Klaus Schulze: The Authorized Live Releases, Part 2: 1978-1985  

Klaus Schulze: The Authorized Live Releases, Part 2: 1978-1985

by David M. Cline (1998)

(All dates given below use the American method: month/day/year)

This is the second part of a three piece series on KS' live releases. Again I will use the following abbreviations: SE for Silver Edition, HE for Historic Edition, JE for Jubilee Edition, and I will list each sets' CD number after the # sign. Between the October 17, 1977 recording of Inside the Harlequin and the October 22, 1979 recording of Die Erde ist rund a great deal occurs. There are many landmark developments in KS' career that impact his live work. The historic "X" is recorded over the summer of 1978. KS goes on tour with Wolfgang Tiepold in the fall of 1978, but sadly, because of technical reasons, there are no live releases from this period. Ludwig II von Bayern is first performed live in Den Haag, September 24, and shortly afterwards it is performed with an orchestra at Oostende (Belgium), September 29. Arthur Brown and Tiepold join KS on the popular yet controversial Dune, as Brown's vocals polarize reactions. KS assembles the first Richard Wahnfried project, Time Actor, including Brown and Tiepold, along with Vincent Crane [of "Atomic Rooster" fame] and most importantly Michael Shrieve on percussion and "rhythmical advice." Shrieve's influence would be fondly remembered by KS years afterwards. As if this wasn't enough, KS begins his synthesizer school and of course sets up the IC label. Furthermore, he helps in the production of multiple artists on the IC label.

Amid this flurry of activity, KS sets out on his fall tour of 1979. This tour includes a regular singer for the first time, Arthur Brown, and essentially all new music. Certainly there would be familiar elements and techniques, but there would be many new sounds. As before you hear atmospheric beginnings (now shorter), fast and furious Moog solos (now more developed) and intricate sequences (now more varied), but fresh sounds capture your attention. Many capabilities were enhanced, especially in synthesized percussion. KS was able to layer in a full "drum set" of sounds. Die Erde ist rund, the encore from October 22 at Koblenz, (JE #14) provides a good example. KS begins this piece with a sequence comprising melodic elements, then layers in percussion. At 00:58 you hear a "tic-tic" that sounds like drum sticks hitting the metallic rim of the drum, a sound that we hear much in the pieces available from this tour. Then we hear a high-hat sound at 01:38 and an incessant bass drum sound at 01:55. By the time we hear the keyboard melody line at 02:30 we truly have mystery in motion. As we listen on in this piece, we hear a demonstration of a phenomenon common in KS' work. The sequence does not simply act as a metronome to keep time in the background of the music. Rather, the sequence acts as a rhythm and melodic counterpoint to the solo melody line. The listener's attention is naturally drawn back and forth between the two. Therefore, the sequence with its rhythmic elements rises into consciousness and then falls back into the subconscious periodically as the piece progresses. Interestingly, the fans become inspired midway through Die Erde ist rund and clap along to the sequence. Oddly, the clapping is slightly off the beat. Rather than being obtrusive, it mixes in well with the contemplative and thoughtful melody lines during the second half of the piece to its conclusion.

From two days later in Bruxelles, we have the complete concert on CD except for the second encore. Dans un jardin, (JE #17) the first piece played that night is varied with beautiful passages, harsh elements, even funk. The recording technique is worth mentioning here. A battery driven stereo radio/cassette recorder with paper blockers to enhance the stereo effect was placed between the stage monitor speakers to record the concerts during that tour. The intent was not for future general release, but to document the events. Not only did it document the music, but also the outpouring of physical ailments afflicting the audience that clammy October night. Do not take offense at this unsuppressible cough. As a comparison, the 1979 concerts given by the famous music experimenter, John Cage (as I witnessed) declared audience noise an essential part of the concert experience. These concerts included a 10-15 minute period of audience ambient noise as the sole sonic experience. Cage looked down at the stage floor during this time. I much prefer a little cough in my KS music. The beginning of Dans un jardin is calm and beautiful. The first three minutes are indeed atmospheric but less abstract than examples from previous tours, such as the beginning of Re: People I Know. Quickly the tone is more introspective than atmospheric. After nine minutes of wonder and intrigue, the sequence is layered in, and momentum builds toward the climax ten minutes later. The sound at 19:00, with its intensity and organ tones is reminiscent of J.S. Bach's dynamic organ works. The solo keyboard fades by 21:15 to leave the sequence alone, ready for KS' electronic bongo playing. The bongos were connected to a little laser for added effect. This Le bouquet section is KS in a real funky groove. Could it be that concert performances like this set off the industrial electronic dance craze of the early 80's and beyond. DAF released their first album in 1979, and Einstürzende Neubauten released their first single that same year. It is a frightening thought to think that respective lead singers Robert Görl and Blixa Bargeld were in the audience sometime during that tour but possible. I danced to similar yet far less inspired music than this section of Dans un jardin in the clubs of Chicago, Detroit, New York and Washington DC in the early 80's. The Le bouquet section has all the elements that defined the genre, syncopated repetitive percussion, harsh electronic sounds adding tenure and I can imagine the laser light effects. All this years before industrial dance hit the big time. Dans un jardin ends in a quieter mood, with a gentle vocoder section giving way to playful, thoughtful melodies at the end.

