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Tangerine Dream - Atem CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.59 | 283 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 8/10

"Atem" brings the listener into places he never imagined existed, deep in the dark corners of space and his mind.

Tangerine Dream, for some fans, found their golden period only after "Phaedra", the official turning point of the band's career. But the so called pink years have a sort of seducing, arcane, and creepy magic to them that makes them sound like albums made by supernatural forces that happened to haunt the studio at those moments. "Atem" is one of the most strongly surreal, magic, and otherworldly albums Tangerine Dream has ever released, an extremely successful attempt in transporting the listener in places he would have never imagined existed, deep in the dark corners of space and of his mind.

Edgar Froese and his fellow partners already gave a wonderful example of Ambient with the previous LP "Zeit", a droned out piece of art that remains, in it's suspended stillness, a landmark achievement of Electronic music. With "Atem" they seem to go towards a direction they partially went on with "Alpha Centauri", however, in that 1971 release, they stopped at halfway. This 1973 release goes all the way down, to the point of no return. Creepy, majestic, epic, "Atem" has a wonderful crystal clear production that makes you doubt this was released in 1973, and gives to the music yet another hint of primordial and futuristism at the same time. The synths sound much more modern, the atmospheres extremely haunting and effective, even when you do hear something like tom drums in the background, it still gives the impressive feeling that human beings had nothing to do with the process of creating this album.

Breathe, is what Atem means. Life is present in this album, and if it is human, it's almost primitive and outnumbered by all the lifeless atmosphere: only on a track like "Wahn", with all it's scary vocal samples shouting and whining, the human form becomes one with the supernatural. But then there is a song such as the twenty minute title track, the bulk of the entire LP, where eerie, spacey soundscapes is all that is heard. What makes this track great is not only it's epic, descending structure, but also it's absolute effectiveness in bringing the listener into strange, dark realms. Then we have the ethereal, dark jungle of "Fauni Gena", for it's entire ten minutes having forest sounds in the background, in the foreground an eerie flute melody that echoes throughout the track. "Circulation Of Events" has a very suspenseful and extremely tense atmosphere, beautifully executed, it has a majestically unique sound that gives once again an impact to the listener, and makes him wonder why it's only about six minutes long. The mentioned "Wahn" closes the album eerily, to leave the listener stunned just after it's closing notes.

"Atem" is one of the most creative and underrated of Tangerine Dream albums, an experience that must be lived by anyone who loves Electronic music. The following album "Phaedra" will have even more advanced sounds, but it won't capture an atmosphere like the one in "Atem".

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |


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