lundi 5 juin 2017

Mirage : My musical « love at first sight »!

1980 – A real crush

It was in 1980 at the age of 15 that I discovered a new music coming from elsewhere, 
a new tone, an unknown world was going to open to me and somewhat by chance.

Among all the 33-rpm vinyl collection of my parents, a particular album got my attention. 

The particular look of the cover intrigued me. A distinctive style, a refined cover, a face, a name: Klaus Schulze, a title Mirage!

At this time, I did not know yet that by taking out the long-playing off its sleeve and that by putting it delicately on the record player the listening of it was going
to change my musical vision.

It was indeed a crush as from the first minutes!

Unknown sounds, a captivating atmosphere, a journey, a revelation. 
Yes, this record was a revelation to me.

On that day, I began to listen to face A then face B in a continuous loop. I analysed the musical structure, the length of the tracks, the tones, the sleeve, the editorial content. Everything went through.

Few days later, I went to the nearby record shop to find Klaus Schulze’s other albums.
Around me I only talked about my musical discovery.

My vision of Mirage

« Mirages are optical phenomena that are for real and that occur in specific circumstances »

The subtitle « eine elektronische winterlandschaft », an element of the cover that I overlooked at the time, and that can be translated to « an electronic winter landscape », remains a mystery to me.

Here is how I understand and see this album.

Side A: Velvet Voyage

With my very first listen, and despite this subtitle, it was on the contrary desert landscapes that sprang to my mind. I imagined sand dunes, heat, sun, with bright reverberations in the distance, mirages. 

I thought actually that the album title was a reference to the mirages one can see in the deserts. It’s the Sahara that in my eyes, matched the best the sonic space of this album.

In my opinion, in Velvet Voyage, the echoes we hear (it’s Klaus Schulze’s voice if I am not wrong) bring to mind a broad area, space, and little by little (6:20) the track moves towards an eastern atmosphere, where the shape of a caravan in the orange lights of a sunset appears to me in the far distance. I feel a dry and overwhelming heat.

I would like to point out that in this track, which is the most atmospheric in the album, one of the most subtle sequences in Klaus’ body of work can be heard, but it’s just my own opinion of course. This sequence is slowly building at 11:00 before growing and being more present from 13:00 on. I think this sequence is filled with « eastern » colours and is an introduction to side B. Even the first notes of the solos (from 15:55 on) sound to me in an eastern way. There are more and more optical phenomena in this torrid heat. I am all surrounded by this hot feeling and dazed by the smell of the sand. Strange.

« ... ottoman music, arabic music, developed their own modal systems with different features and rules, that include elements of cosmology (time, season or place where to play), morality (angry, sad, happy, etc.) and aesthetics (ascending pentatonic and descending heptatonic scales)» (Source : wikipedia)

« The most frequent type is the hot mirage, or inferior mirage, which develops when the temperature of the ground is very high (desert, asphalted road…) and looks like a lake of water » (Source :

Side B: Crystal Lake

The sole title made me right about my idea of mirages we see when it’s very hot. I could easily see through this fantastic sequence the light refractions growing as the lines of the sequence were becoming larger.

The heat is also growing, reaching its highest point when the first deep notes appear. I see again the shapes in the saharian back light, and I hear again eastern flavoured sounds when the solo starts (8:00), transporting me above the desert. It’s a truly eastern dance that starts. It’s good, it’s nice, and it’s almost « erotic »…
I share my feeling because I really like this passage (12:00), 

it’s right there that I literally fell in love with this music we call Berlin School !

The heat decreases little by little (14:00), it is even more languid, mirages slowly disappear, the sun bathes the dunes with its last rays. Caravans move slowly towards the oasis. A little wind (16:00) lifts up a soft and thin red dust. Night falls slowly and stars shine. The crimson colour appears. Notes (19:00) bring to mind arabic instruments. Towards (23:00), the sunrise is the sign of a new day in the desert. At (25:00) it’s the East in all its splendour! 

It’s simply NICE. I think about my wife.

This is how I see Mirage, it’s far from the winter landscapes, but close to the desert dunes, a Klaus Schulze album that I love with passion,

Sequentia Legenda

Let’s celebrate the 40 years
of Klaus Schulze’s album Mirage

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