Exposé Online banner

Greg Allen — Klaus Schulze – Electronic Music Legend
(Tafford ISBN 1425160506, 2008, TPB)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2014-06-17

Klaus Schulze – Electronic Music Legend Cover art

This new book about Klaus Schulze is a comprehensive discussion of the man and his music from an avid fan’s perspective. I am not sure who Greg Allen is, but he has compiled the information contained in this book from the Internet, interviews, personal experiences, and Klaus D. Mueller. The list of people interviewed is a rogue’s gallery of musicians who have worked with Klaus over his career: Harald Grosskopf, Dennis Rea, Joerg Schaaf, Michael Shrieve, Arthur Brown, Robert Rich, Julia Messenger, Thomas Kagermann, Kitaro, Marian Gold, Steve Roach, and of course the maestro himself Klaus Schulze.

The sixteen chapters describe the social conditions and attitudes in Germany that led to the rise of Krautrock and Klaus Schulze’s unique career, the different analog synths and keyboards Klaus used early on, a chronology of his early life, and then Greg’s personal reviews of Klaus’ recorded output broken into 4-year chunks intercut with some interviews (1972 – 1974, 1975 – 1979, 1980 – 1984, 1985 – 1989, 1990 – 1994, 1995 – 1999, 2000 – 2004, and 2005 – 2007). The book closes with appendices providing lists of Klaus’ recorded and officially released concerts and the film tracks Klaus has scored.

There are many photographs spanning Klaus’ career and album covers, mostly in black and white, but only eight pages of color photos. Many of these photos we’ve seen over the years on KS albums, articles, and the KS web site. There are some recent photos that have not been previously published that really show Klaus’ age. The 8 ½ x 11 size of the book allows for decent sized photos and makes this book a candidate for your coffee table.

My problems with the book are many:

1. I hate to fall into the trap of judging a book by its cover, but the beautiful cover led me to think that I would see similar color photos and artwork inside, but the book doesn’t deliver. Probably because they elected to go with basically copier paper which does not allow for good photo prints. A much better choice would have been glossy paper. Many of the details in the photos are lost by printing them using a black and white laser process.

2. The text is disjointed and does not flow smoothly from topic to topic or from paragraph to paragraph. I would have expected that the author’s approach to a biography would be to collect information from a variety of sources, analyze the data, and then write a coherent story in his own words. Instead we have many bulleted lists and text where Allen quotes someone talking about Klaus followed by another quote without any linking or transition language. It is almost as if Mr. Allen has never read a biography before.

3. The chapter about Klaus’ early equipment is particularly disjointed. To write this chapter all that Greg has really done was to copy and paste photos and descriptions from www.vintagesynth.com with the addition of a bare minimum of text making the descriptions relevant to Klaus Schulze. I am not exactly certain of the value of this chapter, because it really doesn’t come out in the text. The saving grace is Harald Grosskopf’s 1976 sketch of Klaus’ studio.

4. Interviews are fine, but they really should be published as standalone items in the book. Some of Greg’s are, but in other cases he snipped out a question and answer or two and inserted them in the middle of the text. That is not a typical method of conveying information. Normally an author will paraphrase an interview comment, integrate it into the story he or she is telling, and then footnote the source.

5. There are no footnotes of any kind in this book, which is surprising for a biography. Instead Greg uses a technique that I have never seen before. He references each source before he quotes it. This technique gets in the way of the readability of the book. He probably could have greatly shortened the book by using standard footnotes as some references are used more than once. It would also be nice for the reader if all of the references were collected in one location at end of each chapter or at the back of the book, which is standard procedure for most articles and biographies.

6. This book has no index, which is essential for the amount of information contained in this book. Neither are there any cross references or a glossary of terms that might be unfamiliar to the reader.

Clearly this book was a labor of love for Greg Allen. All of the album reviews are quotes from the CD reissue booklets, his reminiscences and personal opinions, and sometimes quotes from Internet reviews. I would have expected more of an analysis of the music, the times, and the fans, not one person’s perspective.

Despite the vast amount of information contained in this book, I was very disappointed with the result. This book is actually a vanity press, meaning anyone can contact Trafford Publishing, pay money, and have their book published. It definitely is not worth the price you have to pay.


Filed under: New releases, 2008 releases

Related artist(s): Robert Rich, Steve Roach, Klaus Schulze, Michael Shrieve, Dennis Rea, Arthur Brown, Harald Grosskopf

More info
http://www.trafford.com

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Red Jasper - The Winter's Tale – Hard on the heels of their fourth album A Midsummer Night's Dream, this latest offering from England's Red Jasper appears to be, conceptually at least, a companion piece to that album. The basic style...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues