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Tangerine Dream - Underwater Sunlight CD (album) cover

UNDERWATER SUNLIGHT

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.72 | 123 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars The electronic music of TANGERINE DREAM is designed to slowly and seductively charm us listeners rather than bowl us over. Even their best albums are more sultry than aggressive. In fact, up until "Underwater Sunlight", only the anomaly of "Cyclone" really hits hard, even if its long lasting impact might be subject to scrutiny.

But here, from the opening notes of "Song of the Whale Part 1", we squarely face the rocky visage of TD, and crampons are recommended! The group has us scaling the heights and the depths of life as a whale, with dramatic flourishes aplenty and just the right degree of sentimentality. The acoustic and electric guitars dominate whole sections as they rarely have before in the TD canon. The theme is truly ahh-inspiring and with appropriate repetitive reinforcement, and the denouement is breathtaking.

Unfortunately, nothing else on the album comes close, even if Part 2 begins with lovely piano and boasts more skilled lead guitar work, and "Ride on the Ray" is an ambient delight with a hypnotic melody. "Dolphin Dance" is a fair educated guess as to what these cetaceans might do when the lights go down, or what they might have done in the mid 80s anyways! But the album closes weakly, with the charisma-free "Scuba Scuba" and the somewhat better but still dullish "Underwater Twilight".

Far better than simply treading water, "Underwater Sunlight" affirms Tangerine Dream's role as a progressive beacon in the sunspot year of 1986. 3.5 stars rounded up.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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