Saturday, January 24, 2015

Edgar Froese - 1983 - Pinnacles

Edgar Froese 

01. Specific Gravity Of Smile (9:35)
02. The Light Cone (4:22)
03. Walkabout (7:10)
04. Pinnacles (22:00)

- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, guitar, keyboards, vocals, composer

 This album sounds a bit like Tangerine dream's "White eagle", "Hyperborea" and some of their soundtracks of the corresponding years. There is omnipresent, varied and lively beat sequencers and many discrete keyboards layers. There are melodic keyboards and background floating streams of keyboards. All is recorded in very interlocking multi- sequenced patterns; it is mostly repetitive, but never dull. Froese has always this subtle way to merge his electric guitar sound with the keyboards arrangements. The keyboards layers are so well made that one may easily pretend it is a true Tangerine Dream's album, featuring the 3 official members of the early 80's! It is a very good album if you want to relax.

Edgar Froese - 1982 - Kamikaze 1989

Edgar Froese
Kamikaze 1989

01. Videophonic (4:17)
02. Vitamin C (2:17)
03. Krismopompas (3:19)
04. Police Disco (4:55)
05. Intuition (2:05)
06. Police Therapy Center (2:35)
07. Blue Panther (3:08)
08. Snake Bath (4:50)
09. Unexpected Death (2:56)
10. Flying Kamikaze (4:00)
11. Tower Block (3:30)
12. The 31st Floor (2:15)

- Edgar Froese / keyboards, vocals, synthesizer, guitar
- Klaus Kruger / drums

This is another movie soundtrack from the Tangerine Dream's leader. It sounds a bit like his solo album "Pinnacles". One can recognize some patterns from the Tangerine Dream's albums "Hyperborea" and "Flashpoint" too. There is a 95% reprise of the "Convention of the 24" beat ("White Eagle" album). There are couples of tracks that sound like the stuff on his "Stuntman" album. The tracks influences are really varied, but you have to know the Tangerine Dream of the 80's to notice it. The sound is dynamic, the tracks are really catchy. This is a very good album: it is among his best ones! The best track is the last one: an apocalyptic arrangement of floating keyboards streams, threatening, beautiful, controlling, imposing: just play it loud! Unfortunately, the sound fades too fast at the end, just after the NASA-like voice.

Edgar Froese - 1979 - Stuntman

Edgar Froese 

01. Stuntman (4:18)
02. It Would Be Like Samoa (10:46)
03. Detroit Snackbar Dreamer (6:33)
04. Drunken Mozart in the Desert (10:00)
05. A Dali-Esque Sleep Fuse (8:33)
06. Scarlet Score for Mescalero (4:20)

- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, guitar, piano, keyboards, vocals
- Klaus Kruger / drums

As good as any Tangerine Dream album, 1979's 'Stuntman' was proof that it really was all about the group's founding member. The one constant in the group's four-decade existence, Edgar Froese - Dali companion, psychedelic guitarist, Berlin School-founder, electronic innovator - has enjoyed a remarkable career. Under his leadership Tangerine Dream issued a plethora of classic albums, enjoying a glorious first fifteen-years that began with the experimental acid-rock of 'Electronic Meditation'(1970) and included such groundbreaking albums as 'Phaedra'(1974), 'Rubycon'(1975) and 'Force Majeure'(1979). Tangerine Dream were a big deal during the 1970's, and the group enjoyed strong album sales and regular sold-out tours. This allowed Froese to commence a concurrent solo career and for some - though whisper it quietyly - Froese's own albums proved just as remarkable, if not better, than his work with Tangerine Dream. For this writer, both 1975's lushly-mysterious 'Epsilon In Malaysian Pale' and 'Stuntman' represent the very best of Froese's solo material, albums that rank alongside the very best of Tangerine Dream. Issued during 1979, the same year as Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' and 'Apocalypse Now'(a great year...) 'Stuntman' finds Froese matching the meditative ambience of his earlier records with a slightly more melodic hue. Its a beautiful album, and because this writer loves it so much he finds it very difficult to write about. That's how good it is. If you're looking for more beyond your-now complete Tangerine Dream collection, the solo career of Froese is the place the to visit.

Edgar Froese - 1978 - Ages

Edgar Froese 

01. Metropolis (11:00)
02. Era Of The Slaves (8:05)
03. Tropic Of Capricorn (21:06)
04. Nights Of Automatic Women (9:00)
05. Icarus (9:07)
06. Children's Deeper Study (4:21)
07. Ode To Granny A (4:39)
08. Pizarro And Atahuallpa (7:30)
09. Golgatha And The Circle Closes (8:30)

- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, guitar, keyboards, vocals

Track 9 not included on CD version
Additional musician: Klaus Krieger, drums and percussion

Not quite as great as it ought to be but still pretty damn excellent(I'm nit-picking here) 1977's double- sided 'Ages' finds the extremely hard-working Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese back in solo territory after the release of his group's first soundtrack record, the same year's deeply-mysterious 'Sorceror'. Directed by William Friedkin, costing $20,000,000 dollars and utterly bombing at the box-office, the movie 'Sorceror' remains one of the great underrated thrillers of the 1970s, and despite the film's failure it did open a very large and very lucrative door from Froese and company as they went on to enjoy a highly-successful career creating soundtracks for directors such as Michael Mann, Ridley Scott and Kathryn Bigelow. However, 'Sorceror' the soundtrack was so dark and gloomy that Froese obviously needed some kind of sonic antidote to work on, hence 'Ages'. Although still anchored deep in the quixotic ambient territory we have come to know and love Tangerine Dream for, 'Ages' does on occasion feature a slightly more upbeat hue, it's 9 tracks skipping expertly between droney space-rock, twinkling synthesized noodling and cinematic grandeur wth almost reckless abandon. Fans of Tangerine Dream will know exactly what to expect then, but 'Ages' doesn't quite reach the same exulted heights as Froese's own solo masterpiece 'Epsilon In Malaysian Pale'. However, highlights are many, especially on the second disc which features the beautifully-layered 'Ode To Granny A' and the hypnotic, twirling beats of the cosmic closer 'Golgotha & The Circle Closes'. So, like pretty much everything Froese put his name to between the years 1970 and 1983, 'Ages' is utterly fascinating. Full of strong moments then, this is yet another dose of first grade ambient rock from the master of the art.

Edgar Froese - 1976 - Macula Transfer

Edgar Froese
Macula Transfer

01. OS 452 (7:56)
02. AF 765 (11:04)
03. PA 701 (7:36)
04. Quantas 611 (4:58)
05. IF 810 (4:26)

- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, guitar, keyboards, vocals

This is the third release by Edgar of his solo recordings after departing from the group TANGERINE DREAM. As with most of the other solo works by EDGAR FROESE the music on MACULA TRASFER is nearly identical to that of the TANGERINE DREAM releases of that time period.Now that may be a good thing or that may be a bad thing,depending on your viewpoint.Most people that like the early TANGERINE DREAM recordings will like the solo releases by EDGAR FROESE. That has a lot to say about his influence on the sound of the band up until his departure.The music has the same analog flow as the early TD releases with the ever present synth drone and with the odd little twists thrown in.It just so happens that I like the droning,repetitive quality of his music and to me,make perfect background music for thinking,reading,meditating or creating!

