Klaus Schulze

Klaus Schulze (born 4 August 1947) is a German electronic music pioneer,[1] composer and musician. He also used the alias Richard Wahnfried. He was briefly a member of the Krautrock bands Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, and The Cosmic Jokers before launching a solo career consisting of more than 60 albums released across five decades.

Klaus Schulze
Klaus Schulze with Lisa Gerrard, 2009
Background information
Born (1947-08-04) 4 August 1947
OriginBerlin, Germany
Occupation(s)Musician, producer
InstrumentsKeyboards, synthesiser, sequencer, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, vocals
Years active1969–present
LabelsOhr, Brain/PolyGram, Virgin, Metronome, Manikin Records, Island, IC, Inteam, ZYX, WEA, Rainhorse, Synthetic Symphony, FAX
Associated actsTangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, The Cosmic Jokers



In 1969, Klaus Schulze was the drummer of one of the early incarnations of Tangerine Dream for their debut album Electronic Meditation.[2] Before 1969 he was a drummer in a band called Psy Free. He met Edgar Froese from Tangerine Dream in the Zodiac Club in Berlin in that time West-Germany. In 1970 he left this group to form Ash Ra Tempel[2] with Manuel Göttsching and Hartmut Enke. In 1971, he chose again to leave a newly formed group after only one album, this time to mount a solo career. In 1972, Schulze released his debut album Irrlicht with organ and a recording of an orchestra filtered almost beyond recognition. Despite the lack of synthesizers, this proto-ambient work is regarded as a milestone in electronic music.[3] The follow-up, Cyborg, was similar but added the EMS VCS 3 synthesiser.

Since this point, Schulze's career has been most prolific, and he can now claim more than 40 original albums to his name since Irrlicht. Highlights of these include 1975's Timewind, 1976's Moondawn (his first album to feature the Moog synthesiser), 1979's Dune, and 1995's double-album In Blue (which featured one long track called Return To The Tempel with electric guitar contributions from his friend Manuel Göttsching of Ash Ra Tempel). In 1976, he was drafted by Japanese percussionist and composer Stomu Yamashta to join his short-lived "supergroup" Go,[2] also featuring Steve Winwood, Michael Shrieve, and Al Di Meola. They released two studio albums (Go in 1976 and Go Too in 1977) and one live album (Go Live from Paris, 1976), which went on to become a cult favourite.

Throughout the 1970s he followed closely in the footsteps of Tangerine Dream, albeit with far lighter sequencer lines and a more reflective, dreamy sheen, not unlike the ambient music of his contemporary Brian Eno. On occasions he would also compose film scores, including horror and thriller movies such as Barracuda (1978) and Next of Kin (1982). It is to be noted that some of his lighter albums are appreciated by new-age music fans, despite the fact that Schulze has always denied connections to this genre.[4] By mid-decade, with the release of Timewind and Moondawn, his style transformed from Krautrock to Berlin School.

Klaus Schulze had a more organic sound than other electronic artists of the time. Often he would throw in decidedly non-electronic sounds such as acoustic guitar and a male operatic voice in Blackdance, or a cello in Dune (1979) and Trancefer. Schulze developed a Minimoog technique that sounds uncannily like an electric guitar, which is quite impressive in concert. Schulze often takes German events as a starting point for his compositions, a notable example being on his 1978 album "X" (the title signifying it was his tenth album), subtitled "Six Musical Biographies", a reference to such notables as Ludwig II of Bavaria, Friedrich Nietzsche, Georg Trakl, and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. His use of the pseudonym Richard Wahnfried is indicative of his interest in Richard Wagner, a clear influence on some albums like the aforementioned Timewind.


In the 1980s Schulze started using digital instruments besides the usual analog synthesizers, and his work accordingly became less experimental and more accessible. Although the switch to using digital equipment is audible in the style of Dig It (1980), it was not until the release of Trancefer (1981) that the shift in style became evident. Trancefer was far more obviously reliant on sequencers than previous recordings, and the resultant effect transformed Schulze's style from gentle melodic journeys to an ever-growing crescendo of music consisting of multi-layered rhythmical passages. This is particularly noteworthy in the Trancefer's first track "A Few Minutes After Trancefer", although the second track "Silent Running" is more reminiscent of Schulze's earlier works.

