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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 824 ratings

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5 stars Sometime back around 1974-75, I read an article in Circus (remember that rock mag?) about German rock. The piece opened up a new realm of progressive rock for me, and I soon purchased excellent albums by Teutonic acts like Can, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul II, and Nektar (the latter were, of course, not Germans, but simply based in Germany). The writer of the article described the sound of Tangerine Dream as "music that melts," and intrigued, I bought a copy of PHAEDRA.

At first I really didn't know what to make of what I heard (my initial reaction to Can's FUTURE DAYS was much the same). The music of the German keyboard trio was very spacey, laid back, and, for me, somewhat boring. A confirmed convert to prog via pioneering and dynamic bands like Yes, ELP, Crimson, and Genesis (my then favourite), I found myself waiting for something to "happen" as I listened to my new TD album. Soon, however, with the lights out, the incense burning, and headphones on, I developed an enthusiastic appreciation for this often lovely -- yet at times scary -- "music that melts." (I still find that phrase to be a very apt descriptor of the output of the trio's golden 74-79 era.)

As other reviewers have noted, PHAEDRA was a product of TD's classic lineup of Froese, Franke and Baumann, and by this time synth technology (and, presumably, the instruments owned by the band) had nicely caught up to the group's ambitious new direction in electronic music. For my tastes, PHAEDRA is the first truly great TD recording, where the available tools are finally "up to the task" of what is being attempted -- and so successfully attained. (I have a copy of the earlier GREEN DESERT, but quite frankly find it to be boring and rather dated in its sound: full of faux "wind" noises, and the kind of cheesy early synth chirps, bleeps and primitive "ray gun" effects that you hear on old "B-grade," late-night sci-fi reruns. "Plan 9 from Outer Space," anyone?)

PHAEDRA is an important, influential and fully-realized masterpiece of early electronic prog. It's the perfect backdrop for reading (science-fiction, fantasy, or horror, naturally), dozing, loving, or just contemplating the arcane mysteries of the lava lamp. Please don't be put off if it doesn't immediately grab you! Turn it up, turn out the lights, close your eyes (don't try this in your car!) and drift gently away to a past future time, as envisioned by three German synth visionaries of the early 70s. Essential stuff!

Peter | 5/5 |


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