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Tangerine Dream - Green Desert CD (album) cover

GREEN DESERT

Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic


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Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I've got a sneaking suspicion I feel a bit ripped-off by this album. Supposed to be this lost 1973 album recorded between "Atem" and "Phaedra" during the time Rolf Ulrich Kaiser decided to rename his Ohr Records as Kosmische Musik, with the TANGERINE DREAM guys not wanting to participate in his "cosmic circus" (no doubt helped by the COSMIC JOKERS project in which the albums were released against the wish of some, including Klaus Schulze). I'm sorry, but "Green Desert" has too many '80s digital add-ons. Doesn't sound much like a transitional album between their Ohr and Virgin albums, but more like "Le Parc" but with a more gloomy atmosphere than what mid '80s TD usually done, and extended cuts.

Too many inconsistencies here, for example the heavy use of Solina string synths that I know TD never had in 1973 (I think the Solina was brand-new in '73, but they didn't get theirs until around 1975). Where are the VCS-3 synths? The Mellotron sounds digitally processed. Cheesy sounding drum machine that the band never used at that time. I just don't find much to connect this album to what they did in '73 and '74. In fact, if you really wonder how TD might have sounded between "Atem" and "Phaedra", go get Edgar Froese's first solo album, "Aqua" (actually released after "Phaedra", but sounds like it was recorded earlier, with that combination Ohr and Virgin sound).

For "Green Desert", the music isn't bad, I just think if they were to claim it was that lost 1973 recording, they should not have given it the digital treatment, and left it the way it was, if the sound quality permitted it, that is.

My rating: 2 1/2 stars

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#32452)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Proghead's doubts are actually very justified as there are too many doodlings having been readjusted for the release of these tapes. But unlike Him , I enjoy the music on it very much as I have no doubt that this music has origins of the mid-70's (maybe not 73 though) but somewhere around Stratosfear , Cyclone , Ricochet , Force Majeure era. No matter how shady the origins of those tapes , this is certainly the best album released ( in 86) by TD since the start of the 80's ( although I have not heard everything , nor do I wish to) and I consider it a very worthy album.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#32453)
Posted Monday, August 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Syzygy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the great lost Tangerine Dream album, the missing link between Atem and Phaedra that languished in the vaults fom 1973 to 1986, when it was finally unleashed on to a waiting world. Except...Edgar Froese could not resist tinkering with the original tapes, so there are quite a lot of overdubs featuring equipment that wasn't around when it was first recorded. Whether the 80s gloss was strictly necessary is a matter for debate, but there is no doubt that this is an excellent TD album whatever its provenance.

There are two unique aspects to this album; it's the only one which Froese and Franke recorded as a duo (Force Majeure is also a Froese/Franke work, but features additional musicians) and it's also the last to feature Chris Franke playing drums. The real treat for TD fans here is the title track, which is built round a lengthy duet with Froese on guitar and Franke on drums. Franke may not have been in quite the same league as Jaki Liebezeit or Christian Vander, but he could really play and on this piece he builds up to the kind of feverish rhythm that Popol Vuh's Daniel Fischelcher did so well. Froese is in full on blues raga mode, and the whole adds up to a spellbinding piece of space rock on a par with Force Majeure. The second half of the album doe not quite live up to the first - I suspect that Froese and Franke were road testing their shiny new synths and wondering 'what does this button do?' a lot of the time. White Clouds is propelled by an almost motorik rhythm and Astral Voyager gives the sequencer a bit of a work out, but while they are pleasant enough neither track really goes anywhere. Indian Summer is a big improvement, a near ambient piece of the kind of electronic atmospherics that TD did so well.

This album is recommended to fans of Stratosfear and Force Majeure - as others have noted, it doesn't really sound like a transition between Atem and Phaedra, but this could be explained by the absence of Peter Baumann (who left TD for a few months in 1973 to travel round Asia with his girlfriend). The title track deserves 5 stars, the rest of the album 3.

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Send comments to Syzygy (BETA) | Report this review (#32454)
Posted Tuesday, February 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Thi is very good and enjoyable piece of work. I was never a fan of TD and much less an expert in electronic music, but this album I prefer to their early efforts. I used to have "Phaedra" LP for a long time and now I have "Atem" and "Zeit" but never really got into them, while I liked their later 70s stuff, namely "Stratosfear" and "Force majeure". So I guess from previous reviews that's why I like this one too. The title track is excellent example of space electronic music with psyche solo guitar and drums, while "Astral Voyager" is another highlight marked with a sort of flute-like synth reminiscent of popular Morricone music from "Spaghetti western" films. The rest of the album is slightly more dull and mainly ambient sounds. Very a pleasant listen though, even for uninitiated people! Recommended.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#32456)
Posted Saturday, April 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars After "Atem", TD suffered their first identity problem. There were 4 albums (one of them the double-lp "Zeit") and things weren´t working exactly as they liked, so ´73 was a strange year for the group.

While Baumann travelling in the East, Froese and Franke decided to record something at Berlin to present some music for the Virgin label, who had shown some interest in the group, always in order of their early ´70´s catalogue. They began experimenting with new equiptment, including a mamooth analog rhythm controller, minimoog and new phaser. Eventually all this new stuff allowed them to obtain drum machine-like sounds (there were not at that time) and to improve Franke´s sequencing technique that pretty soon would be a trademark of TD sound.

Musically the 4 pieces seems to be a catalogue of tone varaitions, balancing from the hipnotic rythms to the ambient and more relaxing ones. I think that it represents a stronger rupture with the AlphaC-Atem period than Phaedra did. Probably it fits better with Sorcerer and the final days of Baumann than with the chronologically next.

Historically it´s an important album ´cause it secured a five-year contract with Virgin, so they could use the advance income for purchasing new stuff - the most important the big Moog modular synth - and create their own universe in the following records.

i got this one as a part of a TD Box which contains - lp format - EM, Zeit, AC, Atem and this Green desert, as well as a booklet with information and photos. Sometimes, in a rainy afternoon, is a singular experience to hear all of them in order and let your mind reach another dimension.

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Send comments to rgmeli64 (BETA) | Report this review (#45987)
Posted Thursday, September 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Tangerine Dream have a very large back catalogue and we sometimes feel a bit disoriented by the lack of creativity which gains the two last decades. The band didn't success to renew their own style with consistence, preferring more mainstream & conventional synth sounds. Re-issued during the 80s, "Green Desert" represents a good breath after many indulgent albums. The album was originally written in 1973 and it reveals some of the most TD innovative materials. It's the first time the band uses their famous electronic arpeggios (in the mysterious and majestic ambient "Astral Voyage"). The title track is one of the most amazing TD compositions and negotiates a link between their most accessible electronic synthesis and their first attempts in "abstract" experimental contributions. The track begins with a deep moody "sustained" drone, then concentrates on a spacey guitar solo accompanied by technical drum parts and electronic effects. "White Clouds" features luminous, dreamy-like synth chords covered by "helicopter" drums. "Indian Summer" uses the same environemental ambience with a similar electronic material. Only linear, elegiac tones with no "hypnotic" pulsations. This album is without doubts very commended for beginners despite that it doesn't reach the musical level of the three previous efforts.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#94043)
Posted Wednesday, October 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is only a transitional work, and it is obvious why they kept this album in safe for over ten years before decided to release it. This was not the best music they were able to make at that tim. Phaedra is real masterpiece of music and was created the year after Green desert. Synthesizers are mostly raw and almost amateur-like, but first track is stil good. They prominently use drums on this one, but connection between rhythm and layers of sound is not so good. Third track, Astral Voyager contains heavy sequencer that last for all of seven minutes, with some layers of sound over it, arranged much below Tangerine Dream standards. This record is good adition to only heavy Tangerine Dream fans.

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Send comments to nisandzic (BETA) | Report this review (#149591)
Posted Thursday, November 08, 2007 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Tangerine Dream has never really been a part of my progressive life so far. I heard of the band in the past and of course TD is a significant band in prog history but somehow I were never drawn to them. Checking all kinds of things and bands lately I thought I had to explore this band as well. It's part of progressive education so to speak, one at least have to try them to be able to judge.

So I ran into this one, but to be fair: I have no idea if this album gives a fair view of this band. Looking at it freshly (as a beginner) I feel it sounds like a mix between Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre. And in this album it's quite clear to me: there are four tracks, the first and the last have strong resemblance to JMJ in my opinion and the two middle tracks have more comparison to Kraftwerk. I have no idea whether I have a clear view on this matter and maybe it's a totally faulty evaluation of TD but it's how I see it at first glance. Especially the last track has very strong resemblance to Oxygene part 2 in my believe. Big difference between TD and JMJ is though the fact that TD also uses percussion and guitar where JMJ just uses a synthesizer.