This newer style can also be found in Schulze's next release Audentity. Both "Cellistica" and "Spielglocken" are composed in a similar sequencer-based style as on Trancefer, but this is certainly not the case of all of Audentity's tracks; indeed, "Sebastian im Traum" hints towards the operatic style to be found in some of Schulze's much later works. The predominance of sequencing can also be found in the follow-up live album Dziękuję Poland Live '83, although many of its tracks are re-workings of those to be found on Audentity. Schulze's next studio-based album Angst (soundtrack to the namesake 1983 film) moved away from the harshness of the sharp, heavily sequenced style of the three previous albums and, once again, had the more "organic feel" of earlier recordings.

Another highlight of this era was En=Trance with the dreamy cut "FM Delight". The album Miditerranean Pads marked the beginning of very complex percussion arrangements that continued through the next two decades.

In 1989, German band Alphaville released their album The Breathtaking Blue, on which Klaus Schulze was both a contributing musician and the album's producer.


Starting with Beyond Recall, the first half of the 1990s was the notorious "sample" period, when Schulze used a wide variety of prerecorded sounds such as screeching birds and sensuous female moans in his studio albums and live performances. Sampling was such an unpopular diversion that when In Blue was released in 1995 without samples it was hailed as a return to form. The decade also saw the release of copious amounts of previously unreleased material, of varying quality, in several limited-edition boxed sets. Some live recordings were discovered on pristine but forgotten reels of tape which had been used to provide echo in concerts.


In 2005 he began re-releasing his classic solo and Wahnfried albums with bonus tracks of unreleased material recorded at roughly the same time as the original works. In the last several years, Schulze has produced albums and staged numerous live appearances with Lisa Gerrard.


With the release of his fortieth album (Big in Japan: Live in Tokyo 2010) in September 2010, Klaus Schulze entered his fifth decade as a solo musician. His next album, Shadowlands, was released in February 2013, quickly to be followed by the release of The Schulze–Schickert Session 1975, a rare long-unreleased collaboration, in March 2013.[5]

Also in 2013 Klaus Schulze announced that he would not be performing live on stage anymore.

Richard Wahnfried

Richard Wahnfried, then simply Wahnfried after 1993, is the long-time and only real alias for Klaus Schulze – originally a pseudonym, later an official side project name. Seven albums were released under this name between 1979 and 1997.

The main characteristics of the Wahnfried albums (as opposed to Schulze's regular works) are:

  • Often being oriented towards more mainstream genres (some would say "more commercial"), such as rock, dance, techno, and trance.
  • Always allowing for collaborative and less electronic albums, with known or unknown guest musicians performing along Schulze's synths.

The pseudonym's etymology stems from Schulze's love for Richard Wagner:

  • Richard, evidently from Wagner's first name. Richard is also the name of Schulze's first son.
  • Wahnfried ("Peace from delusion and/or madness", in German), from the name Wagner gave to his villa in Bayreuth (and where he was later buried).

In his 1975 album Timewind (four years before the first alias use), Schulze had already named a track "Wahnfried 1883" (in reference to Wagner's death and burial in his Wahnfried's garden in 1883). The other track on Timewind is called "Bayreuth Return". After 1993, the albums are simply credited to "Wahnfried", and namedrop Schulze ("featuring Klaus Schulze", "Produced by Klaus Schulze").

"Wahnfried" is the only known alias of Schulze (albeit on the 1998 Tribute to Klaus Schulze album, among 10 other artists, Schulze contributed one track barely hidden behind the "Schulzendorfer Groove Orchester" pseudonym).



Schulze's concert performances are original compositions recorded live and thus listed as albums. An intensive reissue program of Schulze CDs began in 2005, with most releases having bonus tracks, and sometimes additional discs. They are published by the label Revisited Records (a division of German company InsideOut Music), and distributed by SPV.

