WFMU: Tangerine Dream Bootlegs No Longer Just for Stoner Geeks

Tangerine DreamWFMU’ s Beware of the Blog has posted an interesting article on Tangerine Dream, it’s history at the station, and some hard to find live MP3s:

The passage of time is a great quantifier in the arts, and music that may have seemed to be the exclusive province of geeky stoners in its original historical context (Jethro Tull, let’s say), now rings true and timeless, and may be imbued with an unexpected vitality that makes it sound even better, or more relevant, than when first heard (or ignored.)

I find this to be especially true in the case of Tangerine Dream, whose work, at least from the time of their formation in 1967 through the latter 70s, may have a lot to offer the jaded, post-modern music fan, especially those who feel (as I do) that electronic music is currently in a terrible rut, chasing its tail through PowerBook blip city. When in doubt, return to the roots.

The first 4 Tangerine Dream albums (especially the latter 3) are masterpieces of amorphous rock improvisation, with only occasional jolts of hypnotic rhythm, dominated by mellotron, simple electric guitar and analog synths. Yes, many rock bands were improvising in the post-psychedelic era, but not like this. The music on these albums fills the room like no other, the power of these pieces being their elusive, vaporous quality—there’s next to nothing to grab onto, the “patterns” slip away as quickly as they emerge—nonetheless you’re engulfed. You may also find, as I have, that different aspects of the music will emerge with each subsequent listen.

The more I listened to these albums, the more interested I became in Tangerine Dream’s later work, where the pulsating sequencers that made the band famous still float on a sea of ambient gloom from their first era. No doubt a lot of pot was cleaned in the gatefold sleeves of Phaedra, Rubycon and Stratosfear, enough to fill an auditorium, but you needn’t be stoned to appreciate the journey these albums take you on. (Sadly, too few full-length records nowadays actually take you on a journey anywhere, being merely collections of songs.) A personal favorite from this period is the live album Ricochet (1975), basically one long piece comprised of several movements, and guaranteed to be the surprise hit of your next jam-band raver party.

The Cyclone album, from 1978, is in my opinion the last great TD album, though Force Majeure (1979), the Thief soundtrack (1981) and Green Desert (1986, rec. 1973) all have some wonderful segments. Edgar Froese’s first 3 solo LPs, Aqua (1974), Epsilon in Malaysian Pale (1975) and Macula Transfer (1976) are all monumental works, as enveloping as anything mentioned above. Peter Baumann’s solo work is also worth a listen, especially the Baumann/Koek album from 1978 and Trans Harmonic Nights (1979).

The post is lengthy, but is a great read for fans of TD and their Berlin School classics. There are also some interesting links to MP3s of unreleased tracks from the era. Check out Ultima Thule II.

Source: Beware of the Blog

Leave a Reply