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Edgar Froese - Aqua CD (album) cover


Edgar Froese


Progressive Electronic

3.69 | 95 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars There are three versions of this album, the Brain version, the Virgin version, and the Eastgate version. The latter is an abomination, Edgar Froese should never have partially rerecorded that adding on digital synths and drum machines. What was he on? This stuff is bound to haunt him beyond the grave. We can be thankful he didn't try and butcher the 1970s Tangerine Dream catalog the same way.

Aqua is his first solo album, but it certainly didn't harm Tangerine Dream in the least, as their best stuff was just around the corner. This one actually sounds more like a transition between the early "Pink Years" (Ohr label) Tangerine Dream and the Virgin Years. Many of the sounds effects are familiar as they were used on Phaedra, basically on the title track and "Upland", meaning you know it was Froese himself responsible for those sound effects. On this album he uses mainly VCS-3 and organ, but strangely he uses the Mellotron on only one cut. On "NGC 891" he gets his TD bandmate Christophe Franke on Moog to provided the sequencer. The title track features strange water sounds and very eerie droning organ, before ending like it came off Alpha Centauri or Zeit with those same eerie wind sounds. "Panorphelia" features pulsing VCS-3 synth sounds and Mellotron, but the Brain version starts off with strange whooshing sound effects not found on the Virgin version. "NGC 891" features an experiment using GŁnther Brunschen's artificial head system, basically microphones stuck in each ear of a dummy head (or mannequin head) to create this surround sound effect, as heard on the sounds of jets heard on this cut. The effect is best heard using headphones hearing them come from the left to right, although I can feel that effect on my regular stereo system without the headphones. You just have to sit between the speakers. "Upland" also starts off with strange sound effects on the Brain version that's different from the Virgin, before it goes on the more familiar bubbling VCS-3 synths sound effect. That strange reversed tinkling piano that ends the Virgin version is absent on the Brain version. It's only "Upland" and "Panorphelia" that differ from the Brain and Virgin versions as the title track and "NGC 891" are the same on both versions. I own both the Virgin and Brain versions so I can attest to this, and it's nice to own both versions because of that. I just acquired the Brain version after years of hearing how two of its cuts were of different mix. The other minor different was side one and two were switched. Regardless, this is a great and important album in Edgar Froese's career. Not only did it launch his solo career, but is a nice bridge between the old and new Tangerine Dream sound of that time, even though Aqua did come about four months after Phaedra. Very much an essential album.

Progfan97402 | 5/5 |


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