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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 824 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars the time

This is the earliest Tangs album I have, on a rather well worn vinyl copy too! Having listened to a number of other albums by the band though, I have to say that it is hard to differentiate chronologically between a lot their albums. At the risk of upsetting die-hard fans of the band, the one thing they do not seem to do much is progress. Perversely for prog, this is not music which demands the full attention of the listener. It is ideal to have on while reading etc., as background music.

As with much of Tangerine Dream's work, "Phadrea" sits on the peripheries of prog rock, in the Electronic/New Age direction. The music slowly paints textures and landscapes, the pace never rising above sedate, this band never "rock out". Forget the strong melodic tendencies of Genesis, the metal based incessant rock of Dream Theater, or the intricate complexities of Spock's Beard, "Phadrea" is arguably not very musical at all. The sounds the band create are best described as washes or waves, which flow over the listener. Those who have experienced Rick Wakeman's new age period will have a fair idea what to expect, although even that appears more structured than much of the output of Tangerine Dream.

The music is synthesiser based, the sounds the band created at the time of the album's release being strikingly unique, indeed futuristic. Those listening to the album for the first time now will probably consider it to be "of its time", since what was futuristic then may well sound dated now. That said, it is surprising how the repeated electronic motifs the Tangs use as the basis for some sections of their music, particularly the slightly more upbeat and structured sections, can be found pretty much intact on what is now known as trance music. The driving dance backbeat may be absent, but the tape loop style repetition of a series of notes is what trance is all about. The Tangs were doing this 30 years before it became hip.

While there are four tracks in total, with the title track occupying the whole of one side of the LP, there's little to differentiate the tracks. If you enjoy one of them, you'll enjoy them all.

This review is written from a very pragmatic view point and probably fails to capture the emotion and atmosphere of the music. For me, "Phadrea" is a highly enjoyable album, but it is important that those unfamiliar with what Tangerine Dream are all about, are aware of their distinctive approach to their music.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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