In 1969, Klaus Schulze joined Tangerine Dream, a creative German band which created the genre of electronic rock. However, in 1969 it was still in its formative stage, where there was no musical direction specified, where there were absolutely no limits imposed on the creativity of members. As it was, the only album of Tangerine Dream Klaus Schulze contributed to was "Electronic Meditation", published in 1970, slightly before the differences between Edgar Froese, the leader of the band, and Klaus � went beyond the point of reconciliation. Schulze felt oppressed in the band, since his freedom of expression was not appreciated. In consequence, Klaus split from the band, and after a brief adventure with a krautrock band, Ash Ra Temple, he launched a solo career in early 1972.
His first attempts were not exactly successful, for "Irrlicht" as a musical material was not too attractive for the bosses of the recording companies. Klaus is fond of retelling the anecdote that when he played "Irrlicht" for one of the decision-makers, the latter writhed and requested that the tape stop, or otherwise he would lose his sanity. Schulze's music was then referred to as the sound of abrasive wheels screeching on metal. Indeed, that was an accurate metaphor, for one of the tracks features exactly those sounds � or at least they appear like that! Nevertheless, he was lucky to find a publisher in "Brain", an adventurous German company deeply rooted in the flower-power counterculture of the 60s. Idealistic as it was, the company later went bankrupt. However, one should not under appreciate its contribution to the development of music. Its mecenate over the wild penniless musicians allowed them to survive, and be heard. If you are not heard, then whatever the quality of your music, you are bound to fail � an old truth, indeed.
This said, we have a unique opportunity to evaluate "Irrlicht" from the perspective of exactly 20 years. Does it sound innovative? Yes. Is it pioneering? Again, yes. Was it prophetic for Schulze's career? Yes, yes, yes. In fact, this earliest recording of Klaus Schulze bears the stigma of all his works, to this day. It's highly monotonous, sometimes atonal, with themes developing very slowly over the space of several minutes. Indeed, Klaus has never failed to deliver the length � it was as if he stretched the medium to the maximum, accepted a given limit, and tried to completely fill it in. At times, he fails to deliver as much interesting material, other times, the whole album is interesting and enchanting. Whichever the case, one thing is true on Irrlicht as much as on all other records of Klaus Schulze � he remained consistent with his artistic vision of creating music which does not conform to any rules but his own, creating electronic music of meditation. Ironically, he took the Tangerine Dream album title he contributed to � as his motto. Electronic Meditation.