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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover

PHAEDRA

Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic


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loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars What can be said here but its simply TANGERINE DREAM at their best. Recorded with their best line-up (Froese, Franke and Baumann) TANGERINE DREAM create a symphonic masterpeice sure to please all fans of head music. Songs are slow and very spacey in delivery giving the listener a deep need to journey off this planet with them. "Phaedra" represents a milestone really in electronic music history as flutes and guitars were overlayed onto the electronic passages creating a "new sound". Sound effects were carefully chosen and cleverly support the feeling of the music. This is a great recording to relax to and is best understood in dark lighting with perhaps the stars of the evening sky being your only source of light.
Report this review (#32457)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Very good for a first pure pure prog album for their electronica era (virgin records) mindblowing spacey sound my favourite track is track 2 Which is mysterious semblance at the strand of nightmares prefer the 1985 album Le parc which is more progressive in my view bbut a very good album.
Report this review (#32458)
Posted Thursday, August 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Phaedra has always been a favourite of mine, when I first took notice of it, I was absolutely amazed that such great compositions could be made solely by electronic synthesisers and organ, without a regular beat. Phaedra is consisting of dreamily fantastic tunes full of depth and vision when Phaedra is on the turntable it's almost like you have bought a ticket to an unknown world, I for one haven't heard anything like it (Except for other TD records). The reason for not giving it five stars is because Phaedra is a record that only works in perfect circumstances, in other situations it can turn out to be a rather annoying experience. Phaedra only works for me when I'm tired & when it's night (or at least dark). But given the right circumstances it is nothing less than FABULOUS...
Report this review (#32460)
Posted Tuesday, August 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
Watcheroftheskies
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I said it before, they lead music revolutions before their time. Does "Ambient Techno" sound familiar? This is an excellent prog album. You can't even sum up how sublime this album is in words only listening will tell of it's magnificence. I own well over 1500+ CDs and somehow this CD makes it off my many shelves and into my CD player often. Probably because it is mind-blowingly awesome.

Phaedra, the first track is haunting and at the same time incredibly beautiful and exciting. The second track, Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares, is a wonderful piece as well capturing the haunting overtones in the first track with some very compelling and well constructed synth effects. The beginning sounds allmost like homunculi, whispering to their evil masters in the dark forest taunting your dreams. This leads up to the very gorgeous third track Movements of a visionary where you have 2 synths in syncopation with each other to create an almost inhuman rhythm that takes your mind to other places. The final track is quite short and is a somber repose to the album, haunting and dreamy.

This is another excellent album by TD and it not only defines their next approach to their sound in this era, I belive it redefines electronic music altogether.

Report this review (#32462)
Posted Sunday, September 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Add another halfstar. If you were to draw a straight line in between the Zeit-Atem period albums and the Ricochet-Stratosfear albums this one would stand a third of the way and Rubycon wouls stand at the second third of the way. The major difference between Atem and Phaedra (other than their fight with the great Ohr label and their signing to Virgin Records ) is that the sounds produced here are more structured , more symphonic (or less nightmarish if you please) and that there are times at which theire is a semblence of a ruthm track. This is an absolute major album both historically and artistically. For anybody who has doubt about this being prog (Í'm speaking here of the younger generation who did not live this 70's discovering album by album these groundbreaking soundscapes and hailing Froese & Co. as musical adventurers - Indiana Jones at Sonic Temple of Heaven) , imagine that all these sounds of birds and waves that you ear, were made with almost prototype synths and all of those albums were revolutionary - therefore progressive by essence.
Report this review (#32463)
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Phaedra" is their first successful album, one of the most classic albums they have ever made. It was released for Virgin (to which the band signed around 1974) and was an immediate hit in the UK, as well as the USA. This album begins the fascinating and very important phase in the electro-rock experimental band. The first track, "Phaedra" might be divided into two parts. the first is more dynamic, with the electronic beat and strange ambient sounds, which conitue for about ten minutes before the beat ceases and the dar and hypnotic part unflods with a wailing sound, as if of a dying or hurt animal. The underlying synthesizer drone make you think the animal is in danegr and is running away, with its sob becoming more and more dramatic. Then Froese's mellotron emphasise the dark and eerie atmosphere. The music sounds dark and grand at the same time. As if you are facing a powerful deity which rises staright before you, these are the images that come to my mind. This slow part of "Phaedra's" self-titled track is certainly one of the most wonderful moments on this album. The scond track, "Mysterious Semblance..." begins with children's laughter (imagine a beach with people at their leisure, and a host of dark clouds gathering on the sky prophesying danger!) which ends kind of abruptly. The mellotron takes over and plays swirly lines, not as dark as on "Phaedra", but still eerie and "omen-ish". This track ends with various sounds (which, frankly, I don't like very much, I prefer the music itself), which sort of take away the music, its echoes can be heard just slightly, while the sounds gather strength and then fade out. Third track is a fast paced heaven (but for the electronic sounds in the beginning) with the warm sound of organs along pulsating electronic beat. It has a very delicate, though still dark, sound, almost jazzy, just picture a freaky flight over hills and rivers and oceans... that kind of imagery come to my mind whenever I listen to this track. The concluding number, "Sequent 'C'" is a short piece for flute. It was written by Peter Baumann, who also plays the flute here. It is a melancholic song, that makes you aware of the fact, that TD don't need all that electronic equippment to create a music that is so... electric!!!
Report this review (#32464)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Sometime back around 1974-75, I read an article in Circus (remember that rock mag?) about German rock. The piece opened up a new realm of progressive rock for me, and I soon purchased excellent albums by Teutonic acts like Can, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul II, and Nektar (the latter were, of course, not Germans, but simply based in Germany). The writer of the article described the sound of Tangerine Dream as "music that melts," and intrigued, I bought a copy of PHAEDRA.