Anyway, I don't think there's anything wrong with Tangerine Dream, I like this sort of instrumental music without going overboard by it. I think I will explore some more in the future. 3 stars for this (3.2)

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#160035)
Posted Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars 70's or 80's? The decision is yours

Green desert is probably best regarded as a link between the music of Tangerine Dream of the 1970's and that which they created in the 1980's. It does not exactly fit into either period, as the original tapes date from the former but the final sounds, after some overdubbing and editing, are very much of the 80's.

The (LP) side long title track is a brooding, atmospheric piece which takes ages to get going, but features some fine guitar work by Edgar Froese. As the track develops, drum sequences become more dominant and the piece acquires a harder edge, the changes always being subtle and gradual. The track concludes with some wonderful mellotron drifts.

At around 5 minutes, White Clouds is the shortest track on the album. There is a certain onomatopoeia to the music, but the track lacks substance. Astral Voyager is the most rhythmic of the tracks, with hints of African influences. The overall sound though is that of the middle sections of the two Rubicon tracks, the flute like synth sounds offering an pleasant diversion. The final track Indian Summer indulges in some rudimentary dramatics by way of introduction, but never really moves on from them.

In all, a decent album from what was at the time a duet of Froese and Franke. I would hardly describe it as a lost masterpiece, but those who appreciate the music of the Tangs from wither the 70's or the 80's should find the album rewarding.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#164842)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The great enigma, 'Green Desert' is a TANGERINE DREAM album recorded in 1973 while PETER BAUMANN was overseas, but not released. Instead, the trio went on to record 'Phaedra' when he returned. This album was supposedly 'discovered' by EDGAR FROESE in 1985 and issued in 1986.

Problem is, it really doesn't sound like a 1973 album. Having lost the courage to resist the smothering effect of 80s production values, how could FROESE resist spicing up this rather sparse and languid release with 80s sounds? The result is not dissimilar in effect to the Max Graham remix of 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' - out of time, left gasping like a novelty fish left behind by the tide. It leaves me wishing I could hear the original tapes, and suspicious that precious little of the original has made it on to this release. Still better than those soundtracks though.

Oh yes, the music. The title track is a smouldering slow burner, spiced up with a barely moving FROESE guitar and by FRANKE's somewhat inept but vigorous percussion. It closes with some rather (suspiciously) bright keyboards. It reminds me of something from 'Zeit' or 'Atem' with a little more vigour. 'White Clouds' is a charmless and directionless melange of synths and percussion. The most interesting track here is 'Astral Voyager', a clear guide as to the origin of 'Phaedra' and subsequent sequencer-driven tracks; but again this has been tidied up, and lacks the world-encompassing mystique of the muddied 1974 recording. It suffers for it. 'Indian Summer' is an apt title for a track that prolongs the drought of genuine musical ideas.

An historical curio that ought, I think, to have been left in the vault.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#168581)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars According to the liner notes this was recorded in 1973 between "Atem" and "Phaedra" with the sole purpose of it being a taster for Richard Branson's "Virgin Records" label. It worked as they were signed to a 5 year record deal. The money the received was used to invest in new equipment and they promptly made "Phaedra" with it.This particular recording was set aside until Froese dug it out of the archives in 1984 and added some new material while re-mixing the rest. So yes it has that 80's flavour for good reason. Froese was prone to do things like this, he did it with some of his solo albums to the dismay of many fans.The mellotron is one of the victims when Froese starts to mess around in the recording studio with older material. I guess he likes the more modern sound. I cry sacriledge ! Anyway this is a very good record in my opinion regardless of what Froese did.

"Green Desert" is the side long opener which opens with sounds that drone and hover as other spacey sounds come and go. Drums start to beat slowly after 4 1/2 minutes. Guitar comes in a minute later and mellotron 7 minutes in. I like this a lot. Drums get louder and start to dominate as the guitar stops. Drums also stop before 16 minutes as it turns spacey. PINK FLOYD comes to mind after 18 minutes. Amazing tune !

