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Tangerine Dream - Atem CD (album) cover

ATEM

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.58 | 207 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars With this album, Tangerine Dream closes down a stage of constant electronic experimentation in a sustained spiral of maturation toward the sort of stylish frameworks to be elaborated from the "Phaedra" album onwards. "Atem" is, in short, one step in the assessment process that the trio of Franke, Froese and Boemann has been delivering from the days of that magnificent exercise on minimalism entitled "Zeit". Evidently, TD is aiming at becoming more expressionist and more expansive concerning the instrumental interactions among all members. The opener kicks off with a fabulous storm of mellotron layers accompanied by organ washes and ominous percussion- the transition from a 5/4 tempo to a tribal development shows a musical road that gets started from an orchestral point of view and ends on a more visceral note. This is an amazing introduction, full of magic, power and sinister vibrations. The synthesizer ornaments that go appearing enhance the mellotron's motifs quite proficiently. The track's first 6 minutes incarnate a perfect continuation of the then recent PF legacy from "Ummagumma", but there's still 15 more minutes to go. The remaining atmospheres are less loud, focusing on a combination of deceitful calm and overwhelming mystery, as if the sounds were ordained to conceal something disturbing that never really shows off. The relentless minimalism of "Zeit" is partially recovered here, but like I said earlier, the sonic sources are more expansive and less restrained, even signaling at times at the rough dynamics of the "Alpha Centauri" album. The somber moods get subtly augmented by the 10 minute mark, with the VCS loops and Farfisa's dreamy layers filling the starring role. Some guitar effects and mellotron ornaments get in from time to time, ultimately leading to a fade-out featuring the synth's lower notes. The album's second half starts with 'Fauni Gena', an 11 minute piece that pretty much anticipates the sort of precious atmospheres to be worked on during the 74-77 era. The mellotron flute leads most of the alleatory developments of the ethereal musical ideas that go emerging by: the other keyboards start quite mysterious, but when the mellotron strings take hold of the instrumentation, things become less mysterious and more solemn. 'Circulation of Events', on the other hand, states a sort of transition between "Zeit" and the new TD airs, although generally speaking it can be described as yet another example of carefully developed atmospheres. 'Wahn' is quite a peculiar epilogue to the album: its vocal and percussive resources feel quite rare, as if TD was taking a final look back at the "Electronic Meditation" days, even when the mellotron (the band's new found "toy") settles in to add extra colors to the fold. Despite the bizarre aura provided by this closer, "Atem" is a most powerful transitional album that reveals a high level of creativity from the TD guys during these years of musical restlessness and preoccupations for what lies on the artistic horizons.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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