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Tangerine Dream - The Virgin Years 1974-1978 CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic

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5 stars 'The history of electronic music on 3 CD's!'

This 3-CD box contains chronically the entire tracklist of the albums Phaedra (1974 ), Rubycon (1975), Ricochet (live 1975), Stratosfear (1976) and Cyclone (1978), plus bonus tracks: excerpts from Rubycon, Part Two and Madrigal, the 7' single edits Rubycon Side One, Rubycon side Two, Stratosfear, The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades and the two very short Radio Adverts Phaedra and Rubycon (both around 30 seconds).

Phaedra is a milestone in the history of electronic music, the four pivotal compositions (between 2 and 17 minutes) feature unique aural landscapes. Ominous Mellotron violin layers in Mysterious Semblance (obviously an inpsiration for JM Jarre). Pulsating sequencers, weird and spacey synthesizer sounds, along some psychedelic sounding Farfisa organ in Movements Of Visionary. And amazing interplay between the three keyboard players Franke, Froese and Baumann in Sequence C'.

Ricochet was recorded live in 1975, I am delighted about Ricochet Part Two featuring warm Grand piano, wonderful flute- Mellotron, pulsating sequencers and howling electric guitar.

Stratosfear is also an interesting album, especially the tracks In The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades with wonderful Mellotron flute runs (reminding me of Julia's Dream from Pink Floyd) and twanging acoustic guitar (in between fat Moog flights), In 3 a.m. At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee with a surprising intro that delivers mouth organ, and In Invisible Limits with great sequencing and electric guitar.

After Stratosfear Peter Baumann left, on Cyclone the band has extended to a four piece formation featuring Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, drummer Klaus Krieger (also electronic percussion) and Steve Jolliffe, he adds an extra dimension to the music of Tangerine Dream with vocals (to the dislike of the TD purists!) and instruments like flutes, horns and the distinctive Hohner D6 clavinet (in Rising Runner Missed By Endless Sender). Although Cyclone is far from my favourite TD album, I consider it not as a bad album, especially In Bent Cold Sidewalk (with use of the vocoder, known from Mr. Blue Sky from ELO) and the eciting Madrigal Meridian (spectacular synthesizer runs and distorted electric guitar soli, fuelled by powerful drums and hypnotizing sequencing) are strong compositions.

The bonustracks deliver the best from Tangerine Dream, really worth to listen to as a separate musical experience, especially the 7' single edits Rubycon and Stratosfear, this is 3-4 minutes Sequencer Extravaganza! The two Radio Adverts Phaedra and Rubycon are fun, no more or less.

For those who are into this unsurpassed Tangerine Dream era I would like to recommend these bands/artists with their wonderful retro sound: Free System Project, Rudy Adrian, Gert Emmens & Ruud Heij, the trio Pollard/Daniel/Booth, Red Shift, Air Sculpture, Volt, Rogue Element, Navigator, Radio Massacre International and Ron Boots.

Report this review (#2166595)
Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Good value, but a missed opportunity.

This 3 CD set is a reasonably priced overview of what was arguably Tangerine Dream's best line up during their Virgin years. Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet and Stratosfear are all included in their entirety, which is as good a run of Berlin school albums as you could wish for. If you're not familiar with this era of Tangerine Dream, your ears are in for a treat.

There are, however, two downsides to this collection. The more irritating of them is the bizarre decision to skip the excellent 1976 live album Encore, which was the last Franke/Froese/Baumann release on Virgin, and to include instead the very uneven Cyclone from 1978. The other issue is the inclusion of assorted radio edits and adverts that don't really add anything and rather disrupt the flow. It would have been nice to have the Sorcerer soundtrack included, but as that was on a different label there were probably licensing issues.

If you see a cheap copy and you haven't got the original albums this is a pretty good way to acquire some prime 1970s Tangerine Dream, but it could have been so much better.

Report this review (#2709955)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2022 | Review Permalink

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