Klaus Schulze is nothing if not prolific. Since he began recording in 1970 as a founding member of Tangerine Dream he has released over 40 albums, and that does not even include his various collaborations. With such a vast amount of material to work with, putting together a compilation of his work has not been an easy task. In 2000 he came up with the ultimate solution, releasing The Ultimate Edition, a 50-CD set that covered 40 years of work. Recognizing that few people are prepared to pick up such a monumental set all at once, Schulze has broken the contents down a bit with his triple-disc La Vie Electronique series.
The latest edition is La Vie Electronique 9. The music contained herein spans the period between 1982-1984. It appears that Klaus records everything, as this set shows. The first disc is from a concert in Budapest he performed with keyboardist Rainier Bloss on October 21, 1982. The three lengthy tracks show the two artists managing a unique dance between music of the head, and entertaining an audience. As Schulze was to do more and more over the course of the eighties, the use of percussion is very prominent.
The opening piece, "Ludwig Revisited" is an update of his earlier "Ludwig" from the X album released in 1978. The four-movement composition begins with a striking piano solo from Bloss, with Schulze adding dreamy textures from his Mini Moog. A bit later, Schulze switches over to his EMS "Suitcase" synth for some extra-terrestrial sounds. "Peg Leg Dance" follows and is a clear audience favorite, thanks to the extended Mini-Moog solo Schulze employs midway. The third and final track from this concert is titled "Die Spirituelle Kraft Des Augenblicks," and clocks in at just under 16 minutes. This is a hard one to describe, as there are elements of African music blending into nearly generic seventies prog, held together by an insistent drum machine. Who knew electronics could create such an eclectic blend?
All of the music on discs two and three were recorded in the studio in 1984. They are mainly long experimental tracks, which find Klaus incorporating much more rhythm into his music than ever before. As he and fellow electronic travelers were finding out, the seventies were over. Shorter, more compact songs were preferred, with lots of big drums. It was a difficult time, as even the liner notes acknowledge, but there is some fascinating music to be discovered here.