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Tangerine Dream - Electronic Meditation CD (album) cover

ELECTRONIC MEDITATION

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.36 | 307 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
2 stars 'Electronic Meditation' was recorded in October 1969 shortly after Edgar Froese asked drummer Klaus Schulze and violin/cello player Conrad Schnitzler to join Tangerine Dream. TD had been around since 1967 and was known to perform free form live jams that sometimes lasted up to 5-6 hours. In those 2 years the band had seen more than 15 line-up changes already and also the Froese, Schulze, Schnitzler incarnation would hardly last a year as first Schulze and then Schnitzler would leave TD in the course of 1970 to join Ash Ra Temple and Kluster. Not credited but also part of the 'Electronic Meditation' recording were Thomas Keyserling (flutes) and Jimmy Jackson (organ).

No official recordings have survived from the 67-69 period and even the release of 'Electronic Meditation' was an accident rather than anything premeditated: there just happened to be a 2-track tape recorder running while they were jamming' It wouldn't be the last time that chance played an important part in TD's music. The tape found its way to Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser who released it on his recently founded record label Ohr.

'Genesis' - Contrary to what its title might suggest, 'Electronic Meditation' contains no electronic instrumentation whatsoever, instead it's free from experimental rock with an uncanny mix of guitars, drums, organ, cello, flute, sound effects and tape recorders. 'Genesis' demonstrates this very well with its eerie slide guitar and tuneless cello drones. As it goes along, distant tribal drums and seemingly random flutes add to what I believe to be a very exciting track, exemplary for what TD was about during their stay on the Ohr label.

'Journey Through A Burning Brain' - Later on Froese would cite contemporary artists such as Ligeti, Stockhausen and Salvador Dali as primary influences but in these early years it were the Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix that shaped his music, along with early Pink Floyd. The influence from the latter is the most obvious: the closing organ section of 'A Saucerful of Secrets' is literally the basis for the album's 12 minute centerpiece. The spirit of Jimmy Hendrix is very vivid in the wild jam that this track gradually evolves into.

'Cold Smoke' - An organ spinning minor chord progressions alternates with percussive outbursts. Halfway in you could swear to hear Nick Mason banging away on the skins. In the second half Froese's guitar is very upfront, climaxing on top of the layer of noise produced by the band. It's dirty and gritty but considering this was recorded on a simple 2-track tape it sounds quite ok actually. I guess the way it sounds is an important part of the album's charm (or lack thereof considering where you stand).

'Ashes to Ashes' - This time a more conventional backbeat takes the lead. It demonstrates how Tangerine Dream was still an integral part of the kraut rock scene as this track could as easily have featured on albums from their contemporaries Amon D''l, Agitation Free or Organisation.

'Resurrection' - This returns to the 'Saucerful' organ part and to the slide guitar and cello drones of the opener. It's an interesting way to end the album as the sounds and mood conjured up here would be further developed on their next album. Unlike the more rock oriented jams this particular track would not be out of place on 'Alpha Centauri'.

By far not my favorite Tangerine Dream album but still very happy it exists as the band went on to do entirely different things and we would have had no idea at all of what they were about in their formative years. 'Electronic Meditation' is a fascinating early kraut rock album but it lacks the chops to grab my attention for its entire course. As Froese recalls 'we were still a bunch of amateurs'.

Bonnek | 2/5 |

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