After the intermission, KS returns with Arthur Brown for Faster Than Lightning. One might expect a live rendition of Shadows of Ignorance, or quotes from Richard Wahnfried's Time Actor, but in fact there is little resemblance other than similar instrumentation. Faster Than Lightning can be compared to Avec Arthur, from Liege (Belgium), October 25 (JE, #2) and Dymagic, from Amsterdam, October 27, (...LIVE...). All have similar structure, sequences, and many common melodies and sounds. The two earlier pieces begin with a brief introduction of abstract synth tones (this may have been cut on Dymagic), then all three yield to a mid tempo sequence. This is quickly followed by Arthur's vocals, and what vocals they are. Comparing the three tells you just how proficient Arthur is at improvising lyrics. Common to many singers is the ability to change the emotion or phrasing of a known lyric, but to change the words, musical notes, phrasing and emotion in response to another musician's (KS') improvising is almost unheard of, especially in different languages. Arthur Brown is certainly a master. The stream of consciousness lyrical method melds perfectly with KS' style of intricate improvisation. Perhaps KS would be bored by the restriction of sticking to a live performance of a song defined by known verses. Arthur Brown's ability to improvise his vocal delivery gives KS the freedom to respond to this own emotions and Arthur's as well. The listener is not distracted by a complex story line. In these three pieces, meaning is measured moment to moment. The melody and the context of the lyrics change minute by minute and flow ever on like a stream over rocks. With each listen I am more intrigued by Arthur's ability.

The scream before the calm conclusion has generated some controversy. I read in an unofficial KS web page an assertion that the scream in Dymagic was cut and "the tune changes to a section that obviously must have come 10-20 minutes later in the real concert." Obviously this statement is incorrect in total, but was the scream shortened on Dymagic? The scream in Faster than Lighting lasts 15 seconds, in Avec Arthur it lasts 19 seconds, and in Dymagic it lasts 3 seconds. If the scream in Dymagic was cut, spouses of KS fans across the world are thankful for this act. The effect and most of the impact are not diminished by the shorter length. Either way, it clears the pallet for the next calmer course. It is more like serving Tabasco Sauce between courses rather than the expected orange sherbet, but still effective. The lyrics of the final section are emphasized by the calm that surrounds them, and as always, the emotion expressed is more meaningful than the dictionary's definition of the words. Avec Arthur is blessed by a longer wordless conclusion, full of beautiful, rich tones. A still gentler ending to a piece (like the others) full of twists and the "turning in us all, as the light in the darkness reveals what you see..."

The first encore from Bruxelles, L'affaire Tournesol, (JE #8) is similar to the remaining first encores available on CD from that tour: Bona Fide, from two days later in Aalst (Belgium), Oct 26, (JE #24) and Bellistique from Paris November 13, (...Live...). All three begin with the layering of the melodic and percussive elements of a sequence, then we hear synth melody lines that eventually rise in wild soloing. This Moog solo quiets to leave the sequence temporarily alone, then either playful piano or abstract sounds follow. Finally, the sequence fades to conclude with a somber to grand keyboard exit. Several differences exist that are worth mentioning (and listening for). Bona Fide has a keyboard solo that is more restrained, yet this emphasizes the solo melody's interaction with the underlying sequence. Check the fourth minute for reference. The tone of Bona Fide at the end is much more Bach like ("Toccata and Fugue") than the other two. In contrast, the endings of L'affaire Tournesol and Bellistique recall that searching quality of the first half of Mindphaser. Yet, these two pieces from 1979 have an updated sound and are remarkable for their sheer beauty and grandeur.

