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Tangerine Dream - Alpha Centauri CD (album) cover

ALPHA CENTAURI

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.53 | 240 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

russellk
Prog Reviewer
2 stars VCS3s in 1971. The first electronic space-rock album. There's serious experimentation going on, and EDGAR FROESE, once a pupil of Salvador Dali, is at the heart of it.

This album bears only superficial resemblance to their debut. Such a radical change in a band's sound simply wouldn't be tolerated in today's music publishing climate, but at this point in music's history it was par for the course. Instead of percussion-driven proto-Krautrock mixed with psychedelica, this album offers a quartet of swirling keyboards and a flute as well as FROESE's guitars. (The percussion is still there, but it loses the battle against the keyboards.) The addition of the prodigious 16-year-old CHRISTOPHER FRANKE will lead to TD developing their signature sequencer sound, but his impact is not immediately noticeable here.

The first track opens the album with atmospheric keyboards. It is followed by an extended piece that gradually morphs from a synth-heavy opening to a percussion-driven monster, but without the avant-garde feel of the longer tracks on their debut album. However, the album stands or falls by its epic title track, and by and large it stands. Do not expect the sequencer-driven pulses of the 1974-77 period: this is a slow-burning, beatless ambient soundscape, an electronic pea-souper, hidden within which invisible birds twitter and cry and disembodied ghosts shriek and moan. This extended effort presages the ambient tracks that appear on most TD albums during the 'Virgin' years.

An interesting if occasional listen. Not a masterpiece in its own right, the album's value lies as a stepping-stone, heralding FROESE's abandonment of avant-garde free-form 'rock' and a growing preoccupation with electronica.

russellk | 2/5 |

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