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Tangerine Dream - Stratosfear CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.95 | 518 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars This album marks a dramatic shift in TANGERINE DREAM's music. Perhaps it's not immediately obvious to the listener, but for the first time melody dominates soundscape and rhythm. The title track lays out the template for the next seven years' worth of music, with simple, structured and repetitive themes - symphonic prog, in other words - replacing free-form noodling. The inevitable result of this is a contraction of the breadth of the compositions: short themes don't need the same time to develop as an extended free-form composition.

For many people this is a change for the better, but not for me. It led directly to TD's work on soundtracks, but to me was a step back from the multi-layered complexity of their previous three albums. This album simply doesn't have the depth to sustain interest for repeated listenings.

The title track is energetic, but sacrifices both drama and beauty to achieve its restlessness. The other three tracks are rather nondescript, with in particular the 12 & 6 string guitar serving to 'normalise' the unique TD sound. I'm also annoyed by the obvious attempt to ingratiate themselves with the American market, the too-obvious beginning to '3 AM ...' and it's mouth organ trying to evoke southern swamps. They would have been better served harking back to their avant-garde past than indulging in this sort of shallow compromise.

In sum, this, the last studio album from the classic lineup of FROESE, FRANKE and BAUMANN, is a retrograde step. Fortunately FROESE and FRANKE realised this and, with their next two studio albums proper, went back to the drawing board and once again took risks with both personnel and style. The results were startling to say the least.

russellk | 2/5 |


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