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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record has 2 epic songs, and it lasts nearly one hour! It is REALLY full of melodic keyboards and percussive sequenced beat. The intro on "Livemiles 1" sounds like a modern version of the intro on "Watcher of the skies" from Genesis' Foxtrot! A keyboards part even sounds a bit like the spacy moog solo on "Shine on your crazy diamond"!

The overall sound is rather like on "Alchemy of the heart", from the Tyger album. Some pretend it is a dance music album and it has a punchy beat like Madonna's music. Although the sequenced beat is proper to make people dance, the tracks are complex and not repetitive enough to talk about dance music. Actually, I find the tracks really progressive. Froese's electric guitar is really discreet. The tracks are full of rhythmic and melodic keyboards, and despite it lasts almost one hour, the listener passes through it without any problem.

Report this review (#63828)
Posted Monday, January 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Albuquerque to West Berlin in just under an hour

"Livemiles" (one word) is a live album recorded in 1986 and 1987. There are just two tracks here, "Part one" and,... no wait for it. "Part two". "Part one" was recorded in Albuquerque USA in 1986, while Part two was recorded almost a year later at an open air concert in West Berlin. The sleeve notes appear to imply that the weather was less than kind. Whether both parts were played at both concerts is not revealed in the sleeve notes, but it would surely have been disconcerting for the Berliners to be told they were to hear the second part when the first was at the time unreleased.

Each track runs to almost half an hour, the music being surprisingly upbeat and pacy. Indeed, there is almost a dance feel to Part 1, such is the strong back-beat and melodic main themes. The on/off relationship the Tangs have had with trance over the years is possibly at its most heightened here.

There are occasional slower quasi-symphonic passages, sometimes with voice type synth effects, but the over-riding impression is that the band are keen to are ensure the audience are not allowed to drift off for too long. The sound is of course that of multiple synthesisers with Froese and Franke being joined by Paul Haslinger to form the then current line up. The Berlin gig must therefore have been one of Christoph Franke's last with Tangerine Dream.

Musically, this is some of the most accessible output the band have created. Those who find their avant-garde efforts to be hard to digest would be well advised to investigate "Livemiles", which they will find far more palatable.

There appear to be alternative sleeve images depending on which release you have. Mine has a side view of the band performing on stage.

Report this review (#117332)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The other reviews have described well the musical contents of Livemiles. It is full of interesting rhythms and melodies, and a worthy addition to Tangerine Dream's catalog. It should be enjoyed by anyone interested in the group's 80's music, which has a more direct and tight approach, different from their 70s output of usually free form music with improvisational elements.

Now here is some information regarding other aspects of the album, specially its place in the history of Tangerine Dream (or TD).

Livemiles marks the end of an era for TD. It would be the last album with Chris Franke, who had been the group's core since 1971 with their second release, Alpha Centauri. The group's music had been seeing in the mid 80s signs of some loss in quality, despite largely good, solid releases such as Underwater Sunlight (1986) and Tyger (1987). Livemiles was then followed by the studio release Optical Race, also from 1988, but the first without Franke and, not surprisingly, a big disappointment. After this, the albums would usually have only one or two interesting tracks, specially during the most of 1990s, which could be described as the band's dark years.

So Livemiles can be considered the furthest limit of TD's classic period, in which every studio and live album is good, very good or a classic of its genre. Some fans consider this classic period only the so called Virgin years (when VIrgin was their label), 1974-1983; others would include the later years with Johannes Schmoelling, the predecessor of Paul Haslinger (1984-85). In my opinion, TD's classic period is the longest possible, from their first release, the rehearsal recording-turned-album Electronic Meditation (1970) until Livemiles (1988).

Livemiles isn't a proper live album, much if not all its music was taken from studio recordings. That doesn't mean the music is without quality. It's all original music, not heard in any other albums, like all TD's live albums that preceded this. The only piece not entirely original is an interesting take on Underwater Sunlight's Dolphin Dance, subtle, surprising and beautiful.