Edgar Froese - 1975 - Epsilon In Malaysian Pale

Edgar Froese 
Epsilon In Malaysian Pale

01. Epsilon In Malaysian Pale (17:00)
02. Maroubra Bay (17:15)

- Edgar Froese / keyboards

EDGAR FROESE's second solo album is a much more accessible affair than his first, "Aqua". That said, the second of only two tracks on this album will make TANGERINE DREAM fans feel right at home.
The title track, 'Epsilon in Malaysian Pale', starts with electronic -- or electronically-processed -- jungle birdsong and the sampled clickety-clack of a train (the KL to Penang train, perchance?). Delectable flute then drifts over calm Mellotron, making me so chilled-out I almost levitate. I'm slightly reminded of 'Sequent C' on TANGERINE DREAM's "Phaedra", but this has a more mainstream feel to it. Initially you might envisage the flute segment as the background to some TV programme showing seagulls riding the sea breeze, or panning across the countryside on a misty morning. The more cynical might say the track sounds like mellow lift music, as it's not particularly sophisticated or complex. However it's so darned relaxing and pleasant that even cynics should be won over in the end. Sequencer later in the track means that fans of TANGERINE DREAM will not feel ignored. Overall, though, the flute and Mellotron are what stand out in this mellow track.

TANGERINE DREAM fans will be on more-familiar territory in the second track. After a very spooky-sounding Mellotron start, 'Maroubra Bay' changes briefly into a mellow -- and very satisfying -- VANGELIS-like moonscape before returning to the familiar electronic ambient feel of TANGERINE DREAM. Whoever it sounds like, the track is pleasant and again very relaxing. The sequencer that comes in at around four minutes into the track is almost melodic, especially with horn-sounding Moog and Mellotron wafting around over it, but could probably put just about anyone into a trance, with the occasional electronic waves breaking on the sea shore being the final nudge onto a higher plane. The sequencer disappears in the last minute or so and Mellotron meanders slowly until it fades out. Very relaxing yet strangely exhilarating.

I have not heard FROESE's 2005 reworking of the original recording so cannot comment on that, but the original 1975 recording is certainly a worthwhile investment if you can find a second-hand copy. I do hope Virgin re-releases the original recording at some point as it deserves to be perpetuated. I'm going with 4 stars (Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection) because the atmospheric music on this album will quickly become addictive to most progressive music fans and should become a cherished part of any collection. Not as avant-garde, as starkly electronic or as complex as "Phaedra" or "Aqua", but very good nonetheless. Recommended.

Edgar Froese - 1974 - Aqua

Edgar Froese 

01. Aqua (16:58)
02. Panorphelia (9:38)
03. NGC 891 (14:50)
04. Upland (6:31)

- Edgar Froese / keyboards
- Chris Franke / keyboards

Edgar Froese's "Aqua" exists as two original LP versions...
1. The German Brain issue
2. The much more common Virgin issue
Not only is the track order different, but two tracks are different mixes. The gatefold cover also swaps the outside image around.
The later Eastgate CD release is a different recording.

Edgar Willmar Froese (6 June 1944 – 20 January 2015), Froese was born in Tilsit (now Sovetsk), East Prussia, during the Second World War, his family was expelled from his hometown after the war. He took piano lessons from the age of 12, and started playing guitar at 15.[1] After showing an early aptitude for art, Froese enrolled at the Academy of the Arts in West Berlin to study painting and sculpture. In 1965, he formed a band called The Ones, which played psychedelic rock, and some rock and R&B standards. While playing in Spain, The Ones were invited to perform at Salvador Dalí's villa in Cadaqués. Froese's encounter with Dalí was highly influential, inspiring him to pursue more experimental directions with his music. The Ones disbanded in 1967, having released only one single ("Lady Greengrass" / "Love of Mine").

After returning to Berlin, Froese began recruiting musicians for the free-rock band that would become Tangerine Dream.

Contrary to Klaus Schulze's successful career (after his departure from TANGERINE DREAM), Edgar Froese's solo work had a rather discreet impact on the audience. The reason is that he engaged in a musical direction very closed to TANGERINE DREAM's trademark. E. Froese involves in solo while he is still the front man and major composer of TANGERINE DREAM. He launched his personal career in 1974, just after the release of TANGERINE DREAM's huge international success "Phaedra".

His first effort called "Aqua" can be seen as the missing link between "Zeit" and "Phaedra". Musically it is pure electronic / pre-ambient / aquatic music with long instrumental pieces. Analog synths are mixed with concrete, cosmic and experimental effects. This album can be openly seen as his best with his second "Epsilon In Malaysian Pale" and his later "Stuntman". Published in 1975, "Epsilon In Malaysian Pale" is an impressive electronic / synth conceptual album in the direct line of "Phaedra", "Rubycon". Recorded in 1976, "Macula Transfer" has always been unavailable until today. Also signed on Virgin (as the previous ones) "Ages" is a consistent electronic work entirely directed by Egar Froese who pursues his musical line, bringing modern synth materials combined with acoustic elements, old vintage keyboards (Mellotron.) electric guitars and percussion. The electronic sonorities developed on "Ages" are connected to Tangerine Dream's production during the same period. Consequently it is closed to "Sorcerer" and "Cyclone". Produced in 1980, "Stuntman" delivers short but well made electronic / spacey tunes, maybe more accessible and various than previously. This one is maybe Edgar Froese's most popular and the last really recommended album he personally made. The soundtrack "Kamikaze" recorded in 1982 is a disconcerted album, made of short tracks which put the stress on digital instruments. The worst from Froese's solo career. "Pinnacles" (1983) is a nice pleasant synth meditative album, but nothing new. To sum up things "Epsilon In Malaysian Pale" and "Stuntman" are highly recommended albums for those who are in TANGERINE DREAM's Virgin era and in Peter Baumann, Michael Hoenig's pre-ambient / synth electronic works.

Here's a simple and luminating introduction for an album of heavy manners and distinguished art: Edgar Froese plays the essential role in Tangerine Dream, whether constructive and inspirational, crafting or improvising, controlling or disparaging, self-centering or generously avoiding the anxiety of blank music therapy (listing a couple of known orientation for him). He's a full front musician of impeccable "dreams" and imperative rhythms, in a time when Tangerine Dream offered the great impact in the short term of impressive electronic, and later in the times of surviving the same desires or managing radical new ones. In solo, Froese is the most prominent artist from Tangerine Dream (then again, we can't figure Franke or Schmoelling any more referential in a time of plague 80s and 90s, the classic mood was a sincere advantage for Froese to obtain some good works, only after to fall himself into treacherous mood and "moog" dispositions) ; the serum between the link of the great band and the private space of the solo adventure are never farfetched, even maintain a contemporary feeling. In the solitary dynamic of electronic music, Edgar Froese a couple of good albums that prove an essential mark, a very elevated train of composition, a highly defined familiarity of excellent taste and a good brew of synthesizing out the cosmic unravel within a head's sheer intuition, the abstract melody inside a point of pleasure, or the shape of clusters and the language of abstract by the resource of feeling open the sound, the time, the space and the motown melody. Outside these great elements, Froese continues on a share of lesser inquiring experiments, on works of soft evolution and on the more rough ways of him "dominating" the keyboard figure and "controlling" the linguine stage of electronic ardor.
Aqua astonished me, from early moment of discovering out Froese's own meads of self-portrait and motivated sound play to these monotonous achieved present years of knowing by touch his work, his sound, his style, as an essential, very artistic, cubic-closed and synth-malady album, as a debut of more than hoping great stuff, a work of more than expected detailed, hardened or aspersed elements, as a key brand dynamic composition meant for the subsuming planes of creativity, dark impression or tempting artistic ideas. And maybe out of all this exciting solo craft, the album doesn't receive the excellent review and the utmost congratulation, yet it seems lonely in its valuable haste of atypical, atonal and arrhythmic forces, the prime kind, the essential tone. To a sincere talk about how important Froese goes, till where and till when, he doesn't realize more than two grand, artistic and subtle works, this one and the next Epsilon In Malaysian Pale; and I wouldn't award the best kind of electronic suspired, synopsized and contempt to anything else than Aqua, first of all an exhaustive program of tough electronics and ambient lines, afterwards a difficult to placid listening, a language from tough to ironic, a work-load from adapted to self-controlled.

