Klaus Schulze: 'Forget electronica and prog, it's all just music'
A true musical maverick, Klaus Schulze has always rejected labels and genres of all kinds. Here he discusses his work outside music's boundaries
Klaus Schulze is an electronic music icon. Born in 1947, the German composer has produced some of the most influential work in the genre – if indeed the term ‘genre’ could ever really be applied to the hydra-headed beast that sprang forth from the birth of the synthesiser. When Schulze started out in the 60s, however, electronic music was a decidedly niche affair. Although many rock and pop bands showed interest in the nascent technology, those solely exploring synthesisers as a way of creating music were few and far between.
Originally a drummer, Schulze emerged onto the scene first as a member of Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel, and then via a series of stark, minimalist solo albums, which subsequently gave way to lush mid- to late-70s outings such as Timewind (1975), Moondawn (1976) and Mirage (1977) – landmark releases of the so-called ‘Berlin School’, which spawned a thousand imitators.
Like many musical pioneers, his career has veered between boundary-pushing and retrenchment, though his mindset and overall approach are nothing if not progressive, and much of his best-loved and most highly rated work stems from the period when prog rock was at its peak.