Livemiles's two lengthy tracks - originally two sides of a vinyl LP - have many different segments glued together, a practice common for TD heard in outstanding live albums such as Logos (1983), Pergamon (1980) and Ricochet (1975). It's hard to pick any favourites because the music flows very well and is always enjoyable. This isn't, however, TD at their best, so probably it's not recommendable for someone getting into TD.

Bottom line: a good, non-essential album: that's 3 stars.

Report this review (#189747)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Although the first side was recorded in the US, the public announcement is made in Spanish (pero estamos en Nuevo Mexico, no?).

As usual with TD, the audience had no clue of what they were going to experience while attending one of their concerts (I had the same feeling in '76 in Brussels) but it was most than often a good moment of music, so there is no need to be afraid.

This is again the case with "Live Miles". Although much less spacey than its great live predecessors, it is still a decent work of electronic music even if the upbeat modules from the first part are way too much "dance" oriented to my feel. But since it is combined with some beautiful and traditional (?) keys moments, I can still cope with them. But I won't be too laudatory, though.

The band released an awful lot of soundtrack in the eighties, and classic studio works combined with live material were not the highest priority for the band I guess. Still, they remained the most interesting efforts from that period IMHHO.

Now, to tell you that "Live Miles" is a masterpiece would be quite beyond my thoughts. In my TD enchantments, this album ranges to the likes of "Logos" but no more. Very few high profile parts, little emotion, lack of cold but sublime melodies. For these ones, the band already offered a lot and you can grab as much as you possibly can in their wide range of albums of which highlights are just plenty.

To name them here would consist of a long repetition of most of their albums to tell you the truth. But I wouldn't be so generous with this album: I have upgrade lots of TD works to the next level because there is no other option on PA, but "Live Miles" is just a good album with no need to mark it higher than three stars.

Sublime moments are quite absent, I'm afraid. The listener is at times confronted with pleasant passages (like the "Part I" closing). But these are quite too short, frankly.

In this aspect, I far much prefer the second leg which was recorded in Berlin (home syndrome to perform better maybe?). At least, I feel it more inspired and it corresponds more to the TD ambient philosophy to my ears.

Fine guitar parts, melodic keys and some kind of beauty emanates from this section. At no moment, could I feel the same earlier on in the album. The closing section is just SPLENDID though and fully corresponds with my TD standards.

The global picture still indicates that there is nothing from the other world out here. Nothing extraordinary as TD ought to deliver. But, hey! When one looks to their brilliant discography, there is no harm done at all. Just that this is not a great album. Just a good one deserving three stars. Of which the Berlin one deserves seven out of ten and Albuquerque only five.

Report this review (#225163)
Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars LIVEMILES gives the listener two extended pieces from two 1980s concerts. I'm a major- league Tangerine Dream fan, and have been following the band since their 70s heyday. Like many prog fans, I prefer the spookier and "hallucinatory" early albums to their output from the 80s and onward, but I can still find plenty to enjoy in latter-day TD. This CD is such a case. With band founder Edgar Froese, plus Paul Haslinger and Chris Franke on stage, this is not the classic lineup, but it's still a worthy version, and this trio makes some fine electronic music.

The sound is updated with the changes in technology, and the music typically has more energy, along with sections of real beauty, than the old stuff had. That change in sound and feel might be a negative thing for some of their followers from the 70s, but I'm open to it. Bands that stay in one place musically, and continue to release "new" material following a set-in-stone starting template risk stagnation and becoming caricatures of themselves -- buy one or two albums, and you've basically bought them all. TD under Froese were not content to keep reworking former glories. They kept moving musically, and long-term fans like myself can always revisit the early works when we want a fix of the old freakiness.

LIVEMILES' first selection, simply entitled "Livemiles Part One," was recorded in Albequerque, New Mexico, during a 1986 North American tour. As is normal for the band's live performances from this era, much of the music is improvised on the spot (some sequencers and stock motifs are also employed), so when you hear TD live, you are hearing something new and unique -- you won't already have it back home in a studio version. This extended piece covers many musical moods and textures throughout its near-thirty minute stay, from slow and haunting at the outset, through up-tempo and uplifting, on to driving and percussive, to grand and majestic at the close. It makes a fine soundtrack for a scenic drive, reading sci fi or fantasy, or simply drifting and daydreaming.

