It's art's dirty little secret that a work often won't move an audience until they first make a leap of faith toward the artist. And for Klaus Schulze's small legion of leapers, Dreams is another modest triumph. The cover art seems to promise Zen 'n' EM, while in fact the title track may be the most disturbing piece Schulze has written. It starts with a symphony of street noises before painting (and that verb always seems to come up in a discussion of Schulze's music) a scene of barren, oppressive isolation. (If that description doesn't help, think of 2001: A Space Odyssey or TD's Rubycon.) "Five to Four" does work with Oriental colors, conjuring bells, gongs, and water drops that build toward some greater Om before lighting a fire under the arrangement. The opening "A Classical Move" and closing "Klaustrophony" are more typical of Schulze's late-'80s work: musical engines driven by cogs of varying size that result in uneven rhythms and intriguing if awkward strides. Unfortunately, the nearly half-hour "Klaustrophony" unravels midway through when Ian Wilkinson (uncredited on the Magnum America reissue) engages in a half-sung dialogue. Dreams isn't as well suited to meditation as some of Schulze's albums because the songs themselves are very different. The similar-sounding Miditerranean Pads, for example, transitioned better from song to song, but Dreams is at least its musical equal. Just be careful not to let the cover art cloud your perceptions; most of this music bears no connection to Oriental or Zen themes.
by Dave Connolly