maandag 5 december 2022


Since a couple of years I am aiming to visit Paris at least once a year.
When I planned to go in April 2020, the pandemic kept me from going.
So it felt really good to finally be able to return again to one of my favourite cities, to have a great time and met some dear friends.

I stayed at - my good friend - Dominique Perrier's house from Saturday November 26th until Wednesday 30th.
During the days I took the train from his place to Montparnasse train station.

Together with Marie-Laure.
Saturday, the day of my arrival, I met with Marie-Laure Leboucher (C.Zen Prod) at La Défense. She also brought some new stock from Space Art and Francis Rimbert albums with her. After our meeting I travelled to Dominique, which also was a very pleasant reunion.

For the following days I had a small list of adresses (mainly music and retro game stores) which I wanted to visit these days. But in the end I only visited a couple of them, because I spent a lot of time to 'just' wandering around and absorb the atmosphere. In the end I only bought myself one CD and 4 special LP's for a friend.

Montparnasse view.
While I spent largest part of the time at the Les Halles area, I also visited the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur (looking over Paris by night), and went on top of the Montparnasse Tower for the first time. The 360 / panorama view was very impressive.

Some times I also watched some parts of the World Championship soccer matches on big screen.
With Michel and Dominique.
The time I was together with Dominique, we had 
good conversations, watched film, and I had the privilege to hear new Space Art music. Actually it's the music for a new Space Art album, which Dominique again wants to have released on my Deserted Island Music label.
Again, Tommy Rizzitelli (who unfortunately didn't have time to meet up these days) took place behind the drums for the new album, and Michel Geiss is going to take care of the mastering. Tuesday evening I finally got to meet with Michel in person, who came along Dominique's home. Besides discussing various (musical) topics, Michel exposed as a real storyteller. Loved it! We had a very joyful evening.

January programme
at IRCAM entrance.
Then, I impulsively decided to go back again to Paris the weekend of Janary 14th, 2023. This time together with some friends. We will visit Jean Michel Jarre's concerts at the IRCAM. Around that time I also expect to have more details about the upcoming Space Art album.

And last, but not least, Dominique gave me a couple of discs from his collaboration with Michel Valy from 2010, "Temps Réel". As well as he autographed some copies of his latest Space Art CD "Entrevues". Both are available from the Deserted Island Music webshop. Don't wait too long, as these titles (and in particular "Temps Réel") might not be added again as soon as they are sold out.

New studio

After September's Grote Kerk event, I started to move my studio. My large room had to be swapped with the smaller sleeping room of my son, who definitely needed more space.

In the meanwhile I moved most of the equipment, but a couple of instruments didn't make it to the new place. Unfortunately, but on the other hand it's good to be forced to make a selection (although there still is too much), because I simply didn't use a lot of the equipment.
On one part of the wall ten keyboards are stacked. I custom-made the desk which offers space for 44 HE rack units. And there is another stand for my Korg Kronos (which I am using as master keyboard) and mixing desk, and offering space below for another 6 HE rack units (which I partially have in use for some patchbays).
I also purchased proper stands for my studio monitors.

Considering different and more compact setups, especially keeping in mind the limited space, I decided to keep my large Behringer MX8000 mixer, because of the workflow I have gotten used to.

In the meanwhile the studio is fully operational again. Only having to find some time to work on new projects again.

donderdag 28 april 2022

In memoriam: Klaus Schulze

Musical hero, inspirator and artist who had the biggest impact on my music in every thinkable way, has passed away on Tuesday at the age of 74.

Klaus Schulze in 2022.
Without any doubt Klaus Schulze and his music have been most noticeable influences for my music throughout the years. Although I have always had a fascination for the electronic music genre since I was 8 or 9 years, Klaus Schulze (whose music I actually discovered 5 or 6 years later) in my eyes has always been an exceptional phenomenon who was capable of letting electronic music sound more human and organic than any other synthesist I have ever known could have managed. Whether it was solo, under his pseudonym Richard Wahnfriend, with Ash Ra Tempel, or as collaboration with artists like Manuel Göttsching, Harold Grosskopf, Wolfgang Tiepold, Arthur Brown, Michael Shrieve, Rainer Bloss, Pete Namlook, Jörg Schaaf, Roelof Oostwoud or Lisa Gerrard, to name a few.

Dreams (1986).
"Dreams" and "Miditerrenean Pads" were the first Klaus Schulze albums I got to listen to. While the latter sounded like something I had never heard before at that time, "Dreams" appeared to be an extremely close identification of how I experience my dreams and how I approach my own music. Although with a wink, the album's original working title "Klaustrophony" suggests even more how close this album must also have been to Schulze himself. The record company rejected this title because of commercial reasons, but the album's infamous closing track still retained this title. So from that very first moment I have felt a clear connection with most of Klaus' musical output.

