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The Dark Side of the Moog VIII

 The Dark Side of the Moog VIII - PK 08/146 (also AW 034)
  Release Date: 31 May 1999
  Limitation: 2000

   Careful with the AKS, Peter      1.16.51
    Part I - VII

  all tracks written by Pete Namlook and Klaus Schulze

Well... this is - as anyone ought to expect - different from any of the other DSotM installments. After all, it is live. There is oodles more improvisation here than in any of the others. Namlook apparently likes to process the audience noise, as well as his own announcements, to the extent that I can't understand a thing he's saying. It sounds cool, though. :-)

Let's get started: Part 1 - 25:16 - We start with some heavily processed voice overs, and Klaus puts down the beats and bass line. It definitely sounds like much of his recent solo music. We then get some nice trumpet-like soloing in the middle. Around 10:30, we start to hear processed audience noise. Gusts of wind @ 12:30. At ~17:00, Klaus gives us one of his typical melodies. At 21:55, the processed voice from the beginning returns, eventually becoming more and more frenetic. Squiggly noises signify the end of this very long beginning.

Part 2 - 1:12 - Annoying noise interlude fades into...

Part 3 - 6:19 - Beatless chord-melody. I can almost make out the sample in the passage at the beginning.

Part 4 - 8:08 - A loud foghorn thing wakes us up. This time Pete lays down the percussion and bass line. Klaus gives us more nice chords. Segues to...

Part 5 - Is >that< a trautonium? Sounds like a noise from one of the RILLY early Tangerine Dream albums, like Zeit. Nice, beatless chords with an up-front solo melody. Add a few more extraneous noises, and there you have it. Now that I've listened hard enough, I think many of the electronic noises are sampled from the intergalactic space probe at the beginning of the Empire Strikes Back. Segue...

Part 6 - 15:39 - A simple, Klausian sequence signals a going-somewhere. Eventually (~2:40), Namlook adds a percussion loop to the equation. Noises continue, then at about 4:20 a few Klausian chords enter and introduce a few modulations. At about 6;00, we calm down for about a minute, then return to the previous level of energy. At 7:40, we get one of those ominous 5-second catch-your-breath (or hold-your-breath!) silences that can seem like they last for a minute, then we return with the sequence, this time for one of Klaus' trademark solos.

Unfortunately, this is one of those things I don't like about Schulze. During his solos, he tends to get into a rut of playing the same 2 or 3 notes over and over again, leaving the listener wondering when he's going to move to a different part of the same octave. In addition, all of his live solo melodies over the past 15 years seem to sound the same to me. (Not all of the songs, just the solo melodies.) Incidentally, this is one reason I recently got rid of my Jubilee Edition. Truthfully, the solo here isn't quite as annoying, though he does get into a rut or two along the way. In the end, I like it.

Part 7 - 6:58 - Breakbeat laser tag! Pete breaks out with a rhythm track one might expect to hear from Loop Guru on espresso. :-) Over this we hear - well - laser tag. At 2;15, we get some nice chords, but the rhythm still makes me nervous.

Part 8 - 8:39 - The encore: We hear processed voices again. Can anyone decipher what someone is saying? This sounds like Klaus taking over again, with Pete merely providing the samples. No beats, no sequences, but Klaus gets rilly energetic in the middle (~4:30) with his solo. Again a lot of the same note for some of it, but still better than he has been. We calm down again at around 5:45, and end with all the processed audience applause. We even hear someone say "thank you". :-)

So, overall I give this an 8.5/10, mostly because of (IMO) Klaus' limitations performing live.

If you're a big Klaus Schulze fan, on the other hand, you will >love< this release. In this case, the album gets 12/10, and if you don't get a copy somehow, then you're REALLY missing out.

(review by Damon Capehart)

certainly the most stylistically diverse of the series, and, aside from dsotm 4, easily the most "active" and energetic of the lot. covers the whole gamut: from the slippery space-dub of the first track, to multiple, sinewy schulzian synth interludes, and a spirited little drum n' bass piece near the end. i've only given it an ear two or three times, but it's already quite possibly my favorite dsotm release. must have been a blast to see it performed live.

(review by joel)


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