At first I really didn't know what to make of what I heard (my initial reaction to Can's FUTURE DAYS was much the same). The music of the German keyboard trio was very spacey, laid back, and, for me, somewhat boring. A confirmed convert to prog via pioneering and dynamic bands like Yes, ELP, Crimson, and Genesis (my then favourite), I found myself waiting for something to "happen" as I listened to my new TD album. Soon, however, with the lights out, the incense burning, and headphones on, I developed an enthusiastic appreciation for this often lovely -- yet at times scary -- "music that melts." (I still find that phrase to be a very apt descriptor of the output of the trio's golden 74-79 era.)

As other reviewers have noted, PHAEDRA was a product of TD's classic lineup of Froese, Franke and Baumann, and by this time synth technology (and, presumably, the instruments owned by the band) had nicely caught up to the group's ambitious new direction in electronic music. For my tastes, PHAEDRA is the first truly great TD recording, where the available tools are finally "up to the task" of what is being attempted -- and so successfully attained. (I have a copy of the earlier GREEN DESERT, but quite frankly find it to be boring and rather dated in its sound: full of faux "wind" noises, and the kind of cheesy early synth chirps, bleeps and primitive "ray gun" effects that you hear on old "B-grade," late-night sci-fi reruns. "Plan 9 from Outer Space," anyone?)

PHAEDRA is an important, influential and fully-realized masterpiece of early electronic prog. It's the perfect backdrop for reading (science-fiction, fantasy, or horror, naturally), dozing, loving, or just contemplating the arcane mysteries of the lava lamp. Please don't be put off if it doesn't immediately grab you! Turn it up, turn out the lights, close your eyes (don't try this in your car!) and drift gently away to a past future time, as envisioned by three German synth visionaries of the early 70s. Essential stuff!

Report this review (#32465)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Tangerine Dream - First off let me add I am self admittedly a BIG Virgin Years fan. Although I have had heard earlier works like Atem and Alpha Centauri my knowledge of those is limited and hopefully, time permitting, I will add to my Pink Years collection in due course. What I did pick up was that the Pink Years were more untenable and ambiant in nature except Electronic Meditation. Anyhow Phaedra the first of the Virgin year releases is made up of four tracks all of which are stunning in their composition.It is not hard to see why the majority of the reviewers gives this album 4 or 5 stars.The Franke/Froese/Baumann combination releasing TD's best albums in the 70's,Phaedra IMO was the watershed album for TD to release more structured ' defineable' sound, so it has almost a pioneering like characteristic to it. It was a breakthrough work that many other bands around that time had not managed to achieve. Phaedra the title track is a masterpiece so is ' Movements of a Visionary'.This great work by TD acted as the catalyst for many many fine albums to follow by the band up until just before their last 2 Virgin Year releases.
Report this review (#32466)
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Drastic change in sound for the band, after a move to Virgin Records. The album "Green Desert", allegedly recorded between the time the band was with Ohr and with Virgin, did not surface until 1986 (but because of all the '80s digital add-ons to that album, I find that really suspicious, and wonder how much of that was really recorded in 73)? I guess the reason why "Green Desert" was shelved for 13 years was because of the COSMIC JOKERS, a little project consisting of late night jam sessions with the likes of Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Jürgen Dollase, Dieter Dierks, and Harald Großkopf, in which these sessions were released behind their backs and with no royalties paid (this especially pissed off Klaus Schulze, as he started filing lawsuits against Rolf Ulrich Kaiser, head of Ohr, who just changed the name to Kosmische Musik). Schulze would rather wish everyone forget about the COSMIC JOKERS. Edgar Froese stayed out of this, and once said he refused to be a part of Kaiser's "cosmic circus". To be fair, the COSMIC JOKERS albums are very much worth looking in to, and I highly recommend them to those who enjoy ASH RA TEMPEL, Schulze, or early TANGERINE DREAM, for that matter (which should come as no surprise there), start with their self-entitled offering or "Galactic Supermarket" first.

