cann and Hans Zimmer opus ‘Spies’ was released in a new 21st Century recording by the HELDEN Project’s lead vocalist Zaine Griff.

Although PET SHOP BOYS celebrated their career with the magnificent ‘Dreamworld’ tour for the best live event of 2022 and joined SOFT CELL in the ‘Purple Zone’, Marc Almond and David Ball presented the disclaimer ‘*Happiness Not Included’ before announcing that they would be performing at a run of outdoor events in 2023 despite having stated their 2018 O2 extravaganza would be their last.

Also having declared a final album in 2014, RÖYKSOPP returned with the triple volumed ‘Profound Mysteries’ that featured Susanne Sundfør and Alison Goldfrapp.

Veterans Howard Jones, William Orbit, Jean-Michel Jarre and Wolfgang Flür as well as long-standing Nordic combos LUSTANS LAKEJER and A-HA released new albums but while the quality across the releases was mixed, fans were loyal and happy. After various trials and tribulations, TEARS FOR FEARS returned with ‘The Tipping Point’ and erased memories of the lacklustre 2004 comeback ‘Everybody Loves A Happy Ending’, but the duo were unable to capitalise when the majority of the UK concert tour of stately homes was cancelled due to an unfortunate accident that befell Curt Smith.

Creating a dehumanised technologically dependent Sci-Fi world, DIE KRUPPS opted for more machine than metal under their EBM pseudonym DIE ROBO SAPIENS. With NASA making its first steps back to the moon with the Artemis project, fittingly Italian producer EUGENE spent ‘Seven Years In Space’ and Ireland’s CIRCUIT3 looked back at space travel’s past on ‘Technology For The Youth’. Back on earth, THE WEEKND was still being accused of stealing from synthwave while coming up with the song of the year in ‘Less Than Zero’. In the meantime, having infuriated audiences by saying “f*ck that ‘synthwave’ stuff as u name it” in 2018, KAVINSKY was ‘Reborn’ with a second album that had much less of the wave and expanded into broader electronically generated templates with the occasional funkier overtones.

Celebrating ‘40 Years Of Hits’ on a sell-out arena tour and issuing a new album ‘Direction Of The Heart’ which featured a guest appearance by Russell Mael of SPARKS on the single ‘Traffic’ with the obligatory ‘Acoustic Mix’, as the excellent book ‘Themes For Great Cities’ by Graeme Thomson highlighted, the best years of SIMPLE MINDS are now well behind them. They are a poor facsimile of the great band they once were and as a special Summer concert in Edinburgh in honour of ‘New Gold Dream’ proved, Jim Kerr and Co can’t even play their best album properly.

Music-related books continued to be popular with Martyn Ware and Karl Bartos respectively writing their memoirs ‘Electronically Yours Vol1’ and ‘The Sound Of The Machine’. In a wider historical context, that crucial 1978-1983 period where electronic pop was more or less invented got documented in the encyclopaedic ‘Listening To The Music The Machines Make’ by Richard Evans.

2022 saw several prominent figures depart for the jukebox in the sky; Vangelis, Manuel Göttsching, Angelo Badalamenti, Julee Cruise, Dave Smith, Herb Deutsch, Terry Hall, Robert Marlow and Andy Fletcher will be sadly missed but ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK was particularly devasted by the passing of German electronic legend Klaus Schulze only 4 days after he gave a rare interview to the site.

Meanwhile Dave Gahan and Martin Gore announced yet another tour of underwhelming arena shows plonked into stadiums for an as-yet-unfinished album that at least had a title ‘Momento Mori’. Ticketscalper took advantage with so-called dynamic pricing (or legalised touting) as hapless Devotees were fleeced thousands of dollars in North America… all this just to see a continually ungrateful frontman (who didn’t even sing is own words on a DEPECHE MODE song until 2005) gesture with a microphone in the air on a catwalk rather than actually singing on it and to possibly hear a pre-1985 song performed that will inevitably ruined by The Drumhead and The Noodler!

As Juls Garat of Massachusetts goth band PILGRIMS OF YEARNING observed via social media: “If you’re spending a kidney on DEPECHE MODE tickets and not attending a local show this weekend, I don’t wanna see you complaining that there’s no scene, local venues or new music anymore”. With the lack of curiosity amongst audiences who were content with nostalgia and the like, it was a difficult year for independent acts.

