X

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X is the tenth album by Klaus Schulze. It was originally released in 1978, and in 2005 was the fifth Schulze album reissued by Revisited Records.

On X Schulze attempted to execute a concept album of six "musical biographies" evoking contemporary or historical intellectuals with an influence on Schulze: Friedrich Nietzsche, Georg Trakl, Frank Herbert, Friedemann Bach, Ludwig II. von Bayern, and Heinrich von Kleist. The work is from the classic era of Berlin School. Some have called it the greatest work of electronic music ever created.

For two of the tracks, "Friedemann Bach" and "Ludwig II. von Bayern" (as well as the first few minutes of "Heinrich von Kleist") Schulze recorded a modest string orchestra and looped them on tape. He had done this in 1972 on his first solo album, Irrlicht, but this time he did not filter the orchestra beyond recognition. The mixture of classical music and unearthly electronic sounds gives X a much more organic sound than anything Schulze's contemporaries were doing at the time, such as Jean Michel Jarre's Equinoxe. On following releases Schulze employed a cello, particularly on Dune.

"Objet d'Louis", the bonus track on the 2005 reissue, is a live version of "Ludwig II. von Bayern".

Disc 1

  1. "Friedrich Nietzsche" (24:50)
  2. "Georg Trakl" (26:04)
  3. "Frank Herbert" (10:51)
  4. "Friedemann Bach" (18:00)

Disc 2

  1. "Ludwig II. von Bayern" (28:39)
  2. "Heinrich von Kleist" (29:32)
  3. "Objet d'Louis" (21:32)


The following article is a translation from the booklet included with the 1978 vinyl release of Klaus Schulze's album "X" (German pressing on Brain, #0080.023).

I play synthesizers.

My music is created spontaneously; I compose while I am improvising. Structures in my music arise from material and mental experiences, which is often called "my style". I started as a drummer, playing anglo-American pop music, and began soon with my own group Psy Free to search for my own direction. 1970 I joined Tangerine Dream, who were also searching for new sounds. One year later I founded the group Ash Ra Tempel. There I tried with classic rock instruments to extend the usual form of this genre; later this style was dubbed "Space Rock" and others continued in that direction. I was fed up with rock pretty soon, but wouldn't want to have missed this phase. It was a lot of fun; we never practiced, and everything happened directly through musical and human understanding.

My first solo LP (Irrlicht, 1971) was created with the most basic technical means and the help of an orchestra which agreed that I and my new music were crazy. The commercial or artistic success of this album was near zero. The reaction of the majority of the media was about equal to that of the orchestra.

In February of 1973 I played my first "Big" concert, in Paris. The reaction of the audience had to be called enthusiastic. This was my breakthrough - at least in France. Soon my albums (in the meantime Cyborg and Picture Music had been released) were distributed in foreign countries, where the reaction of the press was very encouraging. This was different from West germany, where I had to fight against prejudice, most of all against synthesizers.

A period of trial followed. I tried or purchased new instruments, my studio was expanded, and a new LP was released: Blackdance. For a short time I was mixer, producer and partner in a project that introduced the then new "Kunstkopftechnik".

Near the end of 1974 my equipment was complete for solo concerts. Besides four synthesizers and several keyboards, my system included a good P.A. system and an excellent mixer, which allowed me to play live in recording quality (and vice versa: the next two albums were virtually played live in the studio). Concert tours brought me to Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, and occasionally to some German cities.

Gradually the rising success of my music couldn't be ignored anymore. Reactions during concerts, positive and increasing fan mail, rising sales of albums, as well as the interest of record companies and other musicians in my music proved that my efforts had not been in vain. But, still, it was just Tangerine Dream and me who pursued this "synthesizer music" consistently, looking for recognition.

More and more people recognized and proclaimed that they, too, wanted to play synthesizer and called for help and advise (The "Musikmagazin", published in Cologne, is a good source for general information about the music business. Some of the articles deal with my instruments, the synthesizers, too). I am still in touch with many of those who were interested in my music in those years. Some of these fans sent tapes with their own music, and one group which picked its name after my first album "Irrlicht" joined me on a concert tour.