Amongst the so many albums (more than 40 and far over 100 releases) Schulze released since the early 70s, there are a lot of instant classics including "Timewind", "Moondawn", "Mirage", "X" and "Dune". However, for me "Dreams" (specifically the original 5 tracks release on the Brain label) always topped this list. Besides what I have just mentioned, this might also be because Klaus' mid / late 80s were relatively 'less productive', and his music sounded more balanced again at this point after the chaotic early 80s output of his Poland era.

For a lot of my solo concerts, the 1997 "Dosburg Online" concert and its structure continues to be a source of inspiration. The tension and variation of this performance is absolutely brilliant from the beginning to the end.

Kontinuum (2007).
Recent years Schulze's musical output became more of a routine and eventually therepeutical rather than it contained artistic highlights. When "Kontinuum" was released in 2007 I was absolutely overwhelmed by its content. Never expected Klaus Schulze to be this intense and emotional again. This masterpiece always felt like it could have been Schulze's final album. Which wasn't the case for the 15 years that followed. 

Still, so many people associate electronic music with computers, DJ's, robots, the universe, or whatsoever. But there are so many acts involving electronics without even having any connections with any of the above. Yes, the equipment is and remains something (that can be) automated, but in the end it's the artist who should make this equipment come to life. And Klaus mastered that like no one else.

Outside the fact if you like his music or not, most of Klaus' logical sounding chord progressions and naturally evolving transitions made largest part of his music sound familiar and approachable.
The combination of detailed, stretched out and layered storylines, progressing themes, and speaking leads let his compositions come to life and breath even more. And there are still not many artists who managed to do the thing what Klaus did during his 50 years career.

Klaus Schulze live at the Loreley (2008).
In the late 60s Klaus Schulze was groundbreaking, experimenting together with artists and bands like Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Tangerine Dream, Amon Düül and Neu!, as part of the Zodiac Free Arts Lab.
What they did was different and opposite from the mainstream. After this short-lived movement, Klaus continued to pioneer and focused on his own musical journey. First with the drums, adding a Farfisa organ and VCS3, even orchestra, and involving more electronica with the years, followed by his famouns wall of synths, always the eye-cather during his live shows.

I was lucky to attend concerts in Cologne (Kickzone, 1999), Osnabrück (KlangArt Festival, 2001), Loreley (Night of the Prog, 2008) and Amsterdam (Melkweg, 2009).
And I already bought a ticket for what was announced as his last concert ever, planned for 2016 in Poland. Due to Klaus' health issues, this concert was cancelled.
Klaus Schulze's appearance on stage always was charismatic and magical. Already before striking the first note, he got the audience's sympathy with his kind and humoristic personality.
Although he had always been surrounded with a lot of keys and knobs during his concerts, it always was the man behind these keys and knobs who let the magic happen.

Together with Klaus Schulze and Ewout Koek (2001).

After the Osnabrück concert in 2001, I got to speak to my musical hero. At that time I just released my first official cd, "The Art of Imagination", which I presented to Klaus.
Despite the fact that Klaus Schulze has always been a solitary musician, who mainly focussed on his own music, he kindly accepted my album.
We had a small talk about my music, and Klaus had to smile when I told him that people mentioned me as his follower-up. Which, indeed, was way too much credit after having just released two albums back then.

A lot of wonderful memories. The train trip to Cologne. Smuggling recording equipment into the concert site of Kickzone. Getting Klaus' first autograph after the performance. Trying to get a fully booked train earlier after the concert because all nearby hotels were also fully booked and we haven't had any sleep for more than 24 hours. The bus trip to Osnabrück. Getting recognised abroad as artists for the first time, at the KlangArt Festival. Smuggling recording equipment into the venue, and finding out that there was no security check at all. The excitement when Klaus started the sequence during the second part of the show in Osnabrück. Klaus sitting on the stage to chat and sign after the concert when there were left only a handful of fans at the venue.

Deus Arrakis (2022)

One of my most memorable concert experiences without doubt was when Klaus Schulze and Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard joined forces, and performed at the Freilichtbühne Loreley, St. Goarshausen, as part of the second Night of the Prog Festival in 2009. It was magical and moving, and at some points highly emotional. Part of these emotions are now coming back again.

Klaus, thank you for being part of my life. Without your music my musical world would definitely have been something completely different.

Sadly Klaus Schulze didn't make it to the release of his new album "Deus Arrakis", which will be released posthumously on June 11th.

Klaus Schulze
4-8-1947 - 26-4-2022.