There is no easy answer and as the old saying goes, you can take a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink. But one promoter that did hit on an innovative idea was Duskwaves who came up with afternoon synth gigs. Hosted at various locations in the South East of England with the aim of drumming up daytime weekend business at venues, events started at 2.00pm and ended by 6.00pm to allow for an easy journey home or possibly dinner afterwards. Artists such as YOUNG EMPRESS, INFRA VIOLET, STRIKE EAGLE and AUW joined in the family friendly fun and while the concept was unusual, with classic synth audiences not getting any younger, it has potential.

While the worldwide situation remains uncomfortable and unsettling, for The Cold War generation, it all seemed strangely familiar. As Jori Hulkkonen of SIN COS TAN said in an interview with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK recently: “It feels kind of comfortable to be back in that same state of mind that you grew up in!! It’s like you grew up in not a nice place, but you get 20-30 years out of it and then you get drawn back into The Cold War state of mind. It’s where I come from and there’s nothing good about it, but somehow feels very familiar so you can handle it in a different way”.

The Cold War inspired songs such as ‘Enola Gay’, ‘Fireside Favourite’, ‘All Stood Still’, ‘Let’s All Make A Bomb’, ‘I Melt With You’, ‘Dancing With Tears In My Eyes’ and ‘Five Minutes To Midnight’ which encapsulated the nuclear paranoia of the times. So if the current tensions go on any longer, how will artistic expression be affected and driven?

But as Synthesizer Patel actor Sanjeev Kohli wittily remarked of the UK’s 41 day Prime Minister aka Mad Lizzie following her successful leadership bid: “Liz Truss has now been trusted with the nuclear button. I honestly wouldn’t trust her with the bossanova button on a broken Yamaha keyboard”.

In a year which saw the bizarre scenario of a black vicar worshipping Enoch Powell on the repulsive gammon TV channel GB News and the truth about Tory PPE scandals becoming clearer, Richy Sunak, Ugly Patel, Cruella Braverman and Krazi Kwarteng continued to be the ultimate race traitors in their Westminster tribute band A FLOCK OF SIEG HEILS. Failing to look in the mirror, their role as collaborators was all as part of a wider self-serving mission to help keep the whites Reich and line the pockets of their already loaded banker mates instead of paying nurses a fair wage. Nurses are for life and not just for Covid. So what did happen to that £350 million promised for the NHS by that pompous lying posh boy Boris Johnson if Brexit happened? As Tim Burgess of THE CHARLATANS summed it all up rather succinctly on Twitter: “Worth remembering that the real enemy travels by private jet, not by dinghy” ✊😉

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s 2022 playlist ‘Stay Negative To Be Positive’ playlist can be listened to at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4Mw0Fn10yNZQcrGzod98MM

Text by Chi Ming Lai
22nd December 2022


The late German electronic music legend Klaus Schulze sadly passed away on 26th April 2022 at the age of 74 after a long illness. 

Literally never one to sit still, he left behind a vast portfolio of work. Among his most lauded albums were ‘Timewind’, ‘Moondawn’, ‘Mirage’, ‘X’ and ‘Dune’.  The Berlin School veteran was set to release his new album ‘Deus Arrakis’ in Summer 2022 with another musical salute to ‘Dune’ author Frank Herbert.

Featuring three tracks with a combined playing time of more than 77 minutes, ‘Deus Arrakis’ was inspired by his Hans Zimmer collaboration ‘Grains of Sand’ aka ‘Herbert’ for the end credits of the 2021 ‘Dune’ film adaptation.

Photo c 1978, Klaus D Mueller, Berlin

Poignantly, Klaus Schulze had said in an interview with Albrecht Plitz for the booklets of his 2004 back catalogue reissues when asked about retirement: “…not until they carry me out of this studio in a box!” – the closing piece on ‘Deus Arrakis’ is called ‘Der Hauch des Lebens’ or as translated into English, “The Breath of Life”.

A one-time member of TANGERINE DEAM and ASH RA TEMPEL before embarking on a solo career in 1972, the advent of synthesizers and sequencers freed him from the constraints of a conventional band.