"White Clouds" opens with drums and synths and again the synths a minute in remind me of FLOYD. The tempo picks up. There are some added jungle sounds which remind me of Froese's "Epsilon In Malaysian Pale" album. Cool song. "Astral Voyager" has lots of sequencer sounds that pulse as other synths join in. "Indian Summer" is the only track that i'm not totally into yet. Synths chords come and go in a rhythm as other sounds come in.

Well worth 4 stars in my opinion.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#204688)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This album IS another great feature of the huge and great TD discography.

Some sort of a lost gem of the seventies, released much later (but who knows!). The music which is experienced here is just SUMPTUOUS, GORGEOUS and MARVELLOUS.

The title track is a pure beauty from second one to the latest. An absolute masterpiece to be honest. This is quite an astonishing band! Having released so many good albums out of an impressive range (over twenty so far).

Chapeau. Hats off. These are the only words that reflects my genuine feel about TD.

I wouldn't argue of when the original work was "invented" or released. The only aspect which is worth mentioning is that this album is just EXTRAORDINARY. The beautiful musical landscapes, the impressive wall of synths (still very much proggy during the first two pieces of music).

I am just found of "Green Desert" and "White Clouds". Much more than any songs from "Tangram" onwards. But of course, I'm fu**ing biased by all means. I am just deeply in love with these inhuman but so enjoyable beats. And "Astral Voyager" is just excellent.

Should this be compared with some lost jewel??? Oh dear! Yes!!!

This IS absolute wonder and joy. A glorious TD album. Maybe one of their best which can definitely compete with "Rubycon". Which is my all time fave from this great band.

The music proposed here is so WONDERFUL, it is so HUGE. Damned!!!

This is worth six stars or near. Just listen to the wonderful beauty of "Indian Summer". An outstanding number, a passionate release, a miracle of a melody, an endless refreshment, an absolute beauty.

What else can I bloody say?

This is an ENORMOUS prog release. No words as in my old time fave "Genesis", no great guitar as in my old time fave Floydean times, no crazyness as with Crimson, no dementia as with Tull, no such a complexity as my dear "Yes". More than this.

This album is just a MASTERPIECE. And you know that I am quite reluctant to give a five star rating. "Indian Summer" is a piece of music I can enjoy for HOURS. Listening to it in some kind of a loop.

WONDERFUL. GIANT. MIRACLE. ESTUPENDO. FANTASTIQUE. UITSTEKEND. EXTRAORDINAIRE.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#224555)
Posted Saturday, July 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Green Desert is an interesting addition for every Tangerine Dream fan. The music stems from '73 but Froese tempered with it to prepare it for release more then 10 years after it's conception. So unfortunately it's a contaminated testimony of how Tangerine Dream made the big step between Atem and Phaedra. However, if you know Tangerine Dream's sound evolution well enough, it's quite obvious what is original and what is not. I only have my doubts with the guitar solo. It sounds too processed to be from '73 but on the other hand it's too good to be from '86. On top of that, the sequence in Astral Voyager might well be the first one they ever did, which could add a strong argument in favour of Tangerine Dream in the pointless "who was first at sequencing" debate that seems to go on between some Schulze and Dream fans. (To put in my two cents in this debate, the first was obviously Pink Floyd in "On the Run" of course :-)

Anyway, historic relevance aside, both the title track and Astral Voyager are very strong cuts.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#236712)
Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Conjecture aside this is a 1986 release with an old feel to it. " Green Desert" starts off with a 5 minute drone, something familiar to Atem maybe? Who cares, it has an awesome mood before Edgar Froese's menacing lead guitar kicks in very Floydian in sound and the songs gradually builds to a trademark TD climax before some lovely synthesiser sounds play out this nineteen minute beauty. " White Clouds" is a typical 80's sounding song although the haunting synth and frenzied percussion gives it extra mph. ' Astral Voyager' is very pleasant to the ears and " Indian Summer" is without doubt from the Encore material tapes of 1977 ( near enough) or Cyclone's " Madrigal Meridian". I'd stake my life on it :-). A very satisfying album and a necessary member of your Tangerine Dream catalogue.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#290107)
Posted Monday, July 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Green Desert is presented as a lost Tangerine Dream album from 1973 - a followup to Atem which was canned once the band got the deal with Virgin Records and the opportunity (and budget) to record Phaedra. However, Dream fans hoping to get a long-forgotten album in the style of Tangerine Dream's early Krautrock style should be warned that Edgar Froese spruced up the recordings with a substantial amount of newly-recorded overdubs in 1984.