Aqua as level and craft is between Phaedra and Rubycon, meaning a very powerful experiment of ambient music, synth tonalities, wave-clusters and passionate afflictions/affections of adamant, impersonal, grave pressed and high sub-sequined music sculpture. Phaedra is of course an exaggerate point of view, then again two things (Froese being the composer of the inversed-color electro liquid fantasy and ambient-volatility "strand of nightmares", from the classic Tangerine Dream album, and the great detail of very tough expected music in this solo debut) almost allude the contemporary orientation which, without problems, helps Froese coordinate a very powerful masterpiece like Phaedra and a very transitory ambient-abstract explosion like Aqua. Articulate and neuralgic, this album would actually face the complaint of too late and too open experiments, yet, even if this is the best creation boiling point of Froese and his synth-essays, I say it's totally worth.

A great value I treasure for Aqua is yet something also missed from the high places of eclectic electronic and concentrating ambient recognition (mainly from the little exuberance or the too loaded craft it may have, then for not having essential sound-parts of special grip and taste). The enormous title track experiment is a complete fascination, from the elementary works of synths and ambient, to the phonetic and plastic sounds of water and cascade sampling, in great touch with a mist symbol and a suffocating parlor of wobbling sensation. A piece of long-stretch minimalism and monotony, yet a very serious effect of heavy works and volcanic precisions on what is the music of the numb taste, the sylph inside the creative touch and the hard resound of a clean potable disambiguation. The 16 minutes unbelievably balanced caustic and cognitive water-fluxion title track is essential, by my standards. Next there are three piece that try to combine the never to bright ambient and sequence with the never to exempt dark motives, crystal coils and powerful dualisms of sound, connection, fun render or moods. What is exciting from Panorphelia is an ambient-vibrations course and seasoned essence, plus small incision in the matter-lapping usual flow of stressing sounds and minimal over-runs. ngc 891, brewed under a special instrument and oriented towards more sequentialism, is another favorite of mine, since it grows, after the five minutes of Brownian sound-cycle into a game of a small sequence, with a totally ironic flair, a wheeling punctuation and a dissonance, almost showing the interest to not have a catchy rhythm, but an art course of "metamorphic" electronic illusions. Upland fights another minor ambient exposure, till the point of sketching down some cold sinus vibrations and some sound-phones effect. The album is totally appreciable, though a cold, "still-scaped", mono-powered and rupture-crystallizing essence from it recommends it, doubtlessly, for the mass experiment and the unique time of electronic music being a sensation design of cluster and disambiguation, then a great listening powder. By all taste, Froese grows more attractive stuff. By all standards, this is a peak and a momentary exceptional shape.

Edgar Froese's masterpiece, if ever to name one great achievement of his own bare work (though it nothing flawless to think off or contagious to excite from), is Aqua, ambient, experimental, abstract, liquid, chloroform and phase-phalic. Timeless and hard to obtain, I always prefer to admire this album.

Tangerine Dream - 1983 - Wavelength

Tangerine Dream 

01. Alien Voices (0:16)
02. Wavelength Main Title (1:54)
03. Desert Drive (Quichotte Part One excerpt) (2:00)
04. Mojave End Title (3:59)
05. Healing (2:23)
06. Breakout (1:09)
07. Alien Goodbyes (1:50)
08. Spaceship (2:18)
09. Church Theme (3:41)
10. Sunset Drive (3:23)
11. Airshaft (3:10)
12. Alley Walk (2:55)
13. Cyro Lab (2:13)
14. Running Through The Hills (1:30)
15. Campfire Theme (1:23)
16. Mojave End Title Reprise (3:51)

- Edgar Froese / keyboards,guitar,bass
- Chris Franke/ synthesizers,percussion
- Johannes Schmoelling / synthesizers,keyboards

Tangerine Dream's `Wavelength' is the soundtrack to an obscure Robert Carradine sci-fi film from 1983 (not currently available on DVD or Bluray, but it can be viewed on Youtube), and while it offered nothing truly fresh or groundbreaking from the band, it's still makes for a fine background listen while offering several variations of spacey/electronic ambience. Composed by the trio of Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Johannes Schmoelling, considering the albums around it such as `Hyperborea', `White Eagle' etc, `Wavelength' still features the ghostly Melloton, as well as having a distinct mid-70's TD period sound instead of the cold plastic 80's that was emerging during that time. It's mostly comprised of short little interludes and snippets which unfortunately means that many of the tracks rarely get time to develop better, and some sections are reworked pieces from previous albums, but generally if you let the album play in it's entirety, it makes for an undemanding listen of eerie electronic music, and it's certainly far from being one of the worst releases in the band's long discography.
The opening `Main Theme' is a spooky plodding electronic pulse where you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd put an album by Italian horror soundtrack supremos Goblin on the turntable instead! `Desert Drive' is a lovely electric piano balled over positive synths that could have easily been included on the `Tangram' LP. `Mojave End Title' is a racing up-tempo synth-pop burst and is probably the most fully realised piece here. There's little traces of the old Mellotron magic on the droning ambient `Healing', skittering almost dance-like beats on the frantic interlude `Breakout', and the staccato acoustic guitar strums over phasing gently sorrowful synths on `Alien Goodbyes' has a somewhat mournful Pink Floyd quality to it. Deep space hostile alien menace pervades `Spaceship', a cold robotic beat chatters away in the background over imposing synths.

Shimmering synths and restrained Moog trills offer a reflective and meditative tone to side B's `Church Theme' that gradually grows in urgency. `Sunset Drive' has a plodding other-worldly heartbeat loop over stirring restrained Mellotron flutes, slightly dark distortion blows and airy synth soloing drifting around the background. `Airshaft' is a menacing sound-collage, whipping distorted synth lashes, violating electronic distortion and harsh percussive blasts sounding like a fractured nightmare. `Alley Walk' is a soothing respite in comparison, gentle chiming electric piano , like tiny little footsteps and a softly groaning Mellotron choir. `Cryolab' is a lonely downbeat synth drone, `Running Through The Hills' has a nice creeping beat over psychedelic electronics, there's warm placid synth washes throughout `Campfire Theme', and `Mojave End Title Reprise' is exactly what the title says.

Tangerine Dream would offer better soundtrack works (`Sorcerer' and `Firestarter' being particularly impressive), but this is still worth looking into. I actually really enjoy it purely for the fact that it is completely devoid of blatant electric guitar soloing, one thing I always disliked on their studio albums (pretty much from `Force Majeure' onwards if I recall), which I feel made their music a little too obvious and a bit lazy. In the end, `Wavelength' is completely inessential, but a pleasing listen all the same, as well as a perfectly reliable addition to Tangerine Dream collections for more forgiving fans.

Tangerine Dream - 1983 - Hyperborea

Tangerine Dream 

01. No Mans Land (9:08)
02. Hyperborea (8:31)
03. Cinnamon Road (3:54)
04. Sphinx Lightning (20:01)

Total Time: 41:34
Here we have the final product which brought a ten year collaboration between Tangerine Dream and Virgin Records to an end.