Taking him on a creative journey into the unknown, Schulze saw synthesizers as an opportunity to develop original tone colours with his improvised compositions often lasting for almost half an hour at a time and rarely less than a quarter. Adopting a playful physical approach that encompassed a minimalist groove whether using analogue modulars, digital samplers or the latest computers, one of his favourite phrases was “It’s not about me, it’s about the music” and this was the case until the very end.

In one of his last ever interviews, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK was granted a rare audience with Klaus Schulze to talk about his career and the ‘Deus Arrakis’ album. The conversation transcript from 22nd April 2022 has been published in full with the blessing of his management and publicist as a tribute to the great man and his cosmic legacy.

How did ‘Grains of Sand’ with Hans Zimmer come about, was it like a rejuvenation for you?

Photo from kdm archives

Our mutual friend Lisa Gerrard brought Hans and me together – she was working with him at that time from which I had no idea. One day Hans called me and we talked a little bit about Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ – we both are huge fans of the books – and the film remake by Denis Villeneuve. Hans was inspired by my music, he liked my albums ‘Dune’ and ‘X’, especially the track ‘Frank Herbert’.

Based on that, he asked me for a co-operation and out came that new Hans Zimmer / Klaus Schulze track ‘Grains Of Sand’ – or ‘Herbert’ as it was titled earlier in the end credits of the film. It was a pleasure to work with Hans – he is not only a great artist and one of the best addresses for film music in the world but also just a very nice guy! And yes, the whole ‘Dune’ thing inspired me – once again 40 years after my first ‘Dune’ album – to plunge into Frank Herbert’s universe and the beautiful pureness of Arrakis’ deserts. I just started playing…

So what concepts did you have in your mind for ‘Deus Arrakis’ to inspire you in composition?

To be correct, when I started playing I did not think of anything to achieve or of a certain direction. I don’t play concept albums – I am way too instinctive and improvising for that! The inspiration for ‘Deus Arrakis’ was a general one; it is always the same, when I start playing I got lost in the soundscapes and chords I love so much.

Before that there had been a longer phase where I was too sick and couldn’t work for months. I certainly took my time with it and it was towards the end of the recording stages that I realized the results were pretty ‘Dune’-ish. That was when I searched my archives and picked the recordings I had left of Wolfgang Tiepold’s cello, which clearly was the perfect match. So even though Hans and Lisa and Denis (Villeneuve) may have kickstarted it, in the end it became clear this was in fact another tribute to Frank Herbert the brilliant creator of the ‘Dune’ universe…

‘Osiris’ from ‘Deus Arrakis’ has a beautiful minimal ambience that evokes the best of your past work, did you return to any of your old equipment for the album?

Oh, the old Moogs and ARPs, my Mellotron and even the Korg PS – they are all long gone. What I actually used from the old days was my trusty EMS Synth A – a great instrument to create pure electronic landscapes with. It does not play concrete notes as it does not even have a keyboard – it is not necessary. But everything else I used is the more modern instruments. And also a lot of my favourite virtual synths from the studio computer.

Would you say it is best to combine vintage analogue instrumentation with computer controllability to plant the seed of that sound without the practical challenges?

Photo c 1998, Klaus D Mueller, Berlin

For me, absolutely yes! I have spent many years fighting the various technical aspects from so many different machines that I absolutely enjoy turning on everything – and Boom, it’s all there. I certainly would not want to go back to having to tune everything… or patch my way through every single part of an analogue synth.

I can understand if you are a collector and love the old machines, that’s great, but if I want to work, I want to work… and I am not very patient anymore regarding having to wait for a piece of equipment until it’s ready to be played.

Your followers will be pleased that you are still producing half hour pieces of music, was there any temptation to edit more drastically? Or does “movement, depth and randomness” still apply?

The tracks flow as they flow. Just as it should be… that hasn’t changed. Don’t be fooled by the new “single” as the record company calls it. That is not a single. I never do singles… by the time a single is over I haven’t even gone half way through my first intro phase alone… it is just the beginning of a much longer track. Oh yes, there were quite a few discussions with my record company as they wanted a single to promote the album. The shortest track I did still is about 20 minutes or so. So no single.

