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Tangerine Dream - Rubycon CD (album) cover

RUBYCON

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

4.27 | 604 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Even more than their groundbreaking 'Phaedra', its 1975 sequel defined for all time the classic Tangerine Dream sound: urgent, overlapping sequencer rhythms, typically bookended by nebulous pre-New Age soundscapes, and underscored by Edgar Froese's unique touch with a Mellotron. For better or worse, the success of both albums ('Rubycon' was a UK top-ten hit) helped to shape a revolution in modern rock.

But the difference between them is striking. The music of 'Rubycon' was, as always, based around long electronic improvisations, but with a stronger, more confident sense of structure, slowly building in each long, self-titled track to an actual climax and resolution, dramatically so when stretched to seventeen-plus minutes. Even better, the trio had finally mastered their new equipment (the sequencer tuning was somewhat insecure on the earlier effort), and the driving momentum of each section, together filling both sides on an entire vinyl LP, is still nothing short of exhilarating.

And yet I suspect some fans would rather skip the ambient introductions and cut straight to the rhythmic chase, parts of which were actually excerpted (foolishly) as a 45 rpm single when the album was first released. But the scale of the music, and the interdependence of each chapter, can only be appreciated when heard without interruption.

Witness the spine-tingling moment near the six-minute mark in 'Part One', when the drifting meditative daydream slowly becomes an ominous deep-space nightmare, just before the sequencers kick in with their usual dynamic flair. Or the soothing transition to Mellotron flute at the end of 'Part Two', gracefully ending an otherwise turbulent piece of music on a palpable note of relief.

In retrospect it would be the last of Tangerine Dream's truly experimental albums, albeit far more accessible than anything from their previous, so-called Pink Years (compare it to the often atonal minimalism of 'Atem', recorded just two years earlier). And the band's next effort, the fan-favorite 'Statosfear', would carry them even closer to the symphonic prog mainstream of the mid-1970s.

Worldwide success and a string of quintessential albums would follow. But this was Tangerine Dream at the peak of their electronic inspiration.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |

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