Klaus Schulze, German electronic music pioneer and member of landmark Krautrock bands Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel and the Cosmic Jokers, died on Tuesday at the age of 74.
The news was made public today with a statement on Schulze’s social media channels. “In deepest sorrow, we have to inform you that Klaus has passed away yesterday on April 26, 2022, at the age of 74 after a long disease but all of a sudden,” the statement reads in part. “He leaves behind a huge musical legacy and is survived by his wife, two sons and four grandchildren. In his name and in the name of the family we would like to thank you for your loyalty and support over all these years – it has meant a lot to him!
“His music will remain, and our memories. There’s a lot more to write about him as person and artist, but he probably would have told us: nuff said! According to his wishes, we will bid farewell to him in the closest family circle. You know him and what he always said: My music is important, not my person.”
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Schulze got his start in the music industry drumming for Tangerine Dream on their 1970 debut album, Electronic Meditation. He left the group after its release and helped found Ash Ra Tempel, performing on their eponymous 1971 debut. Once again, he stuck with the group for only one album and promptly embarked on a solo career after leaving Ash Ra Tempel.
Schulze was wildly prolific, releasing more than 50 solo albums beginning with 1972’s Irrlicht and including highlights such as 1975’s Timewind, 1976’s Moondawn and 1979’s Dune. He is credited with shaping the “Berlin School,” a subgenre of electronic music that combined synth-based melodies with ambient and atonal soundscapes. Schulze’s contributions to the genre helped variously influence new-age music, techno, post-punk and post-rock.
Throughout the ’70s, Schulze also participated in several other collaborative projects, including the short-lived supergroup Go, which was formed by Japanese percussionist and composer Stomu Yamashta and also featured Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola and former Santana drummer Michael Shrieve. He also recorded several albums in the ’70s with the Krautrock supergroup and collective the Cosmic Jokers.
Schulze announced last month that he would release his latest studio album, Deus Arrakis, on June 10 via German label SPV. “We were shocked and saddened to hear the news of Klaus Schulze’s sudden death,” SPV managing director Frank Uhle said in a statement. “We lose and will miss a good personal friend — one of the most influential and important composers of electronic music — a man of conviction and an exceptional artist. Our thoughts in this hour are with his wife, sons and family. His always cheerful nature, his innovative spirit and his impressive body of work remain indelibly rooted in our memories.”
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