It is clear that longer tracks have to be cut anyway in order to fit on one vinyl record side – and that already hurts every time. I do not like that at all, that really is why I still love my CDs. The editing down into split parts is up to my engineer… I couldn’t do that. With today’s streaming requirements they have gone to even splitting up all the tracks for streaming because a lot of money is lost if they don’t do that. That is so very annoying… and clearly it does not serve the music at all… which it should in the first place.

What is your current equipment set-up?

Hardware: Mini and Memorymoogs, 3 x SE 1, EMS Synthi A, PPG Wave. EMU samplers (for all the older libraries), Roland keyboards and expanders (almost all ages), Alesis analogue synths, Access synths, Quasimidi synths. Kawai and Korg expanders. One or two of the more recent synths to try out.

The software synth collection centres around Arturia, Spectrasonics, Steinberg, U-HE and also a lot of smaller and more obscure synth models. All of that goes into my half digital, half analogue Tascam console which uses RME AD/DA hardware to connect to my Mac. Logic Pro still is my favourite DAW – I have lots of MIDI to administer!

Photo c 1976, Klaus D. Mueller, Berlin

Which would you say are your most favourite synthesizers of all time?

Oh… not as easy as it may sound… I guess the good old modular Moog is one of them, as well as the Mini. And the CS80! I still love my EMS Synth and ah, the original Mellotron… well was that a synthesizer after all? Roland’s JD 800 also still is a favourite.

How did you get on with using the first digital era of equipment like the Crumar GDS, PPG Wave 2.2 and Fairlight computer instruments or the Yamaha DX7?

That DX7… never was for me… but the beginning of the digital synth age was very exciting. I remember dragging the GDS and Wave with us on tour was a bit nasty, but I wanted them on stage back then. Always a pleasure when you could load your favourite programmed sound again safely from a floppy disk… and those synths finally never went out of tune again when they got warm! That was a very welcome first!

Fairlight and Wave were first tested in the studio and we got along very well. There were quite a few hiccups in the beginning, especially with the Wave which had its platines upright on end, so we had to take them out and refit them after every transport… but the digital revolution was the start of a new era soundwise and I was keen to try the latest new instruments and the sounds they could create. It sounded totally fresh and new.

Harald Grosskopf has said working with you on ‘Moondawn’ was the highlight of his career, how do you look back on that album?

It was one of those ‘one-night-wonders’ and we really had a good flow together and of course a lot of fun with the Big Moog!

What would be your favourite works from your career and why?

Every album I do is my best – everyone has its time and its own history and circumstances, though there are some albums that are more in my mind than others are! Really, when you work on something it is the latest and best you’ve ever done and so it always is my favourite record. It’s as simple as that. However once a record is finally completed and I hold a CD or vinyl copy in my hands it looks great … but my interest vanishes pretty quickly. It’s always been like that.

In memory of KLAUS SCHULZE 1947 –  2022

With thanks to Matt Benton at Hold Tight and Klaus D Mueller

‘Deus Arrakis’ is released by SPV on 1st July 2022 as a deluxe box set, triple vinyl LP and CD, pre-order from https://klausschulze.lnk.to/deusarrakis

The 450 page hardback book ’Violins Don’t Grow On Trees – The Life & Work of Klaus Schulze’ by Olaf Lux is available in English and German language editions from https://olaflux.bandcamp.com/






Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
30th June 2022

KLAUS SCHULZE 1947 – 2022

The German electronic music legend Klaus Schulze has sadly passed away at the age of 74 after a long illness.

Despite this, his passing was unexpected as Schulze was set to release a new album ‘Deus Arrakis’ this summer on SPV. He had collaborated with Hans Zimmer on ‘Grains of Sand’ aka ‘Herbert’ for the end credits of the new ‘Dune’ 2021 film adaptation directed by Denis Villeneuve.

Trained as a classical guitarist, Schulze took up the drums and was a member of TANGERINE DEAM and ASH RA TEMPEL, remaining with them for only their debut albums.

Disillusioned with both drums and guitars, he embarked on a solo career using keyboards and electronics, simply because it would take him on a creative journey into the unknown. Coinciding with the advent of synthesizers and sequencers to free him from the constraints of a conventional band where the discussions that went on were often longer than any music being played, his own improvised compositions lasting for almost half an hour at a time were the antithesis of modern pop songs and more akin to his musical hero Richard Wagner.