In England, Atem was a favorite with radio DJ John Peel (who I understand just passed away recently) and named it 1973 "Import of the Year". That was enough to get Richard Branson interested in the group and have them signed to his Virgin label. So TANGERINE DREAM went to England and recorded "Phaedra". They totally moved away from the experimental space sound of their Ohr albums and let the synthesizers take center stage, rather than just electronic effects. It also helps that the band finally got a hold of a modular Moog. This album also marked the beginning of the "sequencer- era", which would last until the 1980s, because this is where they started experimenting with sequencers. There is also a minimalist feel to the album, making me wonder how much Terry Riley they've listened to. But this still didn't prevent the album from having that sinister, otherworldly atmosphere, as the side-length title track only proves. "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" is truly Edgar Froese's time to shine, as it consists of almost nothing but Mellotron. He made no bones about being a big fan of the instrument (and also admitted he stopped using the instrument by the end of the 1970s once polyphonic synths started playing a bigger role in their music), and it also explains why his second solo offering, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale is about 80% Mellotron. "Movement of a Visionary" returns to the sequencer method, with this synth pattern, which "Sequent C." is a bunch of overdubbed flutes, all courtesy of Peter Baumann. Surprisingly this album became a huge success, and it obviously establish them as one of the big name electronic acts here. This is truly an essential album for all electronic fans.

Report this review (#32467)
Posted Wednesday, December 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a masterpiece in the psychedelic / space genre. There is nothing "progressive" or "rock" about it, but it's great nevertheless. You need to be careful with this album though, it might blow your head straight away, it's that psychedelic. I think best listened in total silence, maybe with the lights off. It melts your brain and gives you a total feeling of relaxation. Buy it and love it!
Report this review (#32469)
Posted Tuesday, January 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars For me Phaedra really is the Tang LP to own. The band really got right the perfect mix of spctral eerieness and pulsing, womb-like propulsion. Similar to his solo LP of the same period Aqua, Froese'e mellotron playing is great - texturally balanced and sounding creepy as hell. Very Eldritch and ancient - ghostly chorals from the id. It reminds me - superficially at least if not literally - of The Third Ear Band's Macbeth LP in the way it conjures up the spectral atmosphere of haunted battlefields and mental mists. Its no wonder William Friedkin says on the Sorcerer liner notes that if he had heard Tang before making The Exorcist he would have had them score that film also. Its the perfect amalgamation, sonically speaking - of the 'bodily' with the organic early sequentials and the 'mind' the string-synths and etherals chorals. Along with the next LP Rubycon, and th eoften overlooked Stratosphere, this was TAngerine Dream peak-era of creativity - with Phaedra the bands creative crown. Although many wont' admit it - it was all YES ALL! down hill after Sratosphere. I'm not saying they never made any more good LPs they did - but they never made another LP as good as this one. I hesitate at giving it a 5 is because of the nature of the music's simplicity. But - as their fellow German filmamker genius Friedrich Murnau once said: "All great Art is Simple" - and Phaedra conscious simplicty is genius in itself.
Report this review (#32470)
Posted Friday, January 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars As the number of the stars might say, "Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music"... And it's what this really is... The strange title track is the most beautiful thing I've ever heard... The 3 other track also are very nice... This album is one of the best released by this wonderful band... Amazing.
Report this review (#32472)
Posted Sunday, February 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unlike the first albums, Zeit and Alpha Centauri, this record has beat and is quite less monotonous or linear. The structure is a bit more elaborated, and there are many mellotron parts. As it is the case for all the early Tangerine Dream albums, there are several scary psychedelic moods that make those albums not convenient for parties. There are even some acoustic instruments like flute, which express well what is desolation and solitude.
Report this review (#32473)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Two major things about this album:

1. You feel like you're on a trip

2. You can hear the future

This album is a wonderful piece of work, very spacey chilled music and also Very futuristic. I think it sound a lot like dance music in a way. I 100% recommend this album - pure class.

Report this review (#32474)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Futuristic..at the time

This is the earliest Tangs album I have, on a rather well worn vinyl copy too! Having listened to a number of other albums by the band though, I have to say that it is hard to differentiate chronologically between a lot their albums. At the risk of upsetting die-hard fans of the band, the one thing they do not seem to do much is progress. Perversely for prog, this is not music which demands the full attention of the listener. It is ideal to have on while reading etc., as background music.

As with much of Tangerine Dream's work, "Phadrea" sits on the peripheries of prog rock, in the Electronic/New Age direction. The music slowly paints textures and landscapes, the pace never rising above sedate, this band never "rock out". Forget the strong melodic tendencies of Genesis, the metal based incessant rock of Dream Theater, or the intricate complexities of Spock's Beard, "Phadrea" is arguably not very musical at all. The sounds the band create are best described as washes or waves, which flow over the listener. Those who have experienced Rick Wakeman's new age period will have a fair idea what to expect, although even that appears more structured than much of the output of Tangerine Dream.