This may well have been necessary to get them up to a presentable standard - we can't know for certain but I wouldn't be surprised if the old tapes were deteriorated or weren't entirely finished. However, Froese opts to perform these overdubs in a style more consistent with Tangerine Dream's approach in the mid-1980s, using modern equipment. Consequently, any historically illuminating aspects this album may have had are completely obscured under a heap of 80s synths and tinny drum sounds.

Had the overdubs been recorded using period-appropriate equipment, this album would have at least been interesting to Tangerine Dream collectors simply as an illustration of the evolution from Atem to Phaedra. But the fact is, they weren't, and on top of that the final product is rather forgettable even by TD's bland and generic mid-1980s standards. As a result, it's an extremely disappointing product, since it fails to be a good Tangerine Dream album whether you judge it by their 1970s work or by the 1980s, and it also fails to give a clear insight into the period it is generally claimed to capture.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#508908)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Looking at the other reviews it seems that this album is very controversial, Somebody says that it's effectively the lost masterpiece recorded in 1973 and released only 13 years later, other says that it's just 80s stuff. Probably it's both the things.

The title track is a side-long one, as it was usual for TD in 1973. It starts very spacey and without rhythm, like it's coming from the pink period. Let me say that I immediately loved this track. After some averagely good and sometimes not so good things released in the 80s, with some relevant exceptions mainly in the live albums, we finally have something that's not too far from Zeit. Another clue that this comes effectively from 1973 is the drums and the guitar entering slightly after about 5 minutes. In the old years 5 minutes was the average time until the theme has a significant change in TD long tracks. Also the floydian mood of the guitar (reminds me to Obscured By Clouds) dates this track to 1973. Wondering why this track hasn't been released actually, I think possible that Froese has considered it too "Floydian". Guitar leaves after 5 minutes more for drums and spacey sounds while the keyboard background is smoothly changing. Any doubt about it? It might have been edited before being released, but it surely comes from the 70s. Very Pink. At minute 16 it returns where it started but the love of Froese for Saucerful of Secrets is back again. I really have no doubts about the year of the first recording.

I'm less sure about "Whìte Clouds". The soundscape is not so different and it has something that reminds me to Encore. However this is another very good track.

"Astral Voyager" is closer to Phaedra than to Atem and the title is the most spacey thing that it has. I love this track as I love the whole album, but here I have a doubt about this having been composed later to fill an album too short. Well, if this is a filler I'd like to have a compilation of fillers of this kind. The whistling sound in the second half of the track reminds me again to Encore.

"Indian Summer" is fantastic. The background storms behind the succession of keyboard chords with the bass on the third or fifth then the flute...(of course electronic) is clearly reminding to Encore again. Also the track's title does.

So I think that the original recordings may have been edited and/or overdubbed a little, but those are tracks coming from the 70s. They make me feel a sentiment of regret for the great music that TD have been able to give us in that period. This is probably not at the same level of Atem and Phaedra, but is very close to both.

Happy to be able to rate again a TD album with 4 stars

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#531133)
Posted Saturday, September 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Contractual obligations perhaps?

Firstly, there is no way that these tracks could have been recorded - even composed in 1973. The style is very mid-'80s, something that Froese would not have envisaged at the time of space/cosmic preoccupation.

This album is a short collection of tunes, completely mismatched.

1. The title track gets off to a slow start before half-way through it develops to a possible outtake from "Hyperborea" of 1983 an album I am very fond of, but this peace is not strong enough to write home about.

2. "White Clouds" is probably the only tune here deserving attention. Whilst way short of being sensational, the layers of synth work come off nicely. The only piece on this album that's worthy of attention.

3. "Astral Voyager". Well, even Kraftwerk does such things better. A blemish on TD's reputation and probably the worst piece they've ever recorded to this moment.

4."Indian Summer" is an inoffensive piece, devoid of any bulk, or inspiration. Frankly, you hear much better background tracks in wildlife/space documentaries created by faceless artists working for peanuts . A memorable one - it is not.

Whilst in places it's marginally better than two stars, I can't bring myself to call it good as a whole. Hovering between 2 and 3, but not quite a 3. (Don't waste your money on this as they have done much better before and since.)

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Posted Thursday, January 17, 2013 | Review Permalink

TANGERINE DREAM Green Desert ratings only


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