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Schulze, Klaus, & Lisa Gerrard: Farscape

Klaus Schulze doesn't do things by halves. What do you expect from a self-professed Wagner fan? Short compositions? Pfah! What you get from the Tangerine Dream founder-member's latest work, a TWO-DAY recording collaboration with the Australian singer Lisa Gerrard, are two discs of nearly 80 minutes of music each! Is anyone brave enough to release such material in this modern-day fast-paced world? Brave man! Brave woman! Heroes in the Wagnerian mould indeed!

Perhaps surprisingly, these two and a half hours of vocalized synthesized wonderland are an absolute joy to listen to!

It's not going to be to everyone's liking of course: if you're really not into synthesized electronic soundscapes then you're unlikely to enjoy this. But have you ever given them a try?

On the other hand, if you've ever enjoyed this kind of music - or even more conventional rock bands' integration of it or similar types into their own music (Hawkwind on occasions, Porcupine Tree's Up the Downstair are two examples that come quickly to mind) - then you may well find yourself mesmerized by these new aural paintings.

Klaus has apparently wanted to collaborate with Lisa Gerrard for some years, but it is only now with Farscape that he has realized his ambition. Listening to the album one can see why: her style of singing - mainly incantation rather than verbalized words - lends itself quite well to Klaus's musical style and is undoubtedly an enhancement. Think of it as Lisa's voice acting like another of the aural colors that is used to paint the soundscape that is Farscape. It works extremely effectively. She sings very few articulated English words; it is not until well into "Liquid Coincidence 6" that you pick out a few, that then become a couple of lines of verse telling of lost love and of hope, and the same happens in the closing composition. For me, the impact of these brief words, after the long periods of incantation, would be even more powerful if their melody had been even prettier.

Klaus says in the sleeve notes that: "Active listening is in demand when it comes to my work! The music is actually only half composed; the other half is open for impressions from the consumer." Exactly like a real painting in other words: each viewer will have his own particular impression, aural soundscapes such as these acting in a similar way to modern art.

In this aural soundscape the dominant impressionistic color is Lisa's vocal. Her music takes me to eastern lands suffused with Arabian culture. She may take her cue primarily from Klaus's own music but it's her voice that is the image driver. We are in desert trains, the camels chugging along; the sun is hot, blistering, bright; the deep, cold, dark nights are filled with stars; and we go indoors, into sumptuous tents replete with the best delicacies that Arabian hospitality can offer; replete after feasting, beautiful dancing girls regale us with sinuous moves as the mantric rhythms of the music and the smoke of the hookahs take us deeper into a trance. Later, the music tells stories of despair in the land and of collective and individual sorrow, before leaving us, finally, before dawn, with visions of hope.

Where will it take you?

This wonderful music can be enjoyed in many guises. It is powerfully meditative, as such you can choose to concentrate on it for the duration of both discs quite easily if you have the time. Listen to it on a good hi-fi and turn up the volume - the music cocoons you in its world. There are energetic, danceful rhythms, particularly on Farscape I, which is the lighter in mood. In this mode, you can have it playing in the background, focusing in and out as the music ebbs and flows.


Track Listing
Farscape I
1) Liquid Coincidence 1 (21:59)
2) Liquid Coincidence 2 (30:51)
3) Liquid Coincidence 3 (25:54)
Farscape II
4) Liquid Coincidence 4(18:18)
5) Liquid Coincidence 5 (18:48)
6) Liquid Coincidence 6 (24:02)
7) Liquid Coincidence 7 (13:38)

Added: June 22nd 2008
Reviewer: Alex Torres
Related Link: Artist Website
Hits: 4504
Language: english

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