We have only one recorded example of the second encore from the 1979 tour, There was Greatness in the Room (Fragment), also from the night in Bruxelles. This title tells us much. The tone compliments the calm concluding section of the longer piece with Arthur (i.e. Faster Than Lightning). This combination of sounds is truly beautiful and moving. Again Arthur creates lyrics spontaneously to match the mood created by the synths. The Korg PS 3300 is heard, plus mellotron choir and other synths. Like kissing the bride you wish was yours, the taste is all to brief.

Heart from Paris November 13, (...Live...) should be comparable to Dans un jardin as it was the first long piece played that night prior to Arthur Brown joining KS, but the differences are marked. The unique heartbeat-like bass tones give it a gentle start. Rather than the grand themes that are heard during the first section of Dans un jardin, we hear a longer introspective and flowing keyboard introduction lasting eleven minutes. This gives way to a sequence which sets the underlying tension for a remarkable keyboard run, both grand and furious. The mood shifts to a more playful tone, to be taken over by harsh synth tones before a second run at wild soloing complementing an increase in the sequencer tempo at 21:36. Fabulous. In the section that follows at 24:30, my ears hear precursors to the rhythms that give Trancefer its magic. With slowing and changes in the sequence, this flowing rhythm is carried to near its inquisitive ending. Heart stands quite unique to Dans un jardin.

So what about the selection of tracks from this tour that "made the cut" for inclusion on ...Live... I cannot disagree with the choices made back in 1980. But as I said before, they only present part of the story. No doubt the presence of coughing in Dans un jardin and problems limiting the length of There was Greatness in the Room (Fragment) prevented them from being considered in 1980, but for a more interested audience today, they are great inclusions.

After the 1979 tour, the ...Live... album is released, and KS remains very busy with other production work for his IC label and for other artists such as Earthstar. He lends his talents to some IC productions and records Dig It using the G.D.S. computer synthesizer. While he is involved in the production of Dig It, he participates as the lead artist in Linzer Stahlsinfonie September 8, 1980, in Linz (Austria), (JE,#24). This event is a multimedia cultural program with many honored guests in attendance, including Robert Moog himself (see KS Circle #17). Tommy Betzler plays percussion. A video is projected. Pictures and sounds from a steel factory are transmitted live into the concert. This long 59:58 track is a fabulous historic document and is interesting in many respects. The beginning is abstract and features live steel factory sounds mixed together with KS's synths, then mellotron, and Betzler's percussion. Betzler's drum style is very different than the smooth sounds of Harald Grosskopf, perhaps to complement the industrial sounds. Well into the piece at 14:01, we hear a sequence begin during the Schwingt den Hammer, schwingt! section. This calm section gives way to a brief restrained Mini-Moog solo. The Nun kann der Guss beginnen section is full of pleasant organ and synth tones over a gentle sequence. This is followed by the Flackernd steigt die Feuersäule section, which is a live version of Friedrich Nietzsche from "X". This section uses a backing tape and adds live drums, percussion, tympani, and synth enhancements. The percussion additions are more obvious, but there are some great keyboard additions, like what is heard at 35:15. This section is similar to fan tapes I have heard from the tour that followed the release of "X", but obviously lacks the presence of Wolfgang Tiepold. The final section Glücklich ist die Form gefüllt is once again calm with some nice organ passages, and reminiscent of what is heard from the tapes recorded 8-10 years earlier in KS' bedroom. The organ is mixed with percussion and industrial sounds and is mysterious in tone till its end.

Following concert at Linz, KS performs with Betzler and Manuel Göttsching in Bruxelles November 29, 1980. Several more releases appear on the IC label including Richard Wahnfried's Tonwelle in early 1981, which includes Manuel and Michael Shrieve. Later in 1981, the smooth Trancefer is completed, which again includes Shrieve and Tiepold. In November of 1981, KS goes on tour with Manuel. Would you expect to hear tracks from these two albums? Certainly elements from both can be heard in the live tracks we have from this tour, but mainly new music is heard.