Year Title Reissued
1972 Irrlicht 2006
1973 Cyborg 2007
1974 Blackdance 2007
1975 Picture Music 2005
1975 Timewind 2006
1976 Moondawn 2005
1977 Body Love (soundtrack) 2005
1977 Mirage 2005
1977 Body Love Vol. 2 2007
1978 X 2005
1979 Dune 2005
1980 ...Live... (live) 2007
1980 Dig It 2005
1981 Trancefer 2006
1983 Audentity 2005
1983 Dziękuję Poland Live '83 (live) 2006
1984 Angst (soundtrack) 2005
1985 Inter*Face 2006
1986 Dreams 2005
1988 En=Trance 2005
1990 Miditerranean Pads 2005
1990 The Dresden Performance (live)
1991 Beyond Recall
1992 Royal Festival Hall Vol. 1 (live)
1992 Royal Festival Hall Vol. 2 (live)
1993 The Dome Event (live)
1994 Le Moulin de Daudet (soundtrack) 2005
1994 Goes Classic
1994 Totentag
1994 Das Wagner Desaster Live (live) 2005
1995 In Blue 2005
1996 Are You Sequenced? (live) 2006
1997 Dosburg Online 2006
2001 Live @ KlangArt (live) 2008
2005 Moonlake
2007 Kontinuum
2008 Farscape (with Lisa Gerrard)
2008 Rheingold (live, with Lisa Gerrard)
2009 Dziękuję Bardzo (live, with Lisa Gerrard)
2010 Big in Japan: Live in Tokyo 2010 (live)
2013 Shadowlands
2013–14 Big in Europe (live, with Lisa Gerrard)
2014 Stars Are Burning (live)
2017 Eternal: The 70th Birthday Edition
2018 Silhouettes
2019 Next of Kin


Year Title Reissued
1985 Macksy Released as maxi single only
1994 Conquest of Paradise Partially reissued on La Vie Electronique 14

(Richard) Wahnfried albums

Composed by Schulze and performed with guest artists under alias Richard Wahnfried or later just Wahnfried:

Year Title Reissued
1979 Time Actor 2011
1981 Tonwelle 2012
1984 Megatone
1986 Miditation 2012
1994 Trancelation 2019
1996 Trance Appeal 2007
1997 Drums 'n' Balls (The Gancha Dub) 2006
2000 Trance 4 Motion 2018
^ This album was issued as the third disc of Contemporary Works I.

Boxed sets

Between 1993 and 2002 Klaus Schulze released several limited edition boxed sets, all composed of non-album material.

1993Silver Edition102000
1995Historic Edition102000
1997Jubilee Edition251000
2000The Ultimate Edition501
2000Contemporary Works I10
2002Contemporary Works II522002
^1 Collecting Silver, Historic, and Jubilee sets, with additional 5 discs.
^2 A bonus sixth disc included with the first 333 copies.

Reissues from sets

Year Title From
2005 Vanity of Sounds Contemporary Works I (2000)
2006 The Crime of Suspense Contemporary Works I (2000)
2006 Ballett 1 Contemporary Works I (2000)
2006 Ballett 2 Contemporary Works I (2000)
2007 Ballett 3 Contemporary Works I (2000)
2007 Ballett 4 Contemporary Works I (2000)
2008 Virtual Outback Contemporary Works II (2002)
2009 La Vie Electronique 1 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2009 La Vie Electronique 2 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2009 La Vie Electronique 3 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2009 La Vie Electronique 4 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2010 La Vie Electronique 5 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2010 La Vie Electronique 6 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2010 La Vie Electronique 7 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2010 La Vie Electronique 8 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2011 La Vie Electronique 9 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2011 La Vie Electronique 10 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2012 La Vie Electronique 11 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2012 La Vie Electronique 12 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2013 La Vie Electronique 13 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2014 La Vie Electronique 14 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2014 La Vie Electronique 15 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2015 La Vie Electronique 16 The Ultimate Edition (2000)
2016 Privée Contemporary Works I (2000)
2016 Another Green Mile Contemporary Works II (2002)
2017 Androgyn Contemporary Works II (2002)
2017 Ultimate Docking Contemporary Works I (2000)
2018 Trance 4 Motion Contemporary Works I (2000)
2018 Cocooning Contemporary Works II (2002)
2019 Timbres of Ice Contemporary Works II (2002)

The Dark Side of the Moog series

The Dark Side of the Moog is a Klaus Schulze collaboration with Pete Namlook (joined also by Bill Laswell on volumes 4 to 7). Each title is a distortion of Pink Floyd song and album titles.

