Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tangerine Dream - 1972 - Zeit

Tangerine Dream 

01. Birth Of Liquid Plejades (20:00)
02. Nebulous Dawn (18:00)
03. Origin Of Supernatural Probabilities (20:12)
04. Zeit (17:43)

- Edgar Froese / Gliss guitar, several noise generators
- Christoph Franke / VCS 3 synth, cymbals, keyboards
- Peter Baumann / VCS 3 synth, organ, vibraphon
- Steve Schroeder / organ
- Florian Fricke / Moog synth
- Christian Vallbracht, Jochen Von Grumbcow, Hans Joachim Brune & Johannes Lucke / cello

 Unbelievable stuff. This is truly an album that divides the listeners big time. Some call it genius, others call it a big piece of crap. Giving the ratings I gave it, I'm obviously with the former. This was the album that premiered Peter Baumann to the fold, who would stick with the band until 1977. There is nothing rock about this album. What you get is lots of spacy electronic effects that spans over two discs, each piece lasting 17-22 minutes.
"Birth of Liquid Plejades" starts off with a cello quartet (I believe one of the cellists was a member of HOELDERLIN), which is extremely sinister sounding, helped further with strange electronic manipulation of the cellos. Eventually the cellos disappears, and a Moog kicks in (from Florian Fricke, of POPOL VUH, who was a guest here). This seems to be one of Fricke's last recording with the Moog, before he turned to religion and to the piano and away from the Moog. There is some organ in the background. Here previous member Steve Schroyder makes a guest (he would later join ASH RA TEMPEL for "Seven Up"). Then at the end is this very trippy, PINK FLOYD like organ. The next piece, "Nebulous Dawn" is strictly electronic effects. "Origin of Supernatural Probabilities" is mainly one long sinister- sounding drone with more electronic effects, while the title track basically sounds like the middle part of PINK FLOYD's "Echoes", but it's actually nothing but wind sounds.

There is no doubt that this album is one long LSD trip. It's strange how a record label like Ohr had the balls to put out such a record realizing it wouldn't sell. But I'm glad they did.

So here it is...THE Tangerine Dream album. The big one (75+ minutes!), the minimalist droning beauty that seems to be one of those "love it/hate it" deals. One of those albums that I really don't know how well I'll manage to review, because even after many listens I'm still sure there will always be something new to discover/understand about the album. It's an album which I would say is a haunting masterpiece.
This was my third Tangerine Dream album (following Phaedra and Rubycon) and initially I was pulled in by the album's length. Odd thing to draw me to an album, I know, but I have a habit of finding an artist's longer albums and checking them out. Sometimes I get gems, sometimes I get duds. This (along with Can's Tago Mago) is one of the most exquisite gems I've found so far this way. From the second it gets rolling with the first track, with those eerie cello lines slowly building and building, I knew I had made a good choice. This album is true deep space music...some artists excel at making albums in the near-space realm, generally staying within the Milky Way, but Tangerine Dream had bigger aspirations than that - they decided that they'd go for the far edge of the universe, right there on the edge of nothingness. This album is definitely sparse, abstract, etc, really showing off that feeling of nothingness colliding with everything. That's a big part of its beauty, though. Based on my (admittedly) limited experience with some of the progressive electronic masters, I'd say that there are few or no other albums that sound like this one. The uniqueness was another big draw for me. As many of the others have said, this album doesn't have any percussion - just the electronics (and the cellos in the first track) and it's got a great, dreamy/spacey atmosphere.

This one is one of the greatest Prog Electronic albums ever to be recorded. It shows just how far out some of the pioneers were willing to go, and that distance might as well be infinity since the universe is always expanding and this one is right at the edge. Definitely an essential masterpiece of progressive rock (even though the "rock" element is missing in this and many of the best Electronic albums).

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