A common sequence ties together several live tracks from 1981-1983. If you would like to hear the sequence alone, listen first to Keep up with the Times, (JE#11). The following four tracks Leiden mit Manu, from Leiden (The Netherlands) 11/22/81, (HE #5), Peg Leg Dance, from Budapest 10/21/82, (JE #3), as well as the two similar tracks The Martial Law, from Katowice 7/2/83 (JE #22) and Warsaw from Warsaw 7/9/83, (Dziekuje Poland Live) all share this same backing sequence. Leiden mit Manu and Peg Leg Dance share repetitive staccato organ lead-ins during the first section of each. Leiden mit Manu, Warsaw, and The Martial Law are similar in their emphasis on varied and numerous solos. Peg Leg Dance and the two mentioned tracks from the Poland tour share a recurring and distinctive melody line, although the later two include orchestra breaks as part of the melody line. Compare the melody theme heard first at the end of Peg Leg Dance No. 1, with the melody line heard at 11:10 in Warsaw and at 8:35 in The Martial Law. But once your own ear confirms the presence of near identical backing sequences in each of these four pieces of music, it becomes amazing how different their moods can be.

These tracks all have their individuality. Leiden mit Manu benefits from Manuel's fine guitar work as well as his contributions on guitar synthesizer and rhythm computer. It requires a careful listen to dissect out the different sounds as this track is not as clean as the others. Of the four tracks, Leiden mit Manu has the most beautiful and only atmospheric beginning. For some fantastic playing check the solo guitar at 21:00 and KS's solo at 26:00. KS commented in 1982 about Manuel's participation during the recent tour, published 1983 in [American magazine] "Keyboard": "Actually he was doing more than me sometimes." Because the guitar synthesizer sounds like the Mini-Moog, it can be difficult to sort out Manuel's solos from KS' solos. Peg Leg Dance is the most consistently pulsating of these tracks and my personal favorite. Listen to the third and forth section for a unique technique rarely heard in KS's live or studio tracks. You can hear tones that are altered or "bent." This is likely done with the Yamaha CS 80 synthesizer giving an eerie or space effect to the fast moving sounds being played, a winning combination. The majority of Peg Leg Dance emphasizes the interaction of keyboard textures on the fast paced sequence, but the Peg Leg Dance No. 5 section triumphantly ushers in a raving Mini-Moog solo over renewed bass tones. Absolutely marvelous. The two similar tracks from the Poland tour provide an interesting contrast. As KDM points out in the booklet to Jubilee Edition, the Mini-Moog solo is wilder on The Martial Law and this sets the tone for the whole piece. The Martial Law is faster to boil, with the machine gun like Mini-Moog introduction to the soloing occurring earlier in the piece, and there are several more solos in the piece than in Warsaw. The recurring melody line is heard more frequently and the wild orchestra breaks occur more often. Why was Warsaw chosen for inclusion on the Dziekuje Poland Live release? What sounds like an inspired rumble in concert does not always translate well into the private refined listening experience in the living room. The smoother tracks fair better in that environment, and certainly Warsaw has an undeniable power of its own, despite being "restrained" by comparison.

Back to Leiden, November 22 1981, The other long piece from that concert, is Der Welt Lauf, (JE #9). This is a multidimensional piece with many moods. The beginning is calm and pastoral. Tension builds with atmosphere defined by the percussion and melodic sequence which is slowly brought forward. Sustained guitar notes mix well with the keyboard melody by the tenth minute with fine interplay between Manuel's Gibson and KS' keyboards. This musical communication is not the usual exchange of gunfire type solos. Instead it is an emotional mix of sounds building on each others pace and tone. The mood heightens to a frenzy 15 to 20 minutes into the piece with keyboard and guitar synth soloing. All is scrubbed silent with a wash of synth at 26:30. Here the mood is calm and thoughtful. The pace and mood again build to a second climax only to fade into a stately organ sound at the end. Two musicians creating a powerful and emotional mix of sound.

Also from the concert in Leiden, we have the encore, From and To. With an explosive start, we launch into Shrieve like percussion. This is probably the "drum tape" that KS mentions to John Diliberto in the previously quoted 1982 "Keyboard" interview. Because of the drum track, the sound is similar to what will be heard on parts of Audentity, except that Manuel's distinctive Gibson guitar is heard throughout most of the piece. A real treat.

