Life and Work

Klaus Schulze faq
Version 2.2 - March, 2007
1. "Les Barons" and "Psy Free"
  Klaus Schulze was born 1947 in Berlin, Germany. Presenting him a classical guitar, his parents (his father was a writer and his mother a ballet dancer) wanted him to learn classical music, and so Klaus took guitar lessons from 1951 to 1958.

While the family lived in Düsseldorf for a few years, Klaus played the drums in a small dance band named "Les Barons" when he was 16. Back in Berlin, Klaus joined a rock band who played cover versions of Rolling Stones or Procol Harum hits.

But Klaus wasn't satisfied with that band, so he decided to do his own. The rockband "Psy Free" was founded in 1967; other members were Joachim Schuhmann and Alex Conti. The band had several gigs at Berlin's "Zodiak", "Magic Cave", and "Silver Apple".
2. Tangerine Dream
  At the same time, Klaus got a scholarship for highly gifted people and started studying germanistics, history, philosophy, psychology, and experimental music for five semesters at the Paedagogische Hochschule Berlin (University for Pedagogics). During "Psy Free" rehearsals in the "Zodiak" in 1969, Klaus met Edgar Froese who asked him to replace Tangerine Dream's absent drummer Sven Ake Johansson for one evening. Klaus agreed, played with Tangerine Dream at the "Magic Cave", and earned DM 50,- for that gig (which was immediately spent for some shit).

Edgar then asked Klaus whether he wanted to join Tangerine Dream as a regular member. Because his "Psy Free" partners wanted to do something else than playing music, Klaus agreed and became Tangerine Dreams new drummer. Tangerine Dream had several concerts during that time, and in October 1969 they recorded "Electronic Meditation", Klaus first participation on an album. Even before this LP had been released in spring 1970, Klaus met Pink Floyd at a concert festival in Essen, Germany, and decided that he wanted to do more experimental and electronic music than just playing the drums. As Edgar Froese didn't want Tangerine Dream to play electronic music (at least then...), Klaus split and was replaced by Christoph Franke.
3. Ash Ra Tempel
  Klaus made several experiments with electronic organs and tape machines, and when he met Manuel Goettsching and Hartmut Enke in September 1970, he asked them to found a new band playing electronic music. Both had only played blues in the "Steeple Chase Bluesband" yet, but agreed; so the new band, "Ash Ra Tempel", was founded. For about a year the band gave several concerts and made some demo recordings, and finally their first album "Ash Ra Tempel" was released. But in autumn 1971, Manuel and Hartmut said that they would rather play blues again, and Klaus left Ash Ra Tempel to start a solo career.
4. The "Ohr" years
  Klaus continued his experiments with organs and tape machines in his sleeping room which had been furnished as a small studio. After he got a record contract with Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser's record label "Ohr" (the leading label for progressive music at that time), he recorded his first own album, "Irrlicht", with the help of Berlin's "Colloquium Musica" chamber orchestra in April 1972.

In February 1973, Klaus had his first solo concerts. At the same time, he recorded "Cyborg", his second album. Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser had a concept of "cosmic music" in mind, so he promoted his artists (Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, Klaus Schulze and some others) as the "cosmic couriers". Some sessions where most of the "Ohr" musicians played were released as "Cosmic Jokers" albums.

But Klaus and the other artists were not satisfied with the "Ohr" label. Record sales were not as expected, and the musicians disliked Kaiser's demand to take some pills before playing. While they sued Kaiser to get out of the contract in 1973, Klaus recorded "Picture Music", which could only be released in 1975 because of the lawsuit.
5. "Timewind" and "Moondawn"
  After he got a new record contract with Metronome in 1974, Klaus recorded "Blackdance", a more rhythm-oriented album. He also accompanied Ash Ra Tempel and Tangerine Dream for some concerts again.

In spring of 1975, Klaus released "Timewind", his fifth album, and had concerts in Germany and France; especially in France his albums became very successful at that time. For "Timewind", Klaus even earned a French record award. (The fact that Edgar Froese's "Ypsilon in Malaysian Pale" was runner-up but didn't got the award led to some resentment between Klaus and Edgar Froese.)

"Moondawn", recorded in 1976, was an even bigger success with 400,000 sold copies. Stomu Yamashta then asked Klaus to join his project "Go", and the German porn film director Lasse Braun had the soundtrack of his film "Bodylove" composed by Klaus Schulze in 1977.
6. From Analog to Digital
  With his intriguing albums "Mirage" and "X", Klaus earned even more reputation in the music business. He had already produced some albums of the "Far East Family Band" (with the later well known Kitaro) and was now offered to found his own record label for electronic music. "Innovative Communications" (IC) was founded in 1979 and gained success for the German band "Ideal". At the same time, Klaus purchased some new equipment, and "Dig it" was his first completely digital recorded album.

In 1983, after a successful tour in Europe, "Audentity" was released, a very complex and experimental album which should be a milestone for his music. Klaus then sold the IC label because it couldn't repeat the success of "Ideal" and was only surviving because of the sales of Klaus' own albums. But Klaus immediately founded a new record label, "Inteam", which didn't last for a long time either.

During the IC and Inteam years, Klaus cooperated with other artists (Michael Shrieve, Rainer Bloss, and Arthur Brown, to name just a few). For some of the cooperations, he even founded a new kind of group named "(Richard) Wahnfried".
7. Concerts and Editions
  From the mid of the Eighties, Klaus' style of music changed again and again, but always was definitely pure Klaus Schulze. After "Dreams" and "En=Trance", two albums in a quite silent mood, he became more and more experimental again, starting with "Miditerranean Pads" in 1990. During this time, Klaus gave only a few, but well-visited concerts in Dresden (formerly East Germany), Cologne, London, Barcelona, Paris, and Rome, most of them were released on CD. In 1993 and 1995, two 10-CD-"Editions" were released, containing as well early recordings from the end of the Sixties and concert recordings from the seventies, as actual music from the Nineties. In 1994, he even released his first opera, "Totentag".

His cooperations with Pete Namlook show how versatile Klaus can be: The ten "Dark Side Of The Moog" albums present a perfect mixture of ambient and progressive electronic music.
8. The re-releases

In 2004, Klaus Schulze got back the rights for his solo-albums from Universal, Zyx, WEA and Virgin (France). He then handed them over to the German record company SPV.
From that time SPV re-releases Klaus Schulze albums on a regular basis.

© 2007 Volkmar Friauf / Jan R. Kloosterman