Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On Klause Schultz Timewind and Electronic Music

I just recently listened to "Timewind" by Klaus Schultz.

My first comments are simply this, in a word, outstanding.

This is a fine work of what I would call real "electronic music". I make that distinction because almost all music these days use some sort of keyboard. Those of you who may have read my other posts might now that my first experience of listening to electronic music was with Morton Subotnick's "Sidewinder" which I still consider to this day an excellent electronic musical work and reminiscent of the early electronic works of those like Karheintz Stockhausen and so many others that defined a unique period of experimentation. Many did not understand early electronic music and I synthesizer makers like Moog moved in from the experimental side and made it more accessible with instruments the the Mini Moog and the plethora of other synth makers that blossomed at this time. Electronic instruments like the Melotron and the the Minimoog and the later Prophet 5 defined an era of synthesizers moving from the experimental labs of universities that blended music, science and technology to the popular song playing on the radio.

So I lament the fact that if I go to a record store these days or even peruse the categories of Amazon for music, I find it difficult to find what category to look for the music that I know I like but has fallen beyond the boundaries that are definable in the world of pop music for perhaps the
most simple reason that its not pop music.

In my listening of his music, I don't see Schultz and the few others like him fit the pop designation, or in his latter work, the techno or trance designation. I find it amusing that some call him the father of techno. I have read interviews where its very clear that Shultze is his own man and he is not trying to fit his music into a genre or for that matter create one of his own. I find much of his music and that of Tangerine Dream gems in what is often a trash heap of music designed for mass consumption.

Music has always been defined in the past by instruments which by virtue of how they were played had limited scope. What amazes me is that with the advent of instrument with so much incredible potential, they end up being little more than a high tech hurdy gurdy or player piano. I listen to Shultze and I hear sounds that fascinate me. I find myself wondering, wow, how did he get that sound. That is what electronic music should be. In the same way, I have watched videos of emerging artists like Tara Busch using Moogerfoogers like instrument and again, I find myself interested in the way she is using them. This is what electronic music should be not music that sounds like it comes from a cookie cutter approach and cookie cutter sounds and techniques.

It's why when I hear anything with a thump, thump, thump in the background I almost immediately discount it. For people who like this, why buy records. Just get a drum machine and you can make you own .

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