The music is synthesiser based, the sounds the band created at the time of the album's release being strikingly unique, indeed futuristic. Those listening to the album for the first time now will probably consider it to be "of its time", since what was futuristic then may well sound dated now. That said, it is surprising how the repeated electronic motifs the Tangs use as the basis for some sections of their music, particularly the slightly more upbeat and structured sections, can be found pretty much intact on what is now known as trance music. The driving dance backbeat may be absent, but the tape loop style repetition of a series of notes is what trance is all about. The Tangs were doing this 30 years before it became hip.

While there are four tracks in total, with the title track occupying the whole of one side of the LP, there's little to differentiate the tracks. If you enjoy one of them, you'll enjoy them all.

This review is written from a very pragmatic view point and probably fails to capture the emotion and atmosphere of the music. For me, "Phadrea" is a highly enjoyable album, but it is important that those unfamiliar with what Tangerine Dream are all about, are aware of their distinctive approach to their music.

Report this review (#32475)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Phaedra" starts with a fabulous mysterious abstract wall of sound, allowing one to feel of floating in the outer space among the star constellations. Soon quiet sequencer loops start to create the rhythm and later this pulsing grows stronger. I must admit that I'm not a big adorer of the aesthetics related to this solution, as sometimes it sounds like there is not much progression occurring on the track. Some parts also sounded familiar for me from their following release "Rubycon". After ten minutes the song moves to much better direction, as the sequencers fade out, and musical landscape morphs to a big dreamy hazy mist. This element of the musical palette of this group is something I truly respect. Also the second track "Mysterious Semblance at The Strand of Nightmares" follows this style of not being much fenced with mechanical rhythms. The name of the track is very descriptive, and for those having Mellotron-fetish the listening of this track is possibly mandatory. "Movements of A Visionary" starts with magical whispers which lead the listener to another world of sequencer rhythmic realm with distant voices and dramatic organ chords. This shorter run of the similar theme of the title track works here better. The album closer "Sequent C'" is short but very, very beautiful and melancholic musical vision. Robert Fripp's solo soundscapes of the 1990's sound quite similar to this composition.

Thought the title track isn't the most wonderful piece of music I have heard, this is still very interesting and beautiful meditative record, which I would warmly recommend to anybody interested of relaxing and thoughtful vintage ambient-like music.

Report this review (#32476)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A musical journey. They created a mysterious and sometimes strange, futuristic atmosphere, but at the same time they show their ability on mellotron and synth. Not too easy to listen to, but if you're are in the right mood, you should like it. This album is composed by 4 slow pieces of music without lyrics (that seems boring), and appreciate it could take a few listening, but if you understand the innovation (for those times) and the beauty of this kind of music, you shouldn't be disappointed. Not a large use of instruments, but mellotron, synths and basses are at their best. You shouldn't have too many different sounds to create a masterpiece, and Tangerine Dream, with Phaedra, show us how it could be possible. 5 stars to the music, 5 stars to the album cover.
Report this review (#41069)
Posted Sunday, July 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was TANGERINE DREAM's first album for Virgin Records, and the group's first major success. When it was released in 1974 the novel electronic sound aroused curiosity in the music Press and amongst music lovers, especially fans of Progressive Rock. As far as the often-tuneless electronic soundscapes of artists in the electronic genre go, this album is surprisingly accessible. In those days this sound was exciting and fresh, and the album was a hit in many countries.

The atmospheric sounds on this album were created primarily using Mellotron, electric organ, electric piano and analogue synthesizers (including the then novel Modular Moog). Flute and bass were used too, but mesmerising electronic sounds are the predominant feature (although the haunting, overdubbed flute on 'Sequent C' is notable). There are a wide variety of electronic sounds: hypnotic, pulsing sequencer; ebbing and flowing swooshes that sometimes sound like waves on the shore; droning; warbling; hissing; cawing sounds like seagulls; whistling sounds like song birds. Some say the tracks sound eerie or have a desolate feel, but I don't get the creeps or feel gloomy at all. A sound clip of school children at play is used at the beginning of 'Mysterious Semblance At The Stand Of Nightmares'. 'Movements Of A Visionary', with its hissing and high-pitched noises, does sound a bit spooky initially I suppose, as does the floating flute on 'Sequent C'. The overall effect of the album, though, is very relaxing, particularly if one is mellow.

I'm not a huge fan of the electronic genre, although I do have a few albums and enjoy them. If you only want to buy one example then, in my opinion, this seminal album is the one to get. It really is extremely pleasing and works very well either in the background or as something for chilling out. Some of the solo albums of EDGAR FROESE and former member KLAUS SCHULZE have a very improvisational feel to them but, to me, "Phaedra" feels more crafted and streamlined.