- Johannes Schmoelling / synthesizer, composer, keyboards
- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, bass, guitar, keyboards
- Christopher Franke / engineer

As their final work for Virgin, TD delivered in 'Hyperborea' some of their best material during the Schmoelling-era (in my opinion, only second to both 'Tangram' suites). Since 1980, when Johannes Schmoelling joined forces with the Froese/Franke duo, the trio had put a remarkable emphasis on the electronic aspect of their music, while keeping the melodic sensitivity they had been cultivating from the mid 70s onwards. Schmoelling's obsessive penchant for synthesized samplers and rhythm sequences allowed TD to draw themselves stylistically close to the musical patterns of techno-pop that was so popular and recurrent in the FM airwaves of Great Britain, Continental Europe and North America's West Coast in the early 80s. But of course, TD still managed to keep their own touch of sophistication and eerie inventiveness through all this process of modernization. Three of the four tracks comprised here exceed the 8 minute duration, and show a high level of musical creativity and a clever use of keyboard textures. The only 4- minute track is "Cinnamon Road", a catchy exercise on danceable, nice technopop: it actually fills the purpose of giving a fresh air of lighthearted stuff among the more solemn remaining repertoire. 'No Man's Land' kicks off the album in a most energetic way, with an African-like massive drum sequence synchronized with a Pan's flute sampling - something odd for TD patterns, since their albums usually kick off with languid opening motifs. The ethnic drive of 'No Man's Land' is handled with not too many variations, managing to avoid monotony, evocating some kind of ritualistic dance instead. The title track incarnates the most mysterious and pompous part of the album, both captivating and melancholy, as if it were an intimate look towards the heavens (Hyperborea is the celestial superior world in the Ancient Greek mythology): the two motifs that are linked in this track are based on simple, yet effective chord progressions translated into lush and eerie synth layers that at times almost seem to "whisper" to the listener's ears. Finally, the 20- minute suite 'Sphinx Lightning' fluidly recapitulates the mystic spirit of 'Hyperborea', the ethnic flavours of 'No Man's Land', the inscrutable synthetic paraphernalia of their 74-76 albums, and the symphonic elegance of 'Force Majeure', all throughout its five sections. Of course, the synth interplay and sound production forbid the band to look back to their old days so they may focus on their present orientation: yet, it's inevitable to refer to those albums aforementioned when listening to his piece.

Tangerine Dream - 1982 - White Eagle

Tangerine Dream 
White Eagle

01. Mojave Plan (19:55)
02. Midnight In Tula (3:52)
03. Convention Of The 24 (9:27)
04. White Eagle (4:30)

Total Time: 37:44
The track »White Eagle« was used for a German TV action series (Tatort: Das Mädchen auf der Treppe) and became TD's first hit single. »Mojave Plan« was performed by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

- Edgar Froese / keyboards
- Chris Franke / keyboards
- Johannes Schmoelling / keyboards

 The concept of great TD album is there: one gets the side long "Mojave Plan" as an introduction but the comparison stops here. Don't expect anything à la "Phaedra" or alike because you might be disappointed.
The band has evolved (which is per se not a bad thing) towards a more synthetic music, less spacey and more "dehumanized" according my standards (whatever it might mean in TD's music). But there are plenty of joyful moments as well to be expected from this long piece of music: harmony, beauty and diversity (yes!). Good synth vibes and keys maestria are the ingredients.

And it works pretty well to be honest provided that you are keen to listen to these more "aggressive" sounds.

I have a kind emotion for "Midnight in Tula". But this is pure sentimentalism. This archaeological Mexican site resides in the vicinity of my wife's native town of Pachuca. To be in front of these "giants" statues is quite indescribable. But the title is maybe more related to the "Thule" myth, I don't know. In terms of music though, it can't really be considered as a great TD moment.

The second pleasant moment is "Convention of the 24". Almost ten minutes of "conventional" TD music like one is glad to listen to. More spacey, more beauty, more ...TD? Yes, probably.

In all, this is another good album released by the band. But to be honest, they haven't released a bad one so far (even if "Cyclone" was close). The good (but short) title track is another peaceful and so enjoyable moment of music. Really, really good.

Tangerine Dream - 1982 - Logos Live

Tangerine Dream
Logos Live

01. Logos (45:06)
02. Dominion (5:44)

Total Time: 50:50

On the original LP, "Logos" was split into two parts of course:

Part 1: 25'38"
Part 2: 19'29"

- Edgar Froese / keyboards
- Chris Franke / keyboards
- Johannes Schmoelling / keyboards

By this part of their career the band have probably got bored with doing their atmospheric Space/Psychedelic approach. "Logos" still represents long tracks, but more rhythmic and straightforward than their early works. Comparisons with "Tangram" and "Force Majeure" spring to mind here.

The first two tracks represent an approach of "tension and release", something that Fripp was very good at some stage. Musically however, they are rather different. Building slowly - as TD are undisputed masters of in general - till the unexpected, bombastic finale. Bombastic in a very pleasing, satisfying sense, reminiscent of "Beach Scene" from the album :Thief". Now, this is the TD approach that makes yours truly salivate over. Just brilliant!

The third and last track is a short and somewhat "poppy" one that wouldn't have been missed. The programmed drums lend it a cheap feel, but it's not really that bad after all. Over the years it grew on me to the point of enjoying it, still...

Tangerine Dream - 1981 - Quichotte

Tangerine Dream 

01. Quichotte Part I (22:38)
02. Quichotte Part II (23:33)

- Chris Franke / synthetizers, electronic percussion
- Edgar Froese / synthetizers, electronic guitar
- Johannes Schmoelling / synthetizers, piano

Releases information
LP AMIGA 8 55 819 (German Democratic Republic [GDR])
Recording January 31st 1980 during "DT-64 Jugendkonzert" at the now defunkt Palast Der Republic.
Re-released in 1986 with the title: "Pergamon" by Tangerine Dream Production/ Caroline Records Inc./ Virgin

Unjustly overlooked Tangerine Dream live recording that captures them almost at their peak.Johannes Schmoelling had just joined Froese and Franke and here gives their music a real shot in the arm.Within electronic music this trio has never been bettered IMO.
Stylistically this is similar to their other release in the same year Tangram.The first part opens with an extended electric piano section that is like Tangram Part One.Here they develop it a bit more.The second part is more electronic driven but also features some nifty guitar work that takes it all up another level.Great stuff and ideal for the headphones.Safe 4 star album that as far as live Tangerine albums go is only slightly behind Ricochet and Poland but on a par with the excellent Logos and Encore.One to add to your collection without doubt.

Tangerine Dream - 1981 - Exit

Tangerine Dream

01. Kiew Mission (9:18)
02. Pilots Of Purple Twilight (4:19)
03. Choronzon (4:07)
04. Exit (5:33)
05. Network 23 (4:55)
06. Remote Viewing (8:20)

Total Time: 36:32

- Edgar Froese / organ, synthesizer, bass, guitar, guitar (bass), keyboards, Mellophonium, producer, Mellotron, VCS 3 synthesizer
- Christopher Franke / synthesizer, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, VCS 3 synthesizer
- Johannes Schmoelling / synthesizer, keyboards

By the 1980s, German electronic music explorers Tangerine Dream had undergone some major changes. Many of the band's long-term fans were less than pleased with the path the group was now taking (see the previous reviews), while others, like myself, had no problem with an evolving TD, as popular music in general was changing with the new decade. (I still enjoy much 80s music -- perhaps not a majority stance here!)
1981's EXIT is a product of that change in direction. Peter Baumann, who had been an integral member of the trio for their vaunted Virgin years, had departed by 1980, to be replaced by Johannes Schmoelling (who had appeared on EXIT's excellent predecessor TANGRAM). In addition, the band's sound had widened to include more rhythmic, accessible and shorter numbers along with their trademark "spacey" material. Both aspects of this 80s TD are demonstrated on EXIT.

