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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 823 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The first ten minutes of this album changed the way we thought about music.

Immediately others began exploring the ambient and techno territories that FROESE, FRANKE and BAUMANN had discovered. JEAN MICHEL JARRE went and bought himself a suite of expensive hardware after hearing this. BRIAN ENO incorporated TD motifs in his own ambient music. The new wavers of the 1980s owe their existence to TANGERINE DREAM: GIORGIO MORODER, HAROLD FALTERMEYER and others ought to be paying the TANG a percentage of their royalties. From the 1990s THE ORB, ORBITAL, APHEX TWIN, AUTECHRE and the like all owe a debt to TANGERINE DREAM, as do the hundreds of lesser trance-exponents who followed.

These first ten minutes pulse with a goosepimply insistence, a constantly changing kaleidoscope of sound courtesy of FRANKE's moog sequencer. Though it sounds somewhat dated now, given what digital sequencers and other equipment can do now, nothing - I mean nothing - like this had been heard before. The nearest analogue I can dredge up is PINK FLOYD's 'On The Run' from the previous year, but that had little of the pure attention-grabbing excitement of this. An ethereal opening, followed by a pulsing noise I can only describe as something like a liquid engine at rest, set the scene for the arrival of the ever-evolving pulse-blip, TANGERINE DREAM's signature sound. It's used here, as in subsequent albums, as the foundation for the gang's instrumental flights of fancy, notably the swirly synth at 3:35. And when the pulse changes at 7 minutes you know you're in the presence of genius.

That said, the rest of the album is more like their 'Pink' years of their first four albums, mostly ambient soundscapes created with mellotron and synth, though even these are somewhat more accessible than the avant-garde drone of 'Zeit'. None of FROESE's soaring guitars, sadly, but they can be found in subsequent releases. These days I consider 'Phaedra' a four-star album, but it is essential listening, if only for the first ten minutes.

A work of art that will be remembered centuries hence.

russellk | 4/5 |


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