As to the rating, I'm in a quandary. Until a year ago when I bought the CD I had completely forgotten I used to own the LP thirty years ago, so that might indicate the music is not memorable. However, I'm enjoying the CD and, in terms solely of the content, would classify it as at least a 4-star album (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection). Given the album's historical importance and the fact that I think it is the best example of this type of music, I also feel I should classify it as a 5-star album (Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music). Anyway, I think I'll be conservative and settle for 4 stars, as there are several other albums I would take to that desert island before this one. Nevertheless, if you're a newcomer to electronic 'space music' you can't do better than this one in my opinion, and I doubt you'd regret owning it. Even the understated cover art, painted by EDGAR FROESE, is pleasing and appropriate. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#41962)
Posted Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I agree that this album is a musical journey. And a beautiful and hypnotic one it is. However, contrary to what the general opinion seems to be, I do not think this album is as rewarding as it's successor, Rubycon. Somehow, Rubycon feels like the completion of the ideas that the group had for Phaedra. Everything that Phaedra has, Rubycon has in greater quantities. And everything that Phaedra has, that Rubycon has not, Zeit has in greater quantities. Let me explain; Phaedra consists of four different tracks, whereas Rubycon has in fact one track in two pieces. That adds to a more ambient, relaxed feeling throughout Rubycon - you have more time to get into the over-all feel of the album, to get into the hypnosis. There is so much more diversion on Phaedra, it is in a way more complex than Rubycon - and, as I said, less ambient. However, if you want complex music from Tangerine Dream, you get that in greater quantities in records like Atem or Zeit.

Still, Phaedra is a highly rewarding record, even if it is not as "clean" in its expression as its predecessors Atem and Zeit, or as Rubycon on the other hand.

Phaedra is the track that I like the most. It starts off in a "casual" and non-linear way, but when the linearity kicks in with a menacing beat (like a shark going after its prey) after 4 min 50 sec, the track really starts happening. Perhaps the song that resembles the following record Rubycon the most. The next track, Mysterious Semblance At The Stand Of Nightmares, is also a fantastic track. More instantly beautiful, but also more changing and more demanding, than Phaedra. The absence of the Phaedra-beat makes it almost a song not intended for the same listening-purpose. Movements Of A Visionary contains elements of both the pre-Virgin era, especcially in the non-linear and experimental beginning of the song, and of the Virgin era with straighter and more familiar beat patterns that kicks in after a while. In that respect, almost a mixture in style between the first two tracks. The records ends with the short, atmospheric non-beats track Sequent `c`.

Four great tracks, which in my book earns this record a strong 4-star rating, but the tracks do not make up a unity to such a degree as the other TD-records mentioned, and therefore cannot get the full 5 stars here.

Report this review (#43851)
Posted Monday, August 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
bolneustijger
5 stars Although this recording is definitly not an easy one for the prog rock/ electronic music newcomer, you will soon find out it is one to stay in your record collection. It requires quit a few listenings but after that you learn to appreciate the beauty of this recording. After more than 20 years this records still suprises me with its dark and hunting atmosphere. I still feel the same sensation as when I heard this record for the first time about 20 years ago.. For me this a absolute masterpiece.
Report this review (#64184)
Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars THIS ALBUM IS INSANE!! I found this one at the local disc shop one day and was able to get it quite cheaply. First of all, I must warn everyone that TD is not for everyone. They're probably the weirdest band I've ever heard. Not that this is bad, but it definetively took me quite a few good listens to really appreciate it.

Now about the music: Phaedra is for most part a very spacey and psychedelic album. Franke, Froese and Baumann all cooperate to create a lot of atmospheric landscapes with weird sounds and effects. The 17-minute title track is probably the best of all four songs on the album, although the others are also interesting. Phaedra is not really meant to be "listened", but "heard". I think this is the only way to truly enjoy it's sound. I would like to give it 5 stars, but I guess it can get a little boring at times so I think a nice 4-star rating will do.

Report this review (#82653)
Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tangerine Dream have created one of the most surprisingly beautiful things in art. Who knew that music created by so much machinery could take such a firm grasp of one's emotions. People commonly refer to Tangerine Dream's electronic atmospheres, day dreams, and lunar excursions as music for the head. I disagree, this is music for the heart. A pure emotional response delivered through mellotron, Moog, and organ, and the sprawling psychedelic paintings that will drift in and out of your consciousness as this plays.