Album opener "Kiew Mission" has long been a favourite for me (and now, for my dear wife as well). This track, following a brief and somewhat scary intro which features the simulated sounds of a large gong and screaming fighter planes, morphs into a pleasant piece with a very sexy and breathy female voice chanting the names of the continents in German (there are other lyrics too, but I don't understand enough of the language to translate them). This dreamy number is a good choice for "amorous encounters" -- enough said! After the gentle, extended fadeout, which integrates some evocative synthesized voice into the mix, the band returns to a somewhat more "traditional" sound (for them!) on the understated "Pilots of Purple Twilight," which would readily lend itself to soundtrack use.

The third track, "Choronzon," typifies the newer, more universally approachable Tangerine Dream that is (apparently) anathema to so many freaked-out former fans. I however, really like this up-tempo, even uplifting song, and followers of rhythmic electronic acts like Kraftwerk should also find much to like here. (Many of TD's 80s and early 90s releases have such a track -- a shorter, faster, dare I say -- gasp! -- near "commercial" number, that might even move some to tap their feet -- nay, even to consider dancing! Perish the thought! Stop snickering so superciliously, Hugues!)

Sneering old acid heads can yet find some relief with the title track: "Exit" is another meandering number that evokes visions of slowly revolving space stations and other such futuristic technological undertakings. Great background music for reading science fiction, or envisioning other planets. (As an added bonus, the heavy rainfall sounds at the end make this another likely choice for erotic assignations!)

The disgruntled old "heads" had best leave the room at this juncture, or simply skip "Network 23" altogether, as this is another one that will have your household robots getting up to ponderously dance about the domicile, metal feet labouriously clunking, and thereby disturbing the Soma-induced repose of your neighbours in the unit below. "Far out! Cut a rug, R-2! No! Not literally, you metalloid moron! Aargh -- my simulated plastic Persian! That cost me 10,000,000 Earth Credits!"

The final song may just soothe the jangled nerves of the addled old hippies in attendance, and possibly even placate peevish progholes. All is not lost for the nostalgically backward-gazing denizens of this alien 80s "Brave New World" (that has such wonders in it!); for this set, "Remote Viewing" has perhaps the closest kinship to the "melting music" of the band's classic mid 70s era. Very spacey! Is that a gigantic electrical storm I descry upon the planetary surface far below?

Thus, EXIT is a fine choice for those more open-minded Tangerine Dream fans who supported the band in their 80s incarnation, but the disc still retains examples of TD's classic sound for those who would have wanted them to stick to formula. I really like EXIT, but (despite the attempts at humour above) I can understand why many long-term fans were less than enthusiastic with the new direction. Was it progress? Was it all a horrible mistake? Decide for yourself, but I still think that this is very good electronic music.

Tangerine Dream - 1981 - Thief

Tangerine Dream 

01. Beach Theme (3:44)
02. Dr. Destructo (3:21)
03. Diamond Diary (10:51)
04. Burning Bar (3:14)
05. Beach scene (6:48)
06. Scrap Yard (4:42)
07. Trap Feeling (3:00)
08. Igneous (4:48)

- Edgar Froese / keyboards, electronic equipment, guitar
- Chris Franke / synthesizers, electronic equipment, electronic percussion
- Johannes Schmoelling / keyboards, electronic equipment

 Having made their Hollywood debut with the soundtrack for William Friedkin's criminally-ignored 1977 suspense thriller 'Sorcerer'(a remake of the classic 1953 French film 'The Wages Of Fear') Tangerine Dream were chosen by director Michael Mann(Manhunter, Heat, Public Enemies) to write, record and produce the music for his 1981 debut 'Thief'. Featuring James Caan as an in-demand safe-cracker, Robert Prosky as a vicious gangland boss and Tuesday Weld as the hero's girl, 'Thief' smartly blended neon-lit visuals, stylish action sequences and an existensial thriller narrative in a way that prefigured the director's 1995 epic crime masterpiece 'Heat'. Both films rank amongst Mann's very best(alongside 1987's gripping 'Manhunter', his dark reading of Thomas Harris' 'Red Dragon' novel) and the movie would open many doors for Tangerine Dream, the German outfit enjoying a commercially lucrative period throughout the 1980s as they provided music for a number of Hollywood films, including Michael Mann's 'Theif' follow-up 'The Keep'(1983) and Kathryn Bigelow's vampire noir thriller 'Near Dark'(1987'). With their sparse and moody electronic rhythms perfectly suited to a number of genre's, Tangerine Dream soundtrack work would produce some of their best music. Blending the experimental mystery of their mid-seventies output with the gleaming synthesized sounds of 1980s albums such as 'White Eagle' and 'Tangram', 'Thief' proves to be a dark and dazzling affair. Similar in style and scope to their work on 'Sorceror', 'Thief' both compliments Mann's visual style yet conversely also proves itself as a stand-alone album. Seen either in context with the movie or simply listened to on it's own, this is Tangerine Dream at their most ethereal and modernistic, with delicately-crafted keyboard melodies and slow-burning beats adding a hazy sheen that coats the music in an almost mystical ambience. It's best listened to as one, continuous piece of music, though individual tracks such as the glorious, up-tempo 'Beach Scene' exhibit a keen ear for melody. Alongside 'Sorcerer' and the spellbinding music found on 'The Keep', 'Thief' ranks as one of the teutonic group's most endearing works. Just like the film it represents, this is a superb piece of work.

Tangerine Dream - 1980 - Tangram

Tangerine Dream

01. Tangram Set 1 (19:47)
02. Tangram Set 2 (20:28)

Total Time: 40:15
The first official studio album with the line-up Franke, Froese, Schmoelling. It is named after a Chinese puzzle game.

- Johannes Schmoelling / synthesizer, keyboards
- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, bass, guitar, keyboards, producer
- Christopher Franke / percussion, keyboards, producer

 After the wonderful "Force Majeure" album, new member Johanness Schmoelling has been added and his strong modern influence will remain until 1985. He completely redefined the Tangerine Dream sound, especially the rythmic section, now marked by powerful streams of sustained keyboards. Tangram is a major Tangerine Dream album: Until Le Parc, albums will follow the modern and sequenced sounds paced by Tangram. First of all, Tangram is EXTREMELY electronic, very artificial, as revealed by an ultimate helium-boosted sound. Froese's electric guitar amazingly merges with the keyboards: indeed the guitar almost sounds like a synthesizer. The involved styles are electronic rock and New Age. The melodic beat sequencers enhance the already highly dynamic ambience of the floating and melodic keyboards. Characterized by many floating & powerful keyboards arrangements, the overall sound is often scary, not because the effects are extremely dark, but rather because the nervous over-saturated sound is hard to take, especially when you listen it loud. The latter bit of side 2 sounds like the Who's "Won't get fooled again"! If you like this record, then their record Pergamon partly contains an outstanding live performance of Tangram.

Tangerine Dream - 1979 - Force Majeure

Tangerine Dream 
Force Majeure

01. Force Majeure (18:18)
02. Cloudburst Flight (7:21)
03. Thru Metamorphic Rocks (14:15)

Total Time: 39:54
Recorded in 78 with a new introduction of acoustic instruments such as drums, cello, various guitars and flute. The track »Through metamorphic rocks« found its roots in the sudden malfunction of an out board piece of equipment. The malfunction occurred during the final mix and accidently became part of the song's basic structure.

- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, bass, guitar, composer, keyboards, producer, mixing
- Christopher Franke / keyboards
- Edgar Meyer / cello, engineer
- Klaus Kruger / drums

Of the few albums TD released during their brief symphonic prog era, this is by far the most accomplished: "Force Majeure" makes an impressive catalogue of inspired musical ideas, tight performances, and ambitious artistic splendour. Edgar Froese and Chris Franke work as a duo, assisted by drummer Klaus Krieger, and occasionally by cellist Eduard Meyer. The 18+ minute namesake suite is a well crafted succession of beautiful, captivating sections, which range from spacey intro and interludes to orchestrated passages with guitar solos and synth harmonies; there is even a folkish motif toward the end played on synths and electronic percussion, a bucolic piece wrapped under a Kraftwerk-like clothing. The melancholy synth layers that comes afterwards closes up this suite in an amazing manner. It would be certainly hard for the other two pieces to make the listener forget the impression left by it, and indeed, they can't go that far. Yet, they're still beautiful tracks. 'Cloudburst Flight' is something like Moon Madness-meets-Wish You Were Here, emphasizing the melodic aspect and not letting the expansions of the main theme stretch out too long: as a matter of fact, I wish it had been a bit longer, since the fade-out seems to come across too soon, right in the middle of an eerie synth solo. 'Thru' Metamorphic Rocks' is divided into two diverse parts, not fluidly intertwined as in the different successive sections of the 'Force Majeure' suite, but abruptly connected in a dramatic contrast. Part one is symphonic oriented, just like the preceding track, while part two is an aggressive, dense electronic tour-de-force, very much in the vein of what you usually come to expect from a TD recording - at times it reminds me of some of TD-alumnus Klaus Schulze solo work. The fact that there were engineering mistakes during the mixing process of this track actually works as a happy accident, since the contrast serves as an effective channel for musical tension. In conclusion, a very brilliant album that shows the duo Froese/Franke as perfectly capable of going on evolving artistically while the 80s were waiting just around the corner.

Tangerine Dream - 1978 - Cyclone

Tangerine Dream 

01. Bent Cold Sidewalk (13:00)
02. Rising Runner Missed By Endless Sender (4:55)
03. Madrigal Meridian (20:32)

Total Time: 37:50
One of the most controversial TD albums, because of the use of vocals. TD intended to be provocative, but did not expect such drastic reactions from their fans.

- Edgar Froese / Oberheim eight voice polyphonics synth, Twin keyboard Mellotron Mark V, Arp digital soloist synth, Moog modular synth & projekt electronic time control system, Gibson Les Paul custom guitars, Korg PS 3100 polyphonic synth, Roland GS 500 guitar & GR 500 controller, Solina string ensemble, ovation acoustic guitar
- Christoph Franke / Moog modular synth, projekt electronic sequencer, computer studio digital sequencer, Loop, Mellotron, Mellotron M 400, Arp soloist synth, Elka string synth, electronic percussion, Oberheim sequencer, Oberheim eight voice polyphonic synth, OBY One
- Steve Jolliffe / vocals, bass flute, C-flute, piccolo, COR Angelas, bass clarinet, Hohner clarinet, Elka string synth, Grand piano, Fender Rhodes, Roland System-100 synth, Tenor & Soprano horns, lyricon by computone
- Klaus Krieger / Polyester custom built drums with multi trigger unit, electronic percussion, Paiste cymbals, Bubims, Burma Gong set

This was the album of the 70's that divided fans of Tangerine Dream. A change in the line-up of the band, with Peter Baumann being replaced by Steve Jolliffe certainly changed the tone for this album. What he brought to the band was vocals!! I hear the Tangerine Dream purists shreak with horror. How could this brilliant electronic band bring in vocals! I personally love it, my favourite TD album ever.
The album starts with Bent Cold Sidewalk. Vocals, synthezisers, clarinet and flute are all in there. Starting with Jolliffe's vocals and some underlying synth I find it very accomplished. Then comes in the clarinet/flute section, ending with more vocals.

Next comes Rising Runner... a shorter track also with vocals that are maybe not as good as Bent Cold Sidewalk but the synth is still as good as ever.

The final track is Madrigal Meridian. This is entirely instrumental and one of the best tracks they have ever made. The beat is faster than many of the earlier TD albums. There are many subtle changes in sound that means it does not become repetitive (a problem many tracks that are 20 minutes long suffer from).

Overall an excellent album. You should give it a try. Even if you are not keen on the vocals, the music itself is up to the same brilliant standard that TD had set themselves with their previous albums.

Tangerine Dream - 1977 - Sorcerer

Tangerine Dream 

01. Main Title (5:28)
02. Search (2:54)
03. The Call (1:57)
04. Creation (5:00)
05. Vengeance (5:32)
06. The Journey (2:00)
07. Grind (3:01)
08. Rain Forest (2:30)
09. Abyss (7:04)
10. The Mountain Road (1:53)
11. Impressions Of Sorcerer (2:55)
12. Betrayal (Sorcerer Theme) (3:38)

- Peter Baumann / synthesizer, piano, keyboards, Mellotron, Arp, Fender Rhodes, sequencing
- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, bass, guitar, piano, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, Mellotron, Oberheim, piano (Grand), Arp strings, Fender Stratocaster
- Christopher Franke / synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, Mellotron, Arp, Elka, Oberheim, sequencing, digital sequencing

 A remake of the classic French thriller 'The Wages Of Fear', William Friedkin's $20m remake - titled 'Sorceror' - would prove to be the first flop of the Hollywood director's then stellar career. Having previously excited and shocked audiences in equal measure with the gritty cop thriller 'The French Connection' and the seminal supernatural horror of 'The Exorcist', both enormous commercial and critical successes, Friedkin pretty much had carte blanche to do as he pleased. Like many of the 'New Hollywood' set of film-makers(the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Steve Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman etc) Friedkin was a huge fan of the French new wave and cinema verite. Made in 1953, Henri-George Clouzot's 'The Wages Of Fear' was classic suspenser, a brilliantly executed thriller about four desperate fugitives trapped in a steamy South American hell-hole who are offered crazy money to transport a cargo of highly-explosive nitro-glycerine through three-hundred miles of dangerous rain forest terrain. The film would feature all the hallmarks of 1950's French cinema, with a grainy, documentary-style feel, artful photography and plenty of tense discussions on the existensial state of man's primal fears. It was ripe for a Hollywood re-dressing, and Friedkin seemed the perfect choice to take on the difficult task of doing so. Sadly, however, the film proved a financial disaster, and for several reasons. Firstly, the studio made the oh-so enormous mistake of releasing 'Sorceror' on the very same weekend as a certain sci-fi blockbuster called 'Star Wars'. Secondly, the film featured no real stars bar 'Jaws' actor Roy Scheider, not quite an A-lister, who was otherwise backed by a cast of talented but relatively unknown(In North America at least) Europeans. Thirdly, Friedkin completely overestimated his audience, pulling out every cinema verite trick in the book and loading 'Sorceror' with complex political themes, deliberately washed-out colours and a dark and foreboding atmosphere. Finally, 'Sorceror' was just far too long for mainstream audiences to take, the film pulled for extensive(and expensive) re-cutting after just a week and then re-released to little effect, the whole time completely overshadowed by Lucas' super-popular space western. But here's the punch-line. 'Sorceror', despite it's negative reputation, is actually a superb film. Sadly, however, it would spell the end for Friedkin as a major director and he would never again reach the heights scaled by his early-seventies output. With all the fuss regarding the film's financial failing, the soundtrack by Tangerine Dream seems to have been completely overlooked. Friedkin, of course, had a penchant for choosing music by experimental rock acts for his movies as opposed to classical scores(had had used Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' for 'The Exorcist' to great effect) and his choice of the teutonic trio for the 'Sorceror' soundtrack now seems positively inspired. Like the film, the soundtrack is a dark, ominous, brooding beast, full of sparse electronic rhythms. It's also one of those great movie soundtracks that can be listened to as a stand-alone album, always a good sign, and one of the better Tangerine Dream offerings from one of their strongest periods, perfectly complimenting Friedkin's moody visuals and the film's overall foreboding tone. Viewed now, both film and soundtrack stand up incredibly well, showcasing the inate talents of both group and director and proving a stark reminder of just how high the creative bar was during the 1970s, a decade when Hollywood produced proper, grown-up films and music was so much more than just confection for kids. A strange and alluring album, 'Sorceror', much like the movie it accompanies, deserves to be wholly re-evaluated, and those that do so will find a challenging and mysterious album full of fascinating moments. This may be Tangerine Dream at their least accesible, yet it also finds them mining the spirit of their early masterworks - albums such as 'Zeit' - to very impressive effect.