YearTitlePink Floyd Title
1994The Dark Side of the Moog: Wish You Were There"Wish You Were Here"
1994The Dark Side of the Moog II: A Saucerful of Ambience"A Saucerful of Secrets"
1995The Dark Side of the Moog III: Phantom Heart Brother"Atom Heart Mother"
1996The Dark Side of the Moog IV: Three Pipers at the Gates of DawnThe Piper at the Gates of Dawn
1996The Dark Side of the Moog V: Psychedelic Brunch"Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast"
1997The Dark Side of the Moog VI: The Final DAT"The Final Cut"
1998The Dark Side of the Moog VII: Obscured by Klaus"Obscured by Clouds"
1999The Dark Side of the Moog VIII: Careful With the AKS, Peter"Careful with That Axe, Eugene"
2002The Dark Side of the Moog: The Evolution of the Dark Side of the Moog
2002The Dark Side of the Moog IX: Set the Controls for the Heart of the Mother"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"
"Atom Heart Mother"
2005The Dark Side of the Moog X: Astro Know Me Domina"Astronomy Domine"
2008The Dark Side of the Moog XI: The Heart of Our Nearest Star"Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"

The Evolution of the Dark Side of the Moog is a compilation album, containing excerpts from the first 8 volumes. The series was announced as officially concluded with volume 10 when on 21 March 2005 at 14:52 CET, Pete Namlook sold the Big Moog synthesizer that was the symbol of the series. However, a volume 11 appeared on Namlook's website on 15 April 2008 (and was released in a box set of volumes 9–11).[6]


1970Electronic MeditationTangerine Dream
1971Ash Ra TempelAsh Ra Tempel
1973TarotWalter Wegmüller
1973Join InnAsh Ra Tempel
1973Lord Krishna von GolokaSergius Golowin
1974The Cosmic JokersThe Cosmic Jokers
1974Planeten Sit-InThe Cosmic Jokers
1974Galactic SupermarketThe Cosmic Jokers
1974Sci Fi PartyThe Cosmic Jokers
1974Gilles ZeitschiffThe Cosmic Jokers
1974Planet of ManCode III
1976Go Live from ParisGo
1977Go TooGo
1979French SkylineEarthstar
1984AphricaRainer Bloss and Ernst Fuchs
1984Drive InnRainer Bloss
1984Transfer Station BlueMichael Shrieve and Kevin Shrieve
1987BabelAndreas Grosser
2000FriendshipAsh Ra Tempel
2000Gin Rosé at the Royal Festival HallAsh Ra Tempel
2009Come QuietlyLisa Gerrard
2013The Schulze–Schickert SessionGünter Schickert


  • 2003 Andromeda
  • 2004 Ion
  • 2009 Hommage à Polska (with Lisa Gerrard)


  • 1991 2001
  • 1994 The Essential 72–93
  • 1999 Trailer

Lone tracks

This list includes only the tracks remaining uncollected after Lone Tracks (CD 50 of The Ultimate Edition) and La Vie Electronique volumes.

  • 1993 "Nachtmusik Schattenhaft"– On the A Brief History of Ambient – Volume 2: Imaginary Landscapes compilation
  • 2002 "Manikin Jubilee" – On the Manikin Records: First Decade 1992–2002 compilation limited to 777 copies
  • 2003 "CrazyShow" – on CrazyShow (Alphaville)
  • 2003 "The Opium Den" – on CrazyShow (Alphaville)
  • 2008 "Zenit" – On Sehnsucht Live (Schiller)
  • 2008 "Invisible Musik" – On the Muting the Noise 01 compilation
  • 2011 "Train by Train" – Chrysta Bell (Klaus Schulze Remix)

See also


  1. DeGagne, Mike. X at AllMusic. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  2. Ankeny, Jason. Klaus Schulze: Biography & History at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  3. Brenholts, Jim. Irrlicht/Dune at AllMusic. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  4. "Klaus Schulze – Interview "It's the Player not the Tools"". November 1994. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  5. "Klaus Schulze & Günter Schickert – The Schulze-Schickert Session". Norman Records UK. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  6. "PK 08/182". Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
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