The second track (aptly titled "Livemiles Part Two") dates from a 1987 open-air concert in West Berlin's Republic Square. This show was held in honour of that historic city's 750th anniversary, and the heightened emotions associated with the event really come through in the music. Here we have a well-loved German band playing in front of a German audience in a city that has seen so much: from the triumphant to the tragic, from the medieval to the ultra-modern, from the War to the Wall to its fall, from the darkest depths of evil, suffering and degradation to the brightest heights of artistic expression and thought. I can't help thinking of all of that as I listen, because Froese, Franke and Haslinger rise to the occasion, and give their countrymen music that is truly worthy of its setting. There is great tear-wrenching sorrow, joy and sublime beauty in this dynamic and evocative piece, along with sub-currents of darkness, and strains of hope, power and progress. I find it to be quite moving, especially when I let myself ruminate upon all that Berlin and its citizens have seen through the ages -- nothing less than the very worst and the very best of human experience.

Of course, you don't need to ponder all of that weighty stuff when you listen to this disc. After ali, it's just music, not a history lesson, and the music is more than able to stand on its own, independent of time and place. As with all TD music, LIVEMILES lends itself to multiple "uses," from focused listening, to an aural backdrop for your book, day, night or life. An excellent album.

Report this review (#284817)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Almost sixty minutes of live material made up of two concerts. The first from Albuquerque USA and the second from West Berlin in 1987. There is not much to make of the two shows other than that the musicianship is top notch as is the sound. Personally West Berlin has a much lighter feel to it, maybe optimism for the end of an era? Overall it holds up much better although Edgar Foese's guitar is more prominent on the " Live Miles 1 ". As far as live albums go a solid return to form but the material is not as strong as Encore or Ricochet from the 70's. Still unrealistic expectations to think otherwise. A good album and a worthy three stars
Report this review (#290110)
Posted Monday, July 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Something is definitely wrong when the best thing about an album is the total amount of music on it. And this twin-performance package from the mid-1980s Froese-Franke- Haslinger formation of Tangerine Dream is certainly generous (if not much else), stretching the capacity of its original vinyl format with a pair of nearly 30-minute, quasi-live concert selections from unrelated gigs in New Mexico and Germany.

A small measure of historical significance gives the album substance, at least among the loyal Tangerine Dream fan base: the Berlin show, from August of 1987, was the last to feature long-time collaborator Chris Franke. He quit the group the following day, after maintaining his corner of the electronic trio (and arguably defining its trademark sound) for over sixteen years.

A TD purist might say the band ceased to function as such at that moment, in the future becoming more a vehicle for its founding father, Edgar Froese, with various guests and family members (notably his own son, Jerome) filling in as necessary. So in one sense this album truly marked the end of an era. Too bad the music itself isn't as momentous, but of course that might have been a factor in Chris Franke's unexpected resignation.

The opening Albuquerque segment is the livelier of the two, with a little more thematic variety than the Berlin excerpt: proof perhaps that Tangerine Dream was, at the time (and within the cultural wasteland of Ronald Reagan's 1980s), more comfortable in the United States than in Europe.

But too many years of assembly-belt soundtracks for crummy Hollywood movies (notably excepting William Friedkin's "Sorcerer", and possible Michael Mann's "Thief") were taking a huge aesthetic toll on the group. One problem with the music here, besides an over- reliance on melody over atmosphere (completely overturning the classic TD template from the early-to-mid 1970s), is the use of electronic percussion, apparently programmed to mimic the skills of a second-rate Arena Rock drummer. Synthetic rhythm can of course be a valid component of genuine modern music (just ask someone like Dieter Moebius, or Alex Patterson). But in the context of these upbeat, ersatz dance grooves it can also sound incredibly cheesy.

