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Tangerine Dream - Nebulous Dawn (The Early Years) CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars This three CD compilation assembles the whole works from the first four TD albums, otherwise known as the Pink era, which is hardly their better known, but certainly their more adventurous one. The collection is presented with an original spacey artwork and an excellent booklet retracing the band's early days

Not much surprise in the track listing as the first two albums are condensed into one disc (my favourite), Zeit (the double Lp) is holding the second disc in full, the third is dedicated to Atem and a few bonus tracks of uneven interest. Those bonus tracks are unfortunately not presented in a chronological order as they should've fit on the first disc, but with two full albums on that one (filling it to the brim), this was the only place to fit them. The Lady Greengrasss/Love Of Mine single (forgettable and rather inappropriately placed) should've come before the Electronics Meditations while the two-part Ultima Thule single (outstanding and finally fully released) was released prior to Alpha Centauri and is closely linked to it.

For those wishing an easy intro to TD, this collection is not really suited, however if you are well aware of the group's career, this set might just be for especially because it contains the rare Ultima Thule single (if you can believe TD released one of those) essential if you do not own the separate albums. One downside though is that you'll have to upload the album's artworks (as they are not shunned but reduced to their simpler expression), especially the stunning Zeit artwork. While I would not say that these bonus tracks are worth the price alone, they will make most fans hesitate.

Report this review (#104645)
Posted Wednesday, December 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars WoooooooW! what a collection, you get All the First 4 Tangerine Dream albums plus some bonus tracks a realy priceles 3 disc set and very cheap atleast my copy and the package is superb with a nice litle informative boklet and nice pictures of the band, and the music? Well it must have been realy ground breaking back then, and to my ears it sound incredibly good and wierd today too, realy cool space music most songs are very long but hypnotic so they feel shorter, many whud proboby consider this background music and i gues it can be but its very nice music to relax too and close your easy and imagine your in space, So if your intrested in what TD sounded pre Phaedra this is the one to get everything is superb the package and the music, and lots of it. 5 Stars a must for any Space/electronic fan.
Report this review (#145787)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The beginning of the dream (and music to induce that dream)

This fine 3 CD compilation gathers together pretty much everything from Tangerine Dream's formative period in the very late 1960's and early 1970s. The band's first four albums ("Electronic Meditation", "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit -Largo In 4 Movements" and "Atem" are included in full, each appearing in its original format. The set is rounded out with a couple of rare single A and B sides from the period.

Disc one contains the first two albums in their entirety. "Electronic meditation" must rank as the least Tangs like album of their entire career, being an experimental mumble jumble, completely devoid of synthesisers. The music, if it can be called that, can be variously described as challenging, avant-garde, improvised, even for some magnificent. "Alpha Centauri" sees the band investing in their first synthesiser, but not really exploiting it yet. The synth is used to provide floating spacey sounds over the more conventional guitar and organ. The music remains experimental, especially on the 22 minute title track, but the first signs of the band's true direction are there to be seen.

Disc 2 is devoted entirely to "Zeit, largo in four movements", probably the most divisive album the band has made. Originally a double LP with one track on each side, the four movements forgo any musical form and rely completely on sounds and atmospheres. The versions of the tracks included here appear to be the very slightly abbreviated ones used for the first CD release of the album.

The third disc opens with the A and B sides of the "Ultima Thule" single released in early 1972. While the A-side has appeared on CD before, this is the first time part 2 of this rare single has been available in this format. The main theme for the piece is taken from "Fly and collision of comas sola", a track on "Alpha Centauri". The recording though was new, and features an early appearance of mellotron on a Tangs recording. The sound quality, particularly on part 2 is rather suspect, sounding as if it actually taken from a 7" single.

"Atem", which occupies the bulk of the shorter disc 3, saw the band taking their first steps towards their true destiny. While the style remains avant-garde, drums are used to emphasise a rhythm, and mellotron adds orchestral layers. The resulting sounds are more varied, while remaining devoid of defined melodies.

The other rare single, "Lady Greengrass" and its B-side "Love of mine" close out the set. These are actually recordings by The Ones, a band Edgar Froese was in before he formed Tangerine Dream, this being their only single. The songs are of historical interest only, and of little relevance musically to Tangerine Dream.

In terms of presentation, while this is by no means a lavish affair, it includes of a fine booklet containing an essay on the history of the band during this period, written by David Wells. In summary, this collection offers the definitive introduction to the beginnings of this legendary group.

Report this review (#183639)
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Considered separately, each of Tangerine Dream's earliest four albums would probably merit something between two stars (for the hardcore fans-only "Electronic Meditation") and four (or possibly five, for the seminal ambient breakthrough of "Zeit"). But put them all together, complete and unabridged, with a pair of rare singles and an attractive, informative booklet, and the package suddenly becomes an indispensable summary of the most difficult and experimental era in the band's long, ongoing history.

