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Tangerine Dream - Atem CD (album) cover

ATEM

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.59 | 206 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

baz91
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This might be one of the hardest reviews I've ever had to write. This was the album that DJ John Peel hailed as his favourite album of 1973, consequently opening the band up to new waves of listeners. However, Peel must be seeing something that I'm not, as I've found it very difficult to appreciate this album. Being new to the krautrock genre, this avant-garde opus was certainly the wrong place to start. I've learned that Tangerine Dream is an acquired taste, and that the band's so-called 'Pink Years' (which include this album) are mainly for connoisseurs. Still, this intrepid reviewer investigates.

The first track, Atem, would have taken up the whole of Side 1 on the original release, as it is over 20 minutes in length. The first 5 minutes of the track have the feel of a gigantic fanfare. This gets faster and louder and more intense until there is the sound of an explosion towards the sixth minute, as if a rocket has blasted off. Afterwards, we are catapulted into a spacey realm of calm and atmospheric sounds. The track continues like this for the remaining 15 minutes, with various experimental effects being subtly tested while you relax. The most enjoyable parts are when something quite noticeable changes, for instance the loud bass sound heard at 14:17. It's as if the group are trying to lull you into a false sense of security and then suddenly changing the music once you're comfortable. This is definitely the most memorable and enjoyable track from the album.

The original Side 2 contained three songs. The first of these, Fauni-Gena, is a light, repetitive mellotron workout with the sounds of nature in the background. At nearly 11 minutes, this new age track becomes quite tedious after a while. Circulation of Events is also very similar, but only half the length. Only Wahn shows any diversity, with insane wordless vocals heard at the beginning of the track. These sounds are quite unnerving, but give way to a more relaxing mellotron piece with percussion accompaniment.

One thing that I can say for sure about this album is that it has been a whole new experience, though perhaps not an entirely enjoyable one. I'm far too used to things happening in my music for this slow-changing stuff. If you like Tangerine Dream, then you will almost certainly love this album, but for the uninitiated, I recommend you stay as far away from this album as possible, and try some of the group's more accessible albums first.

baz91 | 2/5 |

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