Even the audience applause at the end of the track is suspiciously phony, possibly added afterward to provide some sort of enthusiastic background ambience. It may not in fact be a live recording at all, or at least not from the June '86 Albuquerque gig advertised here: fan tapes recorded on the spot supposedly contain none of the music heard on this album.

The Berlin performance meanwhile ambles politely along before just sort or ending, at the 27-minute mark, thus closing the album (and with it, Chris Franke's involvement in the band) on an anticlimactic, unresolved note.

Altogether the album is not unpleasant at all, but (much like the decade itself) the music is too vapid and mundane to generate anything even close to excitement, and especially disappointing coming from an erstwhile groundbreaking ensemble. Awarding it three stars is really an act of charity from a generous fan; the album itself isn't really all that memorable.

Report this review (#290361)
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars At the end of the eighties it's not easy saying which the true Tangerine Dream are: are they the space-rock band of the pink period, the sophisticated electronic gurus of their second period or just the authors of soundtracks to mediocre movies?

Looking at the difference between their studio and their live performances I'd say the second. As almost all the TD lives we are in front of two long partially improvised suites (one for side, of course) which are not spacey but just electronic and very melodic. So melodic that can be compared to newage artists like Yanni, who was starting realizing albums in that period, or the borderline Jarre.

We have to wait for the second half of the second suite to find some of the original TD sound, meaning as "original" the sound of Phaedra, not the sound of Atem.

It's a good "easy" album. The two tracks are too long to be pop, but as often happens with Froese and co. they are well connected patchworks of different pieces and a radio could have sent it on the fly with just a bit of "cut and paste". I will resist to the tentation of rating it high only because it's a little piece of true Tangerine Dream in the midst of commercial cinema works, but 3 stars are well deserved, specially for the second half of the Berlin concert that comes to the late 80s from a space-time hole.

Report this review (#758192)
Posted Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Last TANGERINE DREAM live album with Christopher Franke

"Livemiles" is composed of two nearly 30 minutes long pieces (supposedly) captured live in 1986-1987. In the tradition of their previous concerts, the music features mostly previously unreleased material. The style is similar to "Underwater Sunlight", however with more electronics and less guitars. Despite artificial and very dated sonorities - due to the increasing usage of MIDI - the inspiration is present. As always with TD's live releases, a doubt remains whether tracks have been played live, rearranged or created in studio. For this review, I will only focus on the music, not the process.

"Part 1" is presented as a live performance in Albuquerque from June 1986, however fan recordings contradict this affirmation. According to other people, it could have been taken from a Cleveland concert two weeks later, but in a different version. Is it a studio composition? We'll surely never know. Anyway, this part is the best and the most dynamic of the two. It displays various soundscapes, changing rythms, enigmatic and energic atmospheres. Froese's guitar can be heard in the last part, and the finale is dreamy. To sum up, this composition is what you expected of TD for their studio works from the same period, in terms of quality and sounds. 3.5 stars.

"Part 2" is an extract from the August 1st 1987 West-Berlin concert, the last one with Christopher Franke. This time the provenance is confirmed, but this track is more unequal than Part 1. The first third is a bit cheesy and the least interesting passage of the record. The second third is more mysterious and features a nice pulsating sequence. The last third is relaxing and includes a reprise of "Dolphin Dance", however in a different version than the original. 2.5 stars.

Let's make it simple: if you enjoy "Underwater Sunlight", you may appreciate "Livemiles", if not, well, this record is not for you."Livemiles" can be regarded as the 1986 studio album's electronic companion, it somehow extends the submarine adventure. Despite lengthy passages and 80's sonorities, the music does not sound too new age and is quite pleasant. "Livemiles" comes as an unexpected good surprise for the late eighties. Its interest and homogenity is higher than the band's studio albums of the same period. For these reasons, this disc deserves a listen.

The last correct live release (considering the recording period) of the german dreamers. After Christopher Franke's departure, TANGERINE DREAM will never be the same again...

Report this review (#1547898)
Posted Monday, April 4, 2016 | Review Permalink

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