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(Credit: Klaus Schulze)

Music

Pioneering electronic composer Klaus Schulze has died aged 74

@SamWKemp

German multi-instrumentalist and composer, Klaus Schulze, has died aged 74. His work with synthesizers influenced an entire generation of electronic musicians. Schulze’s family confirmed the news with a statement posted on his social media page, in which they revealed that the musician died “suddenly and unexpectedly” on April 26th.

In the statement, they wrote: “Not only does he leave a great musical legacy, but also a wife, two sons and four grandchildren. On behalf of him and the family, we would like to thank you for your loyalty and support throughout the years – it has meant a lot.”

They added: “His music will live on, and so will our memories. There was still so much to write about him as a human and artist, but he probably would have said by now: ‘Nuff said!’ The farewell will take place in the closest family circle, just as he wished. You know what he was like: his music matters, not his person.”

Klaus Schulze was born in Berlin in 1947 and began his career in the 1970s, at which time he performed with Krautrock pioneers Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Temple before embarking on a solo career. Irrlicht, his 1972 debut, was a four-part composition that saw Schulze blend warped organ arrangments and orchestral samples to create a dense wall of sound.

Over the next 50 years of his career, Schulze released around 50 solo albums, the most significant of which were 1975’s Timewind, 1976’s Moondawn and 1979’s Dune, the latter of which took its name from the Frank Herbert sci-fi novel. Schulze’s lush soundscapes are regarded as the foundation of ambient music, while his exploration of polyrhythmic electronic rhythms went on to inspire a whole raft of electronic dance genres, including techno and trance.

Schulz was also a prolific collaborator. In 1976, he formed the supergroup Go with Japanese percussionist Stomu Yamashta, Al Di Meola, Steve Winwood and Michael Shrieve. Together, they released two studio albums and one live recording. He also collaborated with Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard and synth poppers Alphaville. The news of Schulze’s passing comes shortly after he announced his latest album Deus Arrakis, which was also inspired by the Dune books. It was slated for release on June 10th. You can check out the lead single for Deus Arrakis below.