Schulze saw synthesizers as an opportunity to develop original tone colours and saw little point in using them to imitate real instruments like trumpets as Keith Emerson had done, reasoning that if he wanted to have the sound of an orchestra, he would then use one. He even occasionally donned a full face helmet for live appearances in the days when DAFT PUNK were still in short trousers!

Whenever cultural commentators talk about vintage synthesizers stacked up like telephone exchanges in the formative years of electronic music, Klaus Schulze is likely to be one of the key figures they are referring to. Unlike his contemporaries, Schulze had a playful approach with a physical element that encompassed a minimalist groove, a legacy of his earlier explorations as a drummer. During his concerts where he usually performed new material, he would sit crossed legged in front of his complex with his back to the audience while the cosmic trance-like soundscapes poured out.

His 1972 debut solo album ‘Irrlicht’ had been organ driven but its follow-up ‘Cyborg’ brought an EMS VCS3 into the armoury. Acquiring an ARP Odyssey, ARP 2600 and assorted Crumar keyboards, the wider breakthrough came with 1975’s ‘Timewind’ which was released internationally via Virgin Records and its associated imprint Caroline.

Winning the prestigious Grand Prix Du Disque International in France, the success of ‘Timewind’ allowed Schulze to up-the-ante with the purchase of a Moog IIIP modular system and the opportunity to record 1976’s ‘Moondawn’ in a multi-track studio having used just two-track equipment previously; the album was also notable for featuring Harald Grosskopf on drums with the union sparking the WALLENSTEIN sticksman’s own interest in synthesizers to record his acclaimed 1980 solo debut ‘Synthesist’.

Schulze was by now well into what many consider his imperial phase and adding PPG modules to his set-up, released his wintery 1977 masterpiece ‘Mirage’ on Island Records, supported by two lavish concerts at the London Planetarium and planting the seed for New Age in the process.

Harald Grosskopf rejoined Schulze for the ambitious 1978 double opus ‘X’ which also incorporated strings in a record comprising of “Six Musical Biographies” in honour of figures such as philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, composer Friedemann Bach and ‘Dune’ author Frank Herbert. Interest in the latter was developed further on an actual album called ‘Dune’ featuring Arthur Brown on vocals in 1979.

The next two albums ‘Dig It’ and ‘Trancefer’ saw Schulze embrace new digital technology and the Crumar GDS system while 1991’s ‘Beyond Recall’ brought in sampling. A reunion with Manuel Göttsching of ASH RA TEMPEL came on the appropriately titled ‘Return Of The Tempel’ on 1995’s ‘In Blue’. Then released in 1996 on the Eye Of The Storm label founded by the production team behind SNAP!, ‘Are You Sequenced?’ saw Schulze venture into dance music in his own inimitable way with perceptively shorter pieces – “My style of music is always the same” Schulze once said, “but the expression is different with each piece…”

With almost as many live documents as studio recordings, soundtracks, classical, opera and his alias Richard Wahnfried, Schulze’s portfolio contained over 130 albums in many guises including collaborations such as ’The Dark Side Of The Moog’ series with the late Peter Namlook and the supergroup GO with Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve and Stomu Yamashta, as well as productions for ALPHAVILLE and DEAD CAN DANCE’s Lisa Gerrard.

Schulze even made a cameo appearance in the 2001 German TV murder mystery ‘Klassentreffen – Mordfall Unter Freunden’ as a member of a fictional band THE WANDERING STARS performing at the school reunion, alongside KRAFTWERK’s Florian Schneider on double bass and ALPHAVILLE singer Marian Gold for a cover of ‘Those Were The Days’!

Literally never one to sit still, ‘Deus Arrakis’ was his next musical salute to Frank Herbert, remaining true to his characteristic style and dreamy sheen while remaining open to sonic experimentation. The crystal lake is somewhat emptier tonight but somewhere up there right now, Klaus Schulze is probably having one almighty synth jamming session with Florian Schneider, Edgar Froese and Peter Namlook…

Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Guido Harari
27th April 2022

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