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Schulze, Klaus: Big In Japan Live In Tokyo 2010

The synthesizer wizard from Germany is back with another album which was released on April 19 entitled Big In Japan. In March, 2010 Schulze played two converts at the Tokyo Kokusai Forum Hall. This double CD set, amazingly his 40th album overall, includes five songs taken from those concerts. To say Schulze is a busy guy is an understatement as it seems like only yesterday he released his work (one studio album and two live DVDs) with Dead Can Dance vocalist Lisa Gerrard.

If you are familiar with Mr. Schulze you should know what to expect with this live album. According to the press release he wanted to get back to the "pure KLAUS SCHULZE again" and I think he has accomplished that.

The songs on the first disc are very long, with "The Crystal Returns" and "Sequencers Are Beautiful" running at a whopping 38 and 39 minutes respectively. Some may find these a little long in the tooth and deservingly so but this is one of those albums where you just need to put on the headphones, sit back and totally immerse yourself in the music. "The Crystal Returns" is a reworking of the classic "Crystal Lake" from the 1977 album Mirage. The heavily sequenced tune is inundated with repeated loops, atmospheric synths and electronic percussion sounds. The first half teeters on the ambient while the second half is a bit more intense with more ominous tones. On "Sequencers Are Beautiful" Schulze even plays electric guitar and his atmospheric phrases only add to the song's darker soundcsapes.

The second CD features three tracks, the first being the forty-six minute "La Joyeuse Apocalypse" which I admit may wear out its welcome by the time it ends. This is more of an ambient affair so it is best to listen intently, letting the electronic soundscapes wash over you. Schulze includes some pretty interesting sounds on this one like strange effects, world music themes and violin synths that keep things fresh and exciting and it does get more intense from the middle onwards. The heavily percussionized "Nippon Benefit" is next, followed by "The Deductive Approach", a nice slice of improvised electronics.

A master of electronic sounds, Schulze shows why he is still relevant with this double CD set. Whether it measures up to his classic mid-70s albums only you can decide. What I will say is this just might be the perfect tonic while you wait for Mr. Sandman to arrive.

*The official release includes a DVD which my promo copy did not have.*

Track Listing:
CD 1
1. The Crystal Returns (38:03)
2. Sequencers Are Beautiful (39:00)
CD 2
1. La Joyeuse Apocalypse (46:35)
2. Nippon Benefit (14:10)
3. The Deductive Approach (12:12)

Added: May 1st 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 2445
Language: english

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