When you listen to Phaedra, one must prepare himself for a journey. You have to sit down without a destination in mind and let the music dictate where you travel to. Admittedly though, at the times the journey can become a little tiresome. While the album kicks off with a palpable energy, the last 7 mins or Phaedra really leave me rather uneasy waiting for the record to end. This could perhaps be due to my rather cold response to the genre than the material itself. However, I think that speaks even more of the strength of this album. If it can evoke such a strong response in myself, who rather dislikes the genre, then it presents some truly exceptional people indeed, and I will recommend this album to those like myself who get little out of this style of prog or to those who are looking for a place to start in this sub-genre.

Report this review (#87486)
Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars A musical journey. They created a mysterious and sometimes strange, futuristic atmosphere, but at the same time they show their ability on mellotron and synth. Not too easy to listen to, but if you're are in the right mood, you should like it. This album is composed by 4 slow pieces of music without lyrics (that seems boring), and appreciate it could take a few listening, but if you understand the innovation (for those times) and the beauty of this kind of music, you shouldn't be disappointed. Not a large use of instruments, but mellotron, synths and basses are at their best. You shouldn't have too many different sounds to create a masterpiece, and Tangerine Dream, with Phaedra, show us how it could be possible. 5 stars to the music, 5 stars to the album cover.
Report this review (#96277)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars In general I write tons of reviews about symphonic prog but in fact I should write more about electronic music because I love this genre since the mid-Seventies. My electronic taste is only restricted to Seventies albums by Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Neuronium and Synergy and I am delighted about Cosmic Hoffmann and a bunch of new electronic bands like Free System Project, Red Shift, Airsculpture, Return To The Origin and Rudy Adrian, obviously inspired by ... Phaedra!

For me this album is on the same innovative and exciting level as A Farewell To Kings by Rush, El Patio by Triana and Santana his eponymous debut LP. Listening to Phaedra I try to imagine how mindblowing it must have been when the electronic aficionados heard it for the first time: four compositions (between 2 and 17 minutes) with unique aural landscapes featuring ominous Mellotron layers (wonderful violin-Mellotron waves in Mysterious Semblance..), pulsating sequencers, weird and spacey synthesizer sounds, some psychedelic sounding Farfisa organ (in Movements Of Visionary) and amazing interplay between the three keyboard players Franke, Froese and Baumann. OK, it's not everybody's cup of tea, many would say "boring" but I prefer to describe it as "hypnotizing" and "compelling".

For me it's unique music that still succeeds to generate lots of excitement!

Report this review (#96718)
Posted Thursday, November 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, now I really fear for my life! Only a reviewer here casted a vote like mine. Despite the importance of the record in the evolution of the whole prog movement in general and in the german scene in particular, I cannot say this is my cup of tea. I agree that there is a dreamy and a completely new "spacey" mood all over it. There is also a wonderful and massive use of "vintage" keyboards. It is not enough, for me, though. I don't think more listenings will work, I understand it clearly now.

It's more like a sort of experiment for ears useful to enlarge the usual restrict horizons. Maybe it's because I still have to acquire the taste. Maybe. It's a new musical and prog experience. Never tried before. A prog symphony suspended between forward and backward. A concert of minds that had to be a mystical adventure in a cathedral, as Tangerine Dream did at their time, impressing the audience. Perhaps that should be the best way to introduce correctly those like me.

The repetitive pattern is hypnotizing, at the risk of being "boring". Risk partially avoided by the continuous variations and upgrades of the musical level as we listeners were floating in the empyreal. It becomes a sort of limbo for me when I cannot decipher the complex plot builded by the visionars Froese, Baumann and Franke.

Suggesting, for sure and even spectral, but extremely hard listening.

Report this review (#101601)
Posted Monday, December 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prognut
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars After a great deal of consideration, regarding which album I would like to review to commemorate my first 100 reviews in our favorite progressive music web site, I have decided on this one, one of my favorites of all times!!

A mind-blowing piece of art!! Which has aged like one of the best wines and after 30+ years' sounds and "taste" even better.

First are foremost, I have to say that frankly I do not think that I can write a much better review than some the ones before me; so, I am not going to drive you insane with more on that; I will not either, attempt to convinced you on any way possible to get this album (yes!,. right..); on the other hand if you would like to obtain a copy of this album then, please by all means, go for it!! I have seen online copies going for as low as $8, can you believe it! Less than half of what a B. Spears, Madonna or M. Jackson albums cost nowadays, no wonder why our society is so artistically and financially screwed right now, honestly I believe than somehow we need to spiral up and not down!! At least on what we refer as MUSIC.

Electronic music and kruatrock in general IMHO are one of the most underrated genres in progressive music, and that may have been the reason why all around this genre (Electronic) has been rather financially successful and "mainstream" (right! Like Zeit.), nevertheless it remains at the disguise of many people progressive in all the sense, and I do believe strongly that especially electronic-progressive is an acquired taste, kind of the same with fusion!! Now be clear about this, I am not talking about "new age stuff"! Electronic music as a type of art once it melts in you, with or without, the poison of your choice is rather rewarding.

