Royal Festival Hall, Volume 1 is the first album in a trilogy that includes a second volume, also recorded at Royal Festival Hall, as well the third album entitled The Dome Event. On Volume 1, Schulze's 45-minute keyboard suite called "Yen" is broken up into ten different subtitles, but the songs are all fused together by way of single-toned electronic streams and the faint pulsations of analog synthesizer riffs. Any rises or subtle explosions of brightness are few and far between, but the grouping of songs as a whole has a pleasant, mind-numbing effect. This music is extremely trying, and patience is crucial when hearing two straight minutes of a single note. The rhythms and tempos do fluctuate, but without any explosiveness, and the beauty of Schulze's keyboard intricacies lies in the manner in which he uses his electronics to form a mood and an environment. Although the music doesn't produce its chilling results in an instant, the smoothness and overall mechanical feel emerge halfway through, and the synthesizer begins to slowly warm the ears. The second track, entitled "Silence and Sequence," is a studio track in contrast to the live recording of "Yen." This 24-minute synthesized cavalcade contains more differentiation, both in pace and in vibrance. The "Fire-Riser" portion of this track is most entertaining, as Schulze demonstrates his articulation and his wise use of tonal blending. While Schulze's music remains on the more ambient, atmospheric side of electronic keyboard music (as opposed to Rick Wakeman's style), he still manages to muster up enough intrigue to keep his music listenable.
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AllMusic Review by Mike DeGagne