Personnel: Klaus Schulze (keyboards); Arthur Brown (vocals); Wolfgang Tiepold (cello).
Klaus Schulze had acknowledged his admiration for Frank Herbert on X, so the decision to devote a new work to Herbert's brilliant novel, Dune, isn't unexpected. What is surprising is how good this piece is; from the opening amorphous forms and alien sounds to the stately synthesizer music that rises by midway, "Dune" is one of Schulze's finest moments. Perhaps it's the absence of percussion or the presence of Wolfgang Tiepold's cello that elevates the musical discussion, but for the first half of this record Schulze throws his hat in with the modern classical masters of the late 20th century and holds his own. Given the somewhat uneven nature of Schulze's catalog, "Dune" is an absolute treasure, filled with subtle shadings and bold colors that seem to represent man's superstitious approximation of the elements of ether. "Shadows of Ignorance" reintroduces percussion and sequencer-driven structure, making the leap from Phaedra to Rubycon in one album. Although the piece contains a long poem written by Schulze, only the initial narration proves problematic, when the music is unfairly back-shelved. But the bulk of Klaus' existential observations are delivered by a half-singing/half-chanting Arthur Brown in harmony with the electronic music and balanced nicely by the cello. The mix of vocals and electronic music does create an interesting kind of Steve Hillage/Tangerine Dream hybrid, and in the end the vocals simply become another point of meditation. Although Klaus Schulze has carved out a style separate and distinct from Tangerine Dream, Dune is more steeped in TD's "classic" idioms than many of his works, making it a logical entryway to his catalog for curious Dream-ers. ~ Dave Connolly