Tangerine Dream - 1977 - Encore

Tangerine Dream

01. Cherokee Lane (16:19)
02. Monolight (19:54)
03. Coldwater Canyon (18:06)
04. Desert Dream (17:30)

Total Time: 71:49
Double-Live-Album from the band's 77 USA-Tour which included such famous places as the Greek Theatre in L.A. and the Avery Fisher Hall in New York. On this tour the audience could enjoy a lasershow on the road for the first time.

- Edgar Froese / guitars, keyboards
- Christoph Franke / keyboards
- Peter Baumann / keyboards

Encore ends the collaboration with Peter Baumann in a big way. It's a very consistent live double album compiled from the 77 USA tour and contains, apart from a few improvisations around Sorcerer and Stratosfear themes, new tracks only.
I have heard some of the live bootlegs from that tour and can conclude that the versions here have been heavily edited and remixed. To good effect though. Tangerine Dream was a tight live unit but some concerts (or parts of it) wandered round in circles for quite some time before they really found their groove to trance to. So this album is an excellent, be it somewhat flattering, testimony of their live skills.

Cherokee Lane and Monolight come closest to their latest studio album Stratosfear. But the live performances are rougher and offer a lot more punch. Man it must have been quite an event to witness this, as can be heard clearly from the reactions of the audience during the first track.

While the first album is more accessible and direct, the second album contains the real gems to expand your TD collection. Coldwater Canyon is something entirely different from the Tangs. None of their studio albums offered so much guitar as this one does and I really dig it! Froese's improvisations have a very personal sound (I'd guess lots of flanger and wahwah) and are just astounding. On Desert Dream they explore their pink years again. But with the addition of a few short sequences and melodies it's made just a bit more digestible then the original hermetic pink years. With it's 70 minutes of excellent tracks, this album ends the years of the classic line-up on a high note.

Tangerine Dream - 1976 - Stratosfear

Tangerine Dream

01. Stratosfear (10:04)
02. Big Sleep In Search Of Hades (4:45)
03. 3am At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee (8:10)
04. Invisible Limits (11:40)

Total Time: 34:39
The last studio album of the line-up Froese, Franke, Baumann recorded entirely in a small studio in Berlin 1976.

- Edgar Froese / Mellotron, Moog synth, 12 & 6 string guitars, Grand piano, bass guitar, Mouth Organ
- Christoph Franke / Moog synth, organ, percussion, Loop Mellotron, harpsichord
- Peter Baumann / Moog synth, projekt electronic rhythm computer, Fender E-Piano, Mellotron

Following the path of increasing symphonic-progressiveness that marked the first six years of TD's Virgin career, 'Stratosfear' is the most symphonic-oriented album by TD with Peter Baumann still in the band. The emphasis on the organization of clear melodic lines and compelling keyboard orchestration is quite clear, while still sticking to the electronic ambience formula that TD learnt to make their own. The title track kicks off the album with grandeur and sheer elegance, introducing a couple of 12 string electric guitar arpeggios over a soft, dreamy keyboard layer once the main motif is introduced on Moogs and mellotron, the listener is hooked into the sequence of gentle variations on synth and lead guitar, somehow reminding them of WYWH-Pink Floyd and Moon Madness-Camel. The closing comeback of the opening theme in a more melancholy mood ends the cycle in order to give the listener room for meditation about the show of ethereal beauty they are presented to. 'The Big Sleep in Search of Hades' is also constructed under the main theme/interlude/reprise premise. The opening-closing section is a graceful Baroque-like sonata built upon the dialogue between real harpsichord and mellotron flute; what happens in between is a somber Gothic synth/mellotron string extravaganza, pretty much related to the overall spirit of 'Atem' and 'Phaedra', though not as harsh. Once again, pure beauty becomes the rule at writing and performing - this particular number feels stylistically connected to the stuff created by Schicke Führs & Fröehling and Pulsar. Things get more exotic and cosmic in '3 A.M. at the Border of the Marsh from Okefenokee', whose Arabic-like lines on mellotron brass, synth and electric piano, flowing synth layers, and occasional passages on harmonica manage to convey sonically the situation of having a nice meditative walk by a march before the first light of dawn. IMHO, the best track is 'Invisible Limits', which is actually structured in a similar way than the opening cut, without the reprising motif in the end. In exchange, after the symphonic tour-de-force conveyed by the clever interplay of keyboards and guitar, we are first offered a minimalistic succession of random and almost unnoticeable touches of synth and electric piano, then concluding with an astonishingly beautiful nocturne on grand piano, seasoned by a dreamy mellotron flute. The aggressive handling of the last piano chords serves to release the fire that had been contained for the previous 50 seconds - the appearance of the human heart that all this time had been behind the electronic paraphernalia. Such a brilliant ending is more than appropriate for such an evocative album.

Tangerine Dream - 1975 - Ricochet

Tangerine Dream 

01. Ricochet Pt. 1 (17:03)
02. Ricochet Pt. 2 (21:11)

Total Time: 38:14
Taped during the band's very successful European Tour in 1975.

The original UK Virgin LP press of this was the last with the short-lived faun/tan label design. Further pressings exist with all subsequent label variants.

- Edgar Froese / synthesizer, bass, guitar, keyboards, composer
- Peter Bauman / keyboards, drums
- Christoph Franke / keyboards

 Once 'Phaedra' put TD on the map of international commercial success, the world was ready to openly receive their electronic-oriented krautrock offering and witness their transition through a road of progressively increasing finesse. This is where 'Ricochet' is situated, conceived as a two part suite to be played in some French and British churches during a mid '75 mini-tour. Part 1 kicks off with a few somber VCS3 chords and a hypnotic drum sequence that serves as a basis for the presentation for the main theme, a brief Arabic-like melodic line played on lead guitar, counter pointed by synth and mellotron, and balanced by lush organ layers and effective tribal rototom drumming: something very related (not derivative) to Ummagumma-PF and Agitation Free. After an interlude of synthetic stuff and taped monologues, the second section of Part 1 emerges as a frenetic reprise of the main theme, with Froese's guitar getting actually pretty Frippian (this is where TD remind me a bit of Heldon). The final result is quite epic, indeed - what a way to keep a listener hooked via the clever use of arrangements and variations on a not so complex but really catchy theme. Part 2 starts in a much calmer mood, with a Chopinesque grand piano intro on dialogue with a pastoral mellotron flute. Once the intro is over, here come lots of synthetic layers, harmonies and sequences that are soon to harbour mesmeric flows of mellotron and Frippian guitar, passing by and by again in full splendour. The final minutes are filled by a passage of dissonant flute mellotron at first, then a soft VCS3 sequence that ends it all quite tenuously. The crowd's ovation is nothing but a fair tribute to a great musical work that serves as a gigantic prelude to a masterpiece, 'Stratosfear': this one doesn't get that far, but pretty close, indeed.