In 1982, perhaps because of the weight of the IC label, we hear little from KS until a few concerts in the fall, including Budapest, October 21. Rainer Bloss joins KS for this concert. From this night we have the previously discussed Peg Leg Dance, as well as Ludwig Revisited and the encore, Die spirituelle Kraft des Augenblicks, (both JE #3). From the tour of Poland, Lodz is another version of Ludwig, from the concert in Lodz, July 8, 1983 (Dziekuje Poland Live). For these live versions, KS uses a backing tape that includes strings and Harald Grosskopf's drums. The original version is longer than the live versions by about 8-9 minutes. The backing tape is faded in approximately seven minutes into the original track from "X". After a run of strings, at 11:22 in the original you have an nine minute section of breathing strings with subdued piano in the background which creates a calm dark mood. Atmospheric synths dominate this section of the original version. The live versions bring the piano (probably Rainer) to the front which creates a lighter tone. KS adds synths here also, but with more intriguing melody and less haunting atmosphere. The keyboard additions continue throughout the piece merging with the strings. These additions do not create a fuller sound as the original has a beauty that is difficult to beat. Rather, the additions create a more spontaneous sound and feeling that complements the live setting.

The encore at the Budapest concert Die spirituelle Kraft des Augenblicks, like From and To uses a Shrieve inspired drum tape. The mood created here would be further developed on Audentity on such tracks as Opheylissem. Indeed, beginning in the fall of 1982 through the winter, KS worked on Audentity and on the sound track to Next of Kin. From February to May of 1983 KS went on a long tour of Europe, followed by a grand tour of Poland in July. From this fantastic tour, we have several great live works.

Katowice from the concert in that city, July 2, (Dziekuje Poland Live), shares a sequence with Spielglocken. In many respects Katowice can be regarded as a live version of that track from Audentity, with a different introduction and solos. Incidentally, Seltsam statisch, (JE #18) also uses this sequence and is similar to Spielglocken. In the live context, this driving sequence accented with keyboard flurries and orchestra breaks really takes off. This is a perfect piece for concert. The only thing I miss from the original version on Audentity is the truck-horn like sound at 15:06 which always startles me on the highway. Gdansk the encore from the concert in that city, July 10, has qualities in common with Cellistica. Gdansk starts with abstract ominous tones, and the Shrieve inspired drum track arrives at 3:40 (compare to Shrieve's work on Trancefer's A Few Minutes After Trancefer). At 7:40 we hear a melody line from Cellistica, like what is heard at 8:46 on that track. But Gdansk could hardly be called a live version of Cellistica. Cellistica builds tension much more slowly, with cello and sequences in and out, so that by the time the melody arrives at 8:46 you are truly relieved to be carried away. In contrast, Gdansk has a slower tempo, is more spontaneous and less developed. The syncopated percussion track on Gdansk further separates it from the tense Cellistica.

In the autumn of 1983, the lingering thrill of the Poland concerts convinces KS to release Dziekuje Poland Live. KS sells IC and forms the Inteam label. In 1984, the troubled Aphrica is released, along with the Drive Inn album with Rainer Bloss and the Angst soundtrack. Richard Wahnfried plays Megatone followed shortly after. In the winter of 1985 KS goes on his last large scale tour. He begins this with a radio concert in Cologne, January 12. Unheilbar Deutsch (JE #15), is from that performance. This live track doesn't sound much like anything released during the mid '80s. Unheilbar Deutsch starts with harsh synth sounds which fade to leave solo piano playing, probably Rainer here, sounding vaguely similar to parts of Drive Inn. If anything this performance is similar to parts of National Radio Waves, (JE #20). Certainly this concert does not anticipate the pop sound of Macksy or the smooth sound of Inter*Face.

We are lucky indeed to have a clearer concept of KS' live work with the release of the multi-disk sets. ...Live... and Dziekuje Poland Live are great albums, and I would not have replaced their tracks with the live tracks on the multi-disk sets (okay, maybe Dziekuje is not essential, but meaningful in its own way). But without the box sets, we would not see the development of ideas as fully as we now know them. Furthermore, the previously unreleased studio tracks help fill in the gaps to explain what was played live, as in the case of Seltsam statisch, and Keep up with the Times. As KS has said many times, the live work is different than the studio work. The mood, the solos, the sound, everything but the artist himself. Although a far cry from actually attending the concert, the live recordings invoke a very different listening experience than the studio tracks. Like being there, it is much more adventurous, perhaps even dangerous, when compared to the comfort of your home (studio).

Several developments in the life and work of KS lead to a decision to stop large scale touring after 1985. The tours lost much of their pleasure, no longer supported the business like before and in fact became financially unfeasible. From this point forward, KS' live work focused on specific events, the subject of the final piece in this series (if the interest remains). Special thanks to KDM for answering my many questions about the tours.

(My sincere thanks go again to David M. Cline in a temporarily stormy North Carolina -kdm)

[Part 1: 1975-1977] [Part 3: 1986-1997]