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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover

PHAEDRA

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 528 ratings

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EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 8/10

"Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's zenit: a visionary work of art, that borrows new ideas, but focuses on creating new ones that still sound modern today.

With the Pink years behind their backs, Tangerine Dream with "Phaedra" have started not only a whole new period of their career, but also showed the world how to make Electronic music. "Phaedra" still is an exemplar album in terms of Progressive Electronic and Ambient, if it's not the band's masterpiece (perhaps considering instead "Rubycon" or even a previous album), it is in any way an album that helped shape certain forms of music that today we find all over the place.

One of the main reasons why "Phaedra" is now a classic is because of Tangerine Dream's bold and innovating insert of sequencers, thus, the album's technical qualities, including the wonderful production, are pretty modern sounding for 1974. It's still though your Tangerine Dream album that is heavily dependent from the Pink years, with abundant sonic abstractions and brave new experiments that can't be found in no other band's music.So it's not only about the new equipment: Egar Froese loves to bring back, as if it were a toy just re discovered from the attic, more primitive instruments he used in his earlier works, like the mellotron, the organ, and even a guitar. Noticeable VCS3s also fluctuate around in many moments. Altogether, using the most popular and best new insruments for Electronic music, Tangerine Dream with "Phaedra" create a well organized pack of pulses and noises, generated by some of the visionary musicians of the seventies.

Thematically, there is a big difference compared to albums like "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit" or "Atem": while these mentioned albums liked to have space as a concept stimulator, "Phaedra" focuses more on abstractions, journey into minds and into psyches, instead of distant planets and stars. Structure-wise, though, "Phaedra" will be highly familiar, especially for whoever listened to "Atem", prior to this 1974 release. Length-wise the LP is built anti- climactically, with the longest song being the first and the songs after that getting progressively shorter. It is a formula the band liked to use back in the day, no question.

The sixteen minute title track that starts the album manages somehow to not be the complete center of the whole LP: The synths are metallic bubbles that eventually evaporate into crisp, misty atmospheres, it's a masterful, versatile track that can be creepy as well as touching. "Mysterious Semblances On the Strands Of Nightmares" goes towards a more juvenile direction, with a sample of kids screaming echoing throughout, and with a shy organ keeping the mood. The creepiest episode comes after that, "Movements Of A Visionary", fluctuating echoes of sudden synth sounds that really gives a twist to this album, until it eventually cools down in the crispy atmospheres that surrounded "Phaedra". "Sequence C" is a really short track that doesn't get enough time to deliver the same things the other ones do, even though it has great promise.

"Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's zenit, even though only a small tad superior to albums like "Atem" and "Zeit", both in my opinion great classics. With the use of some familiar formulas, the band brings to the table wonderfully modern sounding sounds. Essential listening for whoever is into Electronic music and Progressive as well, due to the influence this album had given to that genre later on.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |

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