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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover

PHAEDRA

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 537 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pnoom!
4 stars Hypnotic, trance-inducing music.

I had heard Tangerine Dream's name thrown around a bit when talking about progressive electronic music, and from what I gathered, they were far different from Kraftwerk. Now, Kraftwerk is currently my favorite progressive electronic band, but at the time I bought this album, I thought very little of them. I decided that there had to be more to the sub-genre, and I remembered Tangerine Dream. Enter Phaedra. This album is Tangerine Dream's most highly acclaimed album, and I decided to begin with it. I took two or three listens, found it duller even than Kraftwerk, and proceeded to leave the entire sub- genre for dead.

What has happened since then? Well, I didn't really quite leave the genre for dead. Instead, I gave it one last try with Klaus Schulze's brilliantly titled (insert smiley for sarcasm) X album, which I liked more than anything by Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream, but which didn't ignite a progressive electronic fire beneath me (though I have come to like it much more since then). But, more recently (and importantly), I gave Kraftwerk's The Man Machine and Trans-Europe Express a few good listens, and that's where everything changed. Both those albums became two of my all-time favorites (especially Trans-Europe Express), and I decided to give Tangerine Dream another shot or two.

I did, and my opinion changed, but not by much. Most of my major complaints that I had the first time around are still with me now. Namely, whereas Kraftwerk draws your full attention as a listener, Tangerine Dream simply hopes you'll give it to them. What I mean is: Kraftwerk sucks you in from the opening seconds, while Tangerine Dream do little to actively engage you until, at least for me, it is too late. Obviously, you can't fully enjoy an album without giving it your complete attention, but I have listened to this album as background music and gotten nearly as much out of it as when I listened to it and did nothing else. This music is a lot like a cloud, really. It's generally very pretty and can be different shapes, it's easy to sink into, but ultimately provides little support for the listener (it also has a somewhat "wet" feel to it, as clouds do).

Once you work beyond that, however, it's not hard to see that this is a great album. It relies largely on textures, floating in and out of your consciousness at whatever pace the band sees fit. This effect is done very well, probably almost as well as it can be done, and I find myself quite enjoying it as I listen. Each song is full of great moments, and none of them get boring.

What I cannot deny is this album's influence. It is clearly one of the most important progressive electronic albums around, and is therefore a must have for all fans of the genre. Ultimately, I have to come to the conclusion that this album, while good, is just simply not my cup of tea. I do, however, recognize that, for many people, this kind of "music that melts" can be quite entrancing. An album worth owning for its influence, but if you don't like it, keep in mind that Kraftwerk's blend of electronic prog is far removed from that of Tangerine Dream. If neither of them do it for you, I don't know. Some Klaus Schulze, perhaps?

4 stars.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |

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