The challenge for newcomers is to separate the music collected here (and yes: it is music, despite what you may have read elsewhere) from the group's more accessible sequencer- driven albums like "Stratosfear" and "Tangram". This was Tangerine Dream at their low- tech, primitive best, when the band was strictly an underground Krautrock cult ensemble, and not the slick, futuristic trio that helped re-shape mainstream electronic music a few short years later.

A thumbnail synopsis of the box set contents:

Disc One includes the first two TD albums: "Electronic Meditation" (the groovy New Age title is really a joke) and the more assertively kosmische "Alpha Centauri", recorded in 1970 and 1971, respectively. Tangerine Dream at this embryonic stage was still a free-rock garage band, heavily in debt (like so many groups at the time) to early PINK FLOYD: the freak-out jam of "Journey Through a Burning Brain", from the debut album, lifts its melody almost verbatim from the title track to Floyd's "Saucerful of Secrets".

The legendary line-up for that first album (Edgar Froese, Conrad Schnitzler, and Klaus Schulze) was like a Krautrock Dream Team, and here they were breaking rules that hadn't even been written yet. The album itself is really just a clutch of barely enhanced rehearsal tapes, never intended for release until submitted to Ohr Records by a forward-thinking sound engineer, while Edgar Froese was out of the country!

The transitional "Alpha Centauri" saw the arrival of longtime TD collaborator Chris Franke, and the first, tentative exploration of early synthesizer technology. Froese admits in the CD booklet that no one in the band had any clue what to do with their new equipment except twirl knobs back and forth, and the album as a result is very much an extension of their crude debut effort, again trying to capture in musical terms the same visual abstraction of a Salvador Dali canvas (one of Froese's acknowledged influences).

It was during the 1972 recording of "Zeit" that the new trio of Froese, Franke, and Peter Baumann threw caution to the wind and abandoned any pretense to being a rock band with discernible rock music instrumentation. The album contains some of the most haunting sounds ever captured on tape: less Space Rock than the soundtrack to a religious liturgy from some intergalactic abyss, almost completely liberated from the terrestrial straitjackets of rhythm and melody. It takes a brave pair of ears to navigate the entire original double LP in one sitting, but the four sides of vinyl fit snugly onto a single CD, comprising Disc Two of this set.

The epiphany of "Zeit" was further refined in the achievement of "Atem", released in 1973. It was, without a doubt, the most well-balanced of the group's early atonal efforts, and the one that paved the way for their worldwide success with "Phaedra" the following year. "Atem", in all its inscrutable glory, can be heard on Disc Three here, alongside the rare (and entirely atypical) 1972 "Ultima Thule" single. The A-side is an unexpected Space Rock guitar thrash, sounding not unlike a lost HAWKWIND jam; Part Two is a more haunting Krautrock soundscape showcasing the band's earliest use of a Mellotron, with Chris Franke's pounding tom-toms setting an agitated pace.

Filling out Disc Three, and included strictly for historic interest (or for comic relief, after nearly three hours of uneasy listening) are both sides of a now ultra-rare Summer of Love single ("Lady Greengrass" / "Love of Mine") released by the bubblegum psychedelic pop band THE ONES, featuring a young, pre-TD Edgar Froese on lead guitar. The stock hippy imagery is a hoot ("she lifts her dress and / floats to dreamland / makes love to the sky...") But as dopey as these songs are they still deserve to be heard, if only to help listeners gauge the almost unfathomable distance Edgar Froese would travel toward his next musical incarnation.

That historical context is a part of what makes this collection so invaluable, and fans of later Tangerine Dream will need exactly that sort of perspective when approaching this earliest chapter of TD history. They should also be warned to approach it with extreme caution, and with a completely open mind. But they need to approach it, no matter the consequences, and this comprehensive one-stop set makes it an easy leap into the void.

Report this review (#292166)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Looking forward to acquire TANGERINE DREAM's early material at low price?

This little box-set is the perfect choice for you.

Named after the darkest track of "Zeit", "Nebulous Dawn" features all main studio recordings from the 'Pink Years' era, from 1970 to 1973. Are included: the first four TD albums ("Electronic Meditation", "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit" and "Atem") and the "Ultima Thule" EP, plus the rare single "Lady Greengrass / Love Of Mine" by Edgar Froese's psych-pop band THE ONES, back in 1967.

All this in only three discs, with a beautiful cover art and an illustrated informative 12-page booklet. If you enjoy early "kozmische musik" or want to discover the deep and mysterious musical instants of the dawn of TANGERINE DREAM, there are simply no reasons not to go for this box-set.

NOTE: "Ultima Thule" used to be quite difficult to find too, but is now available as a bonus on the 2011 Esoteric Release of "Alpha Centauri"

Report this review (#1593652)
Posted Monday, August 1, 2016 | Review Permalink

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