Tangerine Dream - 1975 - Rubycon

Tangerine Dream

01. Rubycon Part 1 (17:18)
02. Rubycon Part 2 (17:35)

- Edgar Froese / Mellotron, guitar, Gong, VCS 3 synth, organ
- Christoph Franke / double Moog synth, Gong, synth A, organ, VCS 3 synth
- Peter Baumann / organ, E-Piano, synth A voice, Arp 2600

"Rubycon" is TD's sixth album, the second released for Virgin. It is the continuation of the style they first deployed on 1974's successful "Phaedra". The album is divided into two 17- minute-long parts, both pieces develop intriguingly and unfold like beautiful flowers.
The first part begins with dark ambient sounds over which TD start to play various synthesizers and mellotrons. The music is stunning: it flows like a river, it takes you on a journey, you feel as if set adrift on the oceans of imagination. The music develops into a climax and then suddenly stops for the deep bass sound to enter with eerie effects and the journey continues. The bass pulsates slowly and strange synthesizer sounds flow to and fro, like shapeless animals somewhere in deep space. These amoebic sounds lead to another climax with the pulsating bass picking up momentum and becoming more and more dark. Sporadic piano stabs give the music specific spooky atmosphere. Percussion adds to the pace of this piece and then the music slowly flows away with the pulsating beat ceasing into oblivion. The piano stabs go on and on and the whole track fades out.

The second Part begins with horroric, flowing sounds which continue ca 4 minutes, when the fast-paced pulsating beat (exactly like the one from "Part one") kicks in. It sounds magnificent and it sucks you into a tunnel of sounds with an eerie, eastern-flavoured melody line which swirls from side to side while the electronic beat goes on and on. This is gorgeous!!! More dynamic than the first part, but certainly of the same origin. The beat fades into the sounds of waves, it makes you feel as if you emerge from an ocean of sounds! Then, a flute solo by Peter Bauman solemnly and melancholically concludes the album. With the final tones of the, now alone, flute you feel you need nore of this W-O-N- D-E-R-F-U-L music, yet this album is far too short... That's the only flaw of this album. Apart from that it is A MASTERPIECE!

Tangerine Dream - 1974 - Phaedra

Tangerine Dream 

01. Phaedra (17:35)
02. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares (9:43)
03. Movements Of A Visionary (7:57)
04. Sequent C' (2:20)

Total Time: 37:35

- Edgar Froese / Mellotron, guitar-bass, VCS 3 synth, organ
- Christoph Franke / Moog synth, keyboards, VCS 3 synth
- Peter Baumann / organ, E-Piano, VCS 3 synth, flute

This album's name derives from Greek mythology and it was the »opener« for the band's international career in May 73. For most of the sequences, the Moog sequencer was used for the first time on a Rock & Pop record. This album brought TD massive attention from around the world. Gold records from various countries were part of this unexpected success.

The original issue of this was on the Roger Dean designed ("Gemini" and lizard, Virgin logo) colour label. A black & white version exists only as a "promotion - not for sale" issue apparently. Original issues came in a red printed poly-paper inner sleeve (at first) and then a black printed inner sleeve, with the Virgin Records logo and Vernon Street address (some later inners didn't have the address). Plain paper inners came later then a variety of other label designs.

Drastic change in sound for the band, after a move to Virgin Records. The album "Green Desert", allegedly recorded between the time the band was with Ohr and with Virgin, did not surface until 1986 (but because of all the '80s digital add-ons to that album, I find that really suspicious, and wonder how much of that was really recorded in 73)? I guess the reason why "Green Desert" was shelved for 13 years was because of the COSMIC JOKERS, a little project consisting of late night jam sessions with the likes of Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Jürgen Dollase, Dieter Dierks, and Harald Großkopf, in which these sessions were released behind their backs and with no royalties paid (this especially pissed off Klaus Schulze, as he started filing lawsuits against Rolf Ulrich Kaiser, head of Ohr, who just changed the name to Kosmische Musik). Schulze would rather wish everyone forget about the COSMIC JOKERS. Edgar Froese stayed out of this, and once said he refused to be a part of Kaiser's "cosmic circus". To be fair, the COSMIC JOKERS albums are very much worth looking in to, and I highly recommend them to those who enjoy ASH RA TEMPEL, Schulze, or early TANGERINE DREAM, for that matter (which should come as no surprise there), start with their self-entitled offering or "Galactic Supermarket" first.
In England, Atem was a favorite with radio DJ John Peel (who I understand just passed away recently) and named it 1973 "Import of the Year". That was enough to get Richard Branson interested in the group and have them signed to his Virgin label. So TANGERINE DREAM went to England and recorded "Phaedra". They totally moved away from the experimental space sound of their Ohr albums and let the synthesizers take center stage, rather than just electronic effects. It also helps that the band finally got a hold of a modular Moog. This album also marked the beginning of the "sequencer- era", which would last until the 1980s, because this is where they started experimenting with sequencers. There is also a minimalist feel to the album, making me wonder how much Terry Riley they've listened to. But this still didn't prevent the album from having that sinister, otherworldly atmosphere, as the side-length title track only proves. "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" is truly Edgar Froese's time to shine, as it consists of almost nothing but Mellotron. He made no bones about being a big fan of the instrument (and also admitted he stopped using the instrument by the end of the 1970s once polyphonic synths started playing a bigger role in their music), and it also explains why his second solo offering, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale is about 80% Mellotron. "Movement of a Visionary" returns to the sequencer method, with this synth pattern, which "Sequent C." is a bunch of overdubbed flutes, all courtesy of Peter Baumann. Surprisingly this album became a huge success, and it obviously establish them as one of the big name electronic acts here. This is truly an essential album for all electronic fans.

Tangerine Dream - 1973 - Atem

Tangerine Dream

01. Atem (20:25)
02. Fauni-Gena (10:43)
03. Circulation Of Events (5:49)
04. Wahn (4:31)

Total Time: 41:28
Most loved and played record by BBC DJ John Peel in 1973. This album was a keystone which cleared the way into the UK market in mid-73 after the release of their first recording for Virgin Records.

- Edgar Froese / Mellotron, guitar, organ, voice
- Christoph Franke / organ, VCS 3 synth, percussion, voice
- Peter Baumann / organ, VCS 3 synth, piano

Final album for the Ohr label. Apparently by this point, Edgar Froese was getting unhappy with Rolf Ulrich Kaiser marketing everyone on his label as freaks, and in fact Kaiser would shortly change the name of Ohr to Komische Musik (of course, things would only get worse when Kaiser released those COSMIC JOKERS albums, against the wish of some, especially Klaus Schulze). Anyway, the band continues the same, unusual spacy "music" they did their previous two albums. Only know, Edgar Froese started to include Mellotron, which he put to good use on the the title track, "Fauni Gena", and "Wahn". This is also what I consider their most accessible Ohr album, which isn't saying much (just that it's a single album, rather than a double like "Zeit"), as the music is still just as unstractured with hardly anything call conventional. I love how the album opens up, with strange wind sounds, before the Mellotron and drums kicks in. After several minutes going like this, growing ever more intense, there's this loud explosion, where the music quiets down to strange pulsing and droning sounds.
A lot of this sounds quite sinister, no doubt helped by the cover (done by Edgar Froese). "Fauni Gena" is Edgar Froese's Mellotron tour-de-force, as it's almost nothing but Mellotron (as electronic chirping birds). This sounds like a blueprint for his second solo album, "Epsilon in Malaysian Pale", except for one major difference: this is much more experimental. "Circulation of Events" is another really sinister sounding piece, no doubt caused by the strange droning and odd electronic effects. "Wahn" consists of a bunch of yelling and creaming, with startling percussion, before it ends with Mellotron. For me, I always thought the albums they did for Ohr were the most interesting, the only problem is it's not for everyone. But if you like music that hardly plays it safe, go for this album.