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Tangerine Dream - Electronic Meditation CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.36 | 307 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Neither electronic nor meditative, this debut album from the incredibly influential TANGERINE DREAM is nevertheless essential listening for those seeking to understand the development of Krautrock, psychedelica, electronica and new age music.

That doesn't mean it's pleasant listening. Far from it. In stark contrast to the pulsing sequencers and melancholy, atmospheric colourings of their 'Virgin Years' recordings, this album is edgy avant-garde fare, and I'd advise the majority of prog rock fans to save their pennies for later TD works.

This initial incarnation of the band features, along with EDGAR FROESE, a young KLAUSE SCHULTZ on percussion, and CONRAD SCHNITZLER, a Berlin nightclub owner, fiddling about with fiddles. The result is definitely free-form. 'Genesis' arises from the instrumental sludge to showcase SCHULTZ's percussion and odd, dissonant instrumental stabs. 'Journey Through a Burning Brain' sounds like something from PINK FLOYD's 'Ummagumma' sessions, but with far more point: this track continues the theme of dissonant instrumental stabs over a pleasant organ sound. This gradually morphs into a beat-heavy lumbering beast that could well serve as the prototype of all things Krautrock. Guitars and flutes trilling and shrieking punctuate the aural landscape until pastoral keyboards bring the song to a close.

My favourite on this album is 'Cold Smoke', which splutters into life amid elegant organ and crashing symbals and spends most of its ten-minute existence searching for a balance between Krautrock and psychedelica. FROESE's HENDRIX-like free-form guitar drives the latter part of the track, a precursor to the incredible sounds he would lay down in the latter half of the 1970s, culminating in 'Force Majeure'. Here we discover that in 1970 FROESE was already a talent.

The album concludes with two shorter tracks. Neither are essential.

When listening to this record one gets the sense that in 1970 the music scene was a very vibrant thing, in which almost anything could happen. FROESE exploited people's willingness to experiment by offering them a series of four difficult, edgy and experimental genre-straddling records, emerging from the highly influential Berlin scene. As a result, TANGERINE DREAM encapsulated an aspect of this exciting age of music that would otherwise have been lost, and as a result became influential in their own right.

Don't start your TANGERINE DREAM experience here. Instead, go straight to 'Phaedra'. Only stop here if you're really curious.

russellk | 3/5 |


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