Klaus Schulze, German electronic music pioneer, dies aged 74 | Music

Klaus Schulze, the German multi-instrumentalist whose work with drones, pulses and synthesisers was massively influential on generations of digital music makers, has died aged 74.

Frank Uhle, managing director of Schulze’s label SVP, wrote: “We lose and will miss a good personal friend – one of the most influential and important composers of electronic music – a man of conviction and an exceptional artist. Our thoughts in this hour are with his wife, sons and family. His always cheerful nature, his innovative spirit and his impressive body of work remain indelibly rooted in our memories.”

Schulze, who briefly performed with the teams Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel earlier than going solo, created work that was pioneering in manifold methods: his epic digital soundscapes are seen as a basis of ambient and new age music, whereas his sense of rhythm, expressed in sequenced digital phrases, pointed the best way to techno, trance and different dance music genres.

Schulze circa 1972.
Schulze circa 1972. Photograph: INTERFOTO/Alamy

Schulze was born in Berlin in 1947, and performed a wide range of devices in a wide range of native bands, ultimately settling as drummer for Tangerine Dream in 1969. Led by Edgar Froese, Schulze performed on their debut album, however quickly left to kind one other group, Ash Ra Tempel, with guitarist Manuel Gottsching and bassist Hartmut Enke. This partnership additionally solely lasted one album – their 1971 self-titled debut – earlier than Schulze left to start a solo profession, although he briefly rejoined the band within the Seventies and 2000s.

His first solo launch was Irrlicht in 1972, a composition in 4 components that concerned Schulze manipulating a damaged organ, recordings of an orchestra and an amplifier to create a towering wall of sound. He started utilizing synthesisers along with his subsequent album, Cyborg, the next yr, and went on to construct an unlimited discography that ultimately numbered round 50 albums, together with dwell albums and soundtrack recordings.

Key releases embody Timewind (1975), which used an early sequencer to create hypnotic repeating patterns – later a key constructing block of dance music – and 1979’s Dune, impressed by the Frank Herbert sci-fi novel. His fascination with Dune continued effectively into later life: he collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack to Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar-winning 2021 movie adaptation, and Schulze’s last album, Deus Arrakis, was additionally impressed by Dune – it’s due for launch in June.

He labored as a producer for different artists together with Dead Can Dance singer Lisa Gerrard – the pair additionally recorded dwell albums collectively – and pop band Alphaville. He additionally collaborated on an 11-album sequence with musician Pete Namlook, primarily based across the Moog synthesiser, utilizing the punning title Dark Side of the Moog. In the mid-Seventies, he recorded two studio albums with a supergroup, Go, that additionally featured bandleader Stomu Yamashta alongside Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola and Michael Shrieve.

Schulze is survived by his spouse, two sons and 4 grandchildren.

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