It was the metallic melancholy of Cyborg that first drew me into the world of Klaus Schulze. I can’t recall the exact age, but suffice to say I was only familiar with Tangerine Dream, I believe, from one of the cuts available on the DVD of Ridley Scott’s Legend, and I’d certainly never heard of Ash Ra Tempel. I was already a fledgling Eno stan, and Schulze’s tapping into a somewhat similar vein – albeit from a very different approach – proved intoxicating.
For all the hype surrounding the ominous Irrlicht and the undeniable grandeur of X, it proved to be other works that I was most drawn to in my earliest days exploring the faded worlds he created; the psychedelic tilt of Moondawn, the ethereal beauty of Mirage. None of this is to take away from the acclaim of the former two albums, simply to illustrate the breadth and surprising variety of work that would at first appear to mine a narrow vein.
And, of course, Cyborg remained. The album felt both inhuman and deeply human at once, and listening, as corny as it might sound, my young mind felt it genuinely embodied how it might feel to be, well, a cyborg. It compelled both my unquenchable musical hunger and inner (ok, very outer) sci-fi nerd at once.
In truth, I never much ventured beyond the consensus of his peak era in the 70s, but now, as I – we – grieve at his passing, that allows me a real sense of excitement amidst my sorrow. The man never stopped working, and amassed a seriously impressive discography, with another album set for release in the near future: he’ll continue to compel us, even after his death. There is so much to explore. I take some measure of comfort in that.
If you’ve already explored his entire body of work, I hope returning to it will continue to stimulate you. If you’re only just learning his name today, I’m truly, genuinely, thrilled for you. There is so much to explore. The man may have left us, but there is much to be done.
1947 – 2022