In Hamburg I met the Japanese group "Far East Family Band". In August 1975 I was invited to come to Tokyo to do the mixing of their first LP (Nipponjin on Vertigo). It is an outstanding group which in style and quality can easily be compared to Pink Floyd. Too bad that the record company failed in promoting this group sufficiently. I have received several requests from people interested in this album, which seems to be developing into a much wanted rarity.

After the release of my album Timewind in fall 1975, I moved from Berlin to the countryside in northern Germany. Timewind was awarded - and I say that with some pride - an international price, which in the 3 years before had gone to Soft Machine, Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd.

After another tour through Switzerland and Italy, I produced the second album of the "Far East Family Band" in England (Parallel World - not released in Europe). For this project I invited Guenther Schickert - already in the 60s we had played together. In the meantime, Guenther has produced a solo album (Samtvogel on Brain) and is relatively successful in Berlin.

During the recording sessions with the "Far East Family Band" I met Stomu Yamash'ta, who was looking for a synthesizer player for a recording project. Between January and March of 1976 I joined Stomu, Steve Winwood, Mike Shrieve and several others in English studios. There wasn't enough time to fuse these solo performers into one group. The result of this period is the LP "Go" (on Island). Then we gave two sold out concerts: Royal Albert Hall in London and Palais des Sports, Paris. This second concert will be released on LP (Island - "Go - Live from Paris").

I had a lot more success when working with another old acquaintance, the drummer Harald Grosskopf. He had just left a rock band when he was looking for a new field to work in, preferably a little more experimental than the standard rock- scene. What started with a short visit at my place became half a year. The album "Moondawn", which took shape during that period, proves that simple playing together not only can provide fun, but also lead to creative results. By the way, Harald joined Ash Ra Tempel (now: Ashra) to fill my old drummer job.

In fall 1976 I was offered to compose the music for a movie by Lasse Braun. My initial skepticism vanished once I met Lasse. A very pleasant "freak" and a great project. (LPs: Body Love and Body Love Vol. 2).

In the beginning of 1977 manager planned a huge concert tour through Europe. I invited Arthur Brown, who convinced me ten years earlier with his hit "Fire", to join me. Playing together spontaneously worked very well again, and I will stay in touch with Arthur.

After this tour I released my eighth album, which was a commercial risk. As I promised on the cover of "Moondawn", I am opening a new door on this album. No memory-loaded melodies or rhythmic power sequences, more a threatening silence, the presentation of a mood. Nevertheless my most advanced album: Mirage.

Between the release of Body Love and Mirage, Stomu Yamash'ta invited me again, this time to the United States. In the studio of Bobby Colombo several well-known rock and jazz musicians worked on the album "Go too" (on Arista). This project was much more relaxed than Go number one...

In fall 1977 I started my first "real" tour through Germany, after having played there only sporadically before. The producer can be satisfied, the tour was a complete success. Highlight: the sold out Berliner Philharmonie. The absolute climax was my last concert in 1977: 5,500 paying visitors (and it wasn't cheap) in a cathedral in Bruxelles. The rest of the waiting crowd had to be let in for free after the concert started, because no tickets were left to sell. Even the priest was ecstatic: so many people aren't even in his building on christmas.

Following the success in Bruxelles, I took a plane to Florida to observe the filming of the movie "Barracuda - The Lucifer Project". The music which I composed for this film in the following months will also be part of my tenth album. Just like on my first album I am working with a symphony orchestra on this project; the understanding of the classically schooled musicians was noticeably better than at the time of Irrlicht in 1971.

This tenth album will be released in September of 1978, simultaneously with a tour through Western Europe and Germany, where I will play between October 1 and October 15. Finally, I'd like to thank all those who wrote to me. Whenever I had time, I answered myself -but this time is becoming scarce. That is why I have taken the time to write down this short report on my career, because people asked me for it repeatedly.

Thank you and best wishes Klaus Schulze.

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