Follow TV Tropes


Music / Klaus Schulze

Go To

Klaus Schulze (4 August 1947 - 26 April 2022) was a German electronic music pioneer, regarded by genre fans as the "Godfather of Trance".

Schulze began his music career as a member of Tangerine Dream, before leaving the group over creative differences with frontman Edgar Froese. Shortly thereafter, he formed a new band, Ash Ra Tempel, with bandmates Manuel Göttsching and Hartmut Enke. Less than a year later, he chose again to leave a newly formed group after only one album, this time to mount a solo career. He then proceeded to release more than 60 albums over the course of his long and successful career.

He occasionally recorded albums under the pseudonym of "Richard Wahnfried".

Some of his albums:

Provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Backmasking: The orchestra rehearsal recording Schulze used on Irrlicht was played in reverse.
  • Boléro Effect: Much of Schulze's material from The '70s, particularly the triptych of Picture Music, Timewind, and Moondawn, follows this trope, starting with an ostinato comprised of one or two synthesizer leads and progressively adding further layers of synth, organ, sound effects, and percussion. Appropriately, many consider him a forefather to the trance genre.
  • Concept Album: X is an album of six "musical biographies" evoking both contemporary and historical intellectuals whose works influenced the artist.
  • Drone of Dread: "Death of an Analogue" from Dig It plays out like a synthesized legato funeral dirge, complete with strange chanting run through a vocoder. Perhaps with this in mind, it was later used as the main theme in the 1982 Australian horror film Next of Kin.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Irrlicht is far more experimental than any of his later works, featuring no synthesizers and instead consisting of unearthly organ drones and heavily modified tape recordings of a classical orchestra rehearsal.
  • Epic Rocking: One of Schulze's trademarks. In fact, it would be easier to list the number of Schulze tracks with a length of under five minutes than those with a length of over five minutes. It was not uncommon, especially in the 70s, for a LP of his to have only two songs, each about 20 to 30 minutes long. And the advent of the CD allowed him to go even further, with lengths over 40 minutes actually being the norm rather than the exception.
  • Last Note Nightmare: The ending of Bayreuth Return from the album Timewind. 30 minutes of tranquil, repetitive music and then that ending out of nowhere.
  • Meaningful Name: X (10 in Roman numerals) is the artist's tenth studio album.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Schulze used ominous electric organ drones on several tracks of his first few albums, notably "Ebene" and "Gewitter" from Irrlicht, "Ways of Changes" and "Voices of Syn" from Black Dance, "Wahnfried 1883" from Timewind, and "Mindphaser" from Moondawn.
  • Playing the Heart Strings: His final album, Deus Arrakis, poignantly features cello by Wolfgang Tiepold during its second suite, "Seth".
  • Pun-Based Title: Trancefer, Audentity, En=Trance, and Miditerranean Pads.
  • Recurring Riff: "Mindphaser", the b-side of Moondawn, reprises a melodic phrase from "Wahnfried 1883", the b-side of the preceding album Timewind. Likewise, his 2000 track "Windy Times" references the sequencer ostinato of "Bayreuth Return".
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: The main synthesizer riff of the "Seth" suite from his final album Deus Arrakis echoes Bach's "Prelude in C minor" from the Cello Suites.
  • Sampling: "Friedemann Bach" and "Ludwig II. von Bayern" from X include samples of a modest string orchestra looped on tape. Irrlicht also uses orchestral samples, but they're so heavily filtered as to be unrecognizable.
  • Self-Censored Release: Body Love and its sequel album began as the score to a pornographic film of the same name.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Bayreuth Return" and "Wahnfried 1883" from Timewind, as well as Schulze's alternate name, are references to the works of Richard Wagner. The former refers to the town where Wagner built his opera house for the first performance of Der Ring des Niebelungen, while the latter two refer to the name of the composer's home, where he was buried upon his death in 1883.
    • X includes tracks named for Friedrich Nietzsche, Georg Trakl, Frank Herbert, Friedemann Bach, Ludwig II of Bavaria, and Heinrich Von Kleist.
    • Dune is named for the famous novel by Frank Herbert, while the cover art is a screenshot from Solaris (1972) with the title overlayed which Schulze photographed directly from his television screen.
    • Trancefer includes a track named "Silent Running", after the film of the same name.