Artist: Klaus Schulze
Album: Mirage

Released: April 1977
Label: Brain

Mirage Klaus Schulze
We should find Mirage (57'44") by Klaus Schulze on the short list of albums that have most influenced the Spacemusic genre. Its mysterious electronic minimalism portrays the beginning of a new technological and compositional era, while its elegance and enduring timelessness make it a release full of intellectual power and aesthetic beauty - qualities that also make this album difficult to quantify... In the 1970s Schulze, and several other notable young Germans, became weary of making music with what had been given to them by the previous generation. Decades later, we may find their old LPs as records in the re-birth of Germany, and the founding of a new form of art. As with most of Schulze's work, Mirage assumes that the listener has the patience to find this music's benefits - which requires the capacity for long-term thinking, and assumes that we are literate enough to undertake this task. It should be easy to lose one's self in the sonic beauty, as Schulze combines message and medium into a monumental cerebral experience. The open, understated beginning of side one's Velvet Voyage has us wandering silent ruins. In icy stillness we gradually move among chilled synthesizer chords, ominous harmonies and whirling, bleating tones. There is a chill to the space it creates, as our thoughts slow to the speed that of an adagio or an elegy - and move contemplatively through a sustained current of synthesized sound. Schulze provides a musing bass line beneath ethereal choir, as sleeping tone patterns rise in echoing accents. A rounded Minimoog solo ascends, revealing a message directly from the composer. Once the compositional arc finds its climax, this work quickly dissipates in a scattered conclusion. We bid goodnight to the ghosts - and move on to the album's next dream. While the first few moments of the previous piece may have us contemplating that which is hidden, the repeating music box sequencer intro of Crystal Lake immediately turns our thoughts to the virtues of The Universe as a place of possibility and wonder. Sounds build out, as additional lines of rhythm are gradually introduced. Its magic machine pulse provides a distinctive energy, one more of the mind than of the air. Dramatic chord changes help this track ascend further still. Schulze's confirming synth lead lines once again surface - to reassure the lost, and arouse the adventurous. After a few variations in momentum, this composition slows, and expends its previously built mass in thoughtful repose - ultimately expiring in an exhilarating final movement. Musicians and fans may never agree on what criteria define Spacemusic. As there seems to be little in the way of borders, it does not possess a common geography, and no common culture. Its identity resides in the consciousness of the makers and consumers - a voluntary association of many people, organized under an idea. Mirage is among Schulze's richest, most refined works - music in its most beneficial form. As we listen to it, we can feel a part of his world still living on somewhere within our minds.

- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END   20 October 2016

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