PHAEDRA is one of those albums that flows naturally over 37+ minutes, and let you at the end wishing for more! Layer after layer of synth (Moog, melotron and what not.), guitar and even flute, this is a wet dream for a connoisseur of progressive music, that shows the essence of what the Berlin-School will and had become, just an absolutely essential stuff!!

I give this album 5 stars mainly because, in part it marks a swift point in what electronic music did become and in doing so became a pivotal piece of music history (at least in what progressive music refers to.) that even the best current bands in the electronic scene, consider as a constant fuel of inspiration; but also, because in THIS GENRE stands as a really MASTERPIECE all around!!! Just another album from TD IMHO deserves however a 5 stars rating, and that will be also the mind-blowing "Force Majeure". But almost anything they did between 1970- 1980 (including the live stuff.) will get 4 or 41/2 stars in my book, amazing and spectacular 10 years.

So, if you are serious about Progressive Music, or you are just starting to digest electronic-progressive music, do your self a favor this Christmas, and buy for $8 a copy of this amazing piece of art.

Report this review (#102165)
Posted Friday, December 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think this must have been one of the first albums I bought without being influenced by elder brothers' or friends' musical tastes and I remember being absolutely awestruck. Listening to it, it transported me to a completely different place. In particular "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" depicted an alien shoreline.

Well that was a long time ago and the use of sequencers and synthesisers is all-pervasive now and the album doesn't quite have that effect on me any more. However I still regard it as a groudn-breaking work and I'm pleased to have this in my CD collection.

Thoroughly recommended for all those with an interest in early electronic music.

Report this review (#105044)
Posted Sunday, December 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hypnotic, trance-inducing music.

I had heard Tangerine Dream's name thrown around a bit when talking about progressive electronic music, and from what I gathered, they were far different from Kraftwerk. Now, Kraftwerk is currently my favorite progressive electronic band, but at the time I bought this album, I thought very little of them. I decided that there had to be more to the sub-genre, and I remembered Tangerine Dream. Enter Phaedra. This album is Tangerine Dream's most highly acclaimed album, and I decided to begin with it. I took two or three listens, found it duller even than Kraftwerk, and proceeded to leave the entire sub- genre for dead.

What has happened since then? Well, I didn't really quite leave the genre for dead. Instead, I gave it one last try with Klaus Schulze's brilliantly titled (insert smiley for sarcasm) X album, which I liked more than anything by Kraftwerk or Tangerine Dream, but which didn't ignite a progressive electronic fire beneath me (though I have come to like it much more since then). But, more recently (and importantly), I gave Kraftwerk's The Man Machine and Trans-Europe Express a few good listens, and that's where everything changed. Both those albums became two of my all-time favorites (especially Trans-Europe Express), and I decided to give Tangerine Dream another shot or two.

I did, and my opinion changed, but not by much. Most of my major complaints that I had the first time around are still with me now. Namely, whereas Kraftwerk draws your full attention as a listener, Tangerine Dream simply hopes you'll give it to them. What I mean is: Kraftwerk sucks you in from the opening seconds, while Tangerine Dream do little to actively engage you until, at least for me, it is too late. Obviously, you can't fully enjoy an album without giving it your complete attention, but I have listened to this album as background music and gotten nearly as much out of it as when I listened to it and did nothing else. This music is a lot like a cloud, really. It's generally very pretty and can be different shapes, it's easy to sink into, but ultimately provides little support for the listener (it also has a somewhat "wet" feel to it, as clouds do).

Once you work beyond that, however, it's not hard to see that this is a great album. It relies largely on textures, floating in and out of your consciousness at whatever pace the band sees fit. This effect is done very well, probably almost as well as it can be done, and I find myself quite enjoying it as I listen. Each song is full of great moments, and none of them get boring.

What I cannot deny is this album's influence. It is clearly one of the most important progressive electronic albums around, and is therefore a must have for all fans of the genre. Ultimately, I have to come to the conclusion that this album, while good, is just simply not my cup of tea. I do, however, recognize that, for many people, this kind of "music that melts" can be quite entrancing. An album worth owning for its influence, but if you don't like it, keep in mind that Kraftwerk's blend of electronic prog is far removed from that of Tangerine Dream. If neither of them do it for you, I don't know. Some Klaus Schulze, perhaps?

4 stars.

Report this review (#115873)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The Prog Archives review guidelines caution against indiscriminate abuse of the 5-star rating, but honestly: how could a recording of this magnitude not be credited as essential listening, even if only from a purely historical perspective? Tangerine Dream would go on to make better albums: compare this one to something like "Ricochet", the band's first (quasi) live recording, released only two short years later but showing a remarkable leap forward in sophistication and style. But none would have the immediate impact or lasting influence of this breakthrough 1972 effort, which almost single-handedly lifted serious electronic music out of the avant-garde ghetto into the rarified air of the rock music charts.

