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Tangerine Dream - Stratosfear CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.94 | 506 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The title of the Tangerine Dream studio album released prior to "Stratosfear" might have been a little premature: it was here that the electronic trio finally crossed a musical Rubicon, abandoning forever the counterculture sound of their Krautrock roots.

The popular 1976 album marked the true beginning of a brighter, bouncier, more accessible Tangerine Dream, and the difference is immediately clear from the opening notes: actual melodies (instead of long, cosmic improvisations); guitars played to sound like genuine rock 'n' roll guitars; a touch of acoustic drumming in the title track; an evocative harmonica intro elsewhere. There's even an unexpected moment of synthesized 'Superfly' funk, near the beginning of "Invisible Limits".

Even more telling is the band's obvious update of their long-standing debt to PINK FLOYD. Back in Berlin the first Tangerine Dream had openly aped "A Saucerful of Secrets"; six years later the drifting guitar arpeggio introducing the title track of "Stratosfear" would distinctly recall the album "Wish You Were Here", released by the Floyd just one year earlier to unprecedented hype and attention.

But this was first and foremost (and remains today) a Tangerine Dream album, maybe the quintessential recording from their classic mid-'70s line-up of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, and Peter Baumann. The latter half of the album in particular (Side Two, on the original vinyl) is textbook T. Dream, beginning with the gorgeous atmospherics of "3 a.m. at the Border of the Marsh from Okefenokee" (and how's that for an evocative title?).

It's odd how the album today sounds more dated than their previous efforts: the indispensable "Ricochet" and "Rubycon". But "Stratosfear" introduced the band to many stateside listeners, including this reviewer, and for those of us with long memories it holds enormous value beyond its obvious musical merits, as a treasured artifact of analogue Synth Rock nostalgia.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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