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Tangerine Dream - The Analogue Space Years CD (album) cover

THE ANALOGUE SPACE YEARS

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.26 | 6 ratings

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Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars (Note: the original four-star rating of this collection was demoted to three-stars after the release of the more comprehensive "Nebulous Dawn" box set in 2006)

First, the good news: here's a compilation of Tangerine Dream that makes at least a little sense. By concentrating on a single chapter within an astonishing four decades (and counting) of recorded music, this generous twin-disc manages to sidestep the aesthetic pratfalls made by other sets of haphazardly assembled, incompatible tracks from all over the TD map.

Now, the not-so-good news, at least for unadventurous listeners hooked on the twin crutches of melody and rhythm: the focus here is entirely on the band's earliest, pre- Virgin Records output. In other words, this is Tangerine Dream at its most inscrutably ambient and abstract, and about as primitive as electronic music can get and still be labeled music (a debatable point to be sure, even today).

The selections are pretty evenly divided between the first five TD albums, all recorded between 1970 and 1973: "Electronic Meditation", "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit", "Atem", and the transitional "Green Desert". This last title, when finally released, was belatedly remixed to mid-1980s sound standards, but the others have always existed somewhere outside the comfort zone of casual fans accustomed to the band's more accessible, sequencer-driven classics from the later 1970s. It might help to hear these embryonic efforts in a historical context, as stone-age electronic music for space-age leisure, and all the more evocative for their lo-fi lack of high-tech sheen.

There's nothing here that hasn't already been released previously. But the collection offers a good point of departure to newcomers brave enough to dare the more obscure corners of Tangerine Dream's back catalogue. I only wish the tracks could have been presented in some sort of chronological order, to better show the evolution of the group from intrepid sonic amateurs (heavily in debt to early PINK FLOYD, circa "Saucerful of Secrets") to celebrated pioneers of modern gothic electronica.

On the other hand, the random sequence has an unsettling effect befitting such otherworldly music, conjuring images of cosmic grandeur worthy of the late Carl Sagan: arid, ice-cold shards of drifting interstellar debris; white-hot star stuff collapsing into black holes; thick, viscous nebulas bubbling like a supernova-sized lava lamp between your headphones.

But enough already: I think you get the point. There's more to say, but because my copy of what should have been a two-CD set was missing Disc One, it's only fair that this review should likewise end in mid

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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