In retrospect it might be hard to appreciate exactly how popular the album once was, or why it should have been so successful. The stone-age synthetic rhythms can sound woefully antiquated to modern ears spoiled by more than three decades of subsequent technological progress. Listen closely to the 17+ minute title track, and at one point you can actually hear the sequencer tuning gradually coming unglued, cueing a quick fade to safer atonal territory.

Primitive or not, the album still managed to almost crack the Top 10 in a crowded UK marketplace, selling more than a million copies in that country alone: quite an accomplishment for a trio of Germans operating well outside the already wide-open musical terrain of the early '70s. Maybe audiences, like musicians at the time, were simply more adventurous then than now: try to imagine something equally as radical enjoying the same sort of mainstream success in our own (mostly) toothless consumer-entertainment culture.

As with any new language, musical or otherwise, the voice has to emerge before a vocabulary can be established. This was the album on which Tangerine Dream found its voice, and with only a little mental arithmetic it's still possible to recapture the exhilaration of hearing, as if for the first time, what must have seemed like an entirely new plateau of musical evolution.

Report this review (#122919)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Starette
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Well this is my first taste of anything near-to-techno from the seventies. Would you call this techno? No. Didn't think so. More ambient, ephereal, scary background music to take drugs by. (and no- I'm certainly not encouraging that.) Or look at art by Salvadore Dali or any other awesome surrealist. But, word of warning: don't listen to this album if you have a hangover. It does things to your mind. :/ Yes...I've experienced that. This is a strange album to start my reviewing routine with again, after a year or so of non-reviewing limbo. Because I don't find it particularly enlightening. Apart from the fact its different to anything I've ever heard from the 70s before. Let alone from Germany. Be here we go. Phaedra was the woman in Greek Mythology, wife to Theseus, who fell in love with Hippolytus her step-son and ended up hangin herself. I'm being a good little Classicist and giving you the background to the theme here- but special thanks to my boyfriend who just told me the difference between Phaedra and her mother Phasiphae- who fell in love with a bull and thus produced the minotaur. :) See? There's a REASON why I chose to be a Classicist. ..Too bad my boyfriend seems to be a better Classicist than me.

1) Phaedra: Well this is like a space movie. When I think about it, it's like Edgar, Christoph and Peter got together with their synthesizers and said "Lets SCARE people!". I can't say I've ever been one for space rock but I guess this the closest i'll get to it. This piece seems to put us in something like Space Odyssey 2001 or any other crazy psycological-thriller space movie and say "These are the aliens...and this is the cockpit of their space ship." What it is, essentially, is a constant beat of electronic sounds which develop all the way into slightly frightening background music. Or is it slightly sad? Look out for Edgars bass guitar and mellotron- it's probably the most catchy and it comes and goes....like everything else on this album.

2) Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares: Anyone read Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics? Ok- maybe I'm going off topic- but this music certainly sets the theme. This pieces starts off like an ocean. But the synth inbetween the sound of the shore sounds lovely in the harmony between the notes. Too bad all three musicians use synths cause I can't give anyone credit here! Whats that...is that a helicopter I hear? man this is weird...and it goes on too. The end sounds a bit like the start os Led Zeppelins 'No Quarter' thanks to Christophs keyboard and/or moog. And then it just 'bubbles' (and I mean it actually 'bubbles') away...

3) Movements of a Visionary: This starts off with shaky echoes. I can't really say a lot about this track except that it made me say 'Well this DATES it." It uses the same repetitive technique that the last two tracks did but theres something definitely 70s about it. Whereas the other tracks on this album, if you didnt know they came from 1974- you could place them anywhere after 1968. But don't throw eggs at me when i say that this piece isn't even *vaguely* exciting or catchy in the slightest. Background is what it is.

4) Sequent C: This is the most eerie and ambient of all. But it's my favourite :) It's not because it's much shorter than the others but because there is something a helluva lot more melodic as opposed to the other 'lets make scary electronic sounds' tracks. There was also something rather...well..GREEK about this music. Relating to the album title. Full praise to Peter with the spell his flute puts on us. This is the first Tangerine Dream piece I ever heard.

Overall I'm giving this album a three star rating- but really I'd rather give it 2.5 points...somewhere inbetween 2 and 3. This is because it is interesting to listen to. But I have better things to do. What does this album purport to do anyway? It's not to sing along to. It doesn't make good background music for a party...Both these outcomes are because its not melodic. in general anyway. Sometimes it's not even catchy. But it does make good 'thinking' music- when you're along drawing a picture. Or you can close your eyes and imagine its the theme music to an alien movie as I mentioned before. Just try not to have a mental breakdown to it. You never know when THAT could happen.

Report this review (#125267)
Posted Saturday, June 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Phaedra was a demigod - Her grandfather was Zeus. Aside from her experience of romantic drama.....it's