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Tangerine Dream - Rubycon CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.25 | 840 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Tangerine Dream, Rubycon, 1975

I type the first words of this review with the exquisite sound of Rachmaninov's Trio élégiaque no. 2 in D Minor coming from the speakers, fluent piano lines meeting expressive violin and cello effortlessly. It is a truly incredible piece of music. The thought that this piece, so far removed from the one I'm reviewing, suggests is this:

Firstly, that beauty is not made more beautiful by isolation; the lush, watery, wordless landscapes suggested by the astounding playing of Valeri Grohovski on piano are interwoven with brooding, pensive reflection and defiant outcries from the violin and cello over a jolting piano theme repeated and developed to draw out its character, offering that central beauty an even greater power than it would have when relieved of its daring surroundings. In fact, these surroundings have a beauty of their own to appreciate and grow to love.

Such is Rubycon... at its heart a compelling and evocative classical title: the implications of Rubycon are not just its historical significance, the moment when a King by any other name takes a rotten democracy and replaces it with a golden tyranny, the triumphal opening of Western Civilisation proper and a violent, bloody aftermath, a slaughter nullo discrimine of sacrificial victims for progress; the implications of Rubycon are much deeper even than that: it is a choice made against all your conditioning, breaking the sacred and the moral to become your own person, making a decision which cannot be reversed, 'The awful daring of a moment's surrender, which an age of prudence can never retract.'

The title of Rubycon and the music which evokes it thus conveys to me not only the grim nature of death, battle and hostile Mars, but also the beauty and sacrifice of creating your own identity, of doing something truly momentous and the sacrifice, the darkness and the loss of the main theme adds to the surreal beauty of the album and vice versa. The two, good and evil as we men can understand them, are companions in a sense, trapped together in the logic of the universe. Anyway, that is what an appropriately momentous name choice and appropriate accompanying cover art can add to music.

Rubycon is a swirling, scarcely describable cauldron of moods; weeping, echoing mellotron, active, heady, fired up VCS-3 synthesiser, mournful, cautious and low piano, modified ethereal guitars and keys of all descriptions. All these add up to create one unique, evocative musical image and a memorable, creative and deeply emotional piece of music. There's no division of pretty and dark music here, and the overall effect is incredible.

Well, from the analogies you've perhaps got a basic understanding of why I like both Rachmaninov and Rubycon, and even if the analogy is a little sketchy, I guess it's meant to say that the same lonely and communal beauty and strife and complexity and simplicity can be recognised in both in different forms, and if you hold any admiration for the sheer expressiveness music can accomplish, then, whatever musical styles you adhere to, and whatever instrumentation you usually appreciate, Rubycon is a record you should not be without.

Rating: Five Stars, 15/15 or something like that. Really, ratings are meaningless for this kind of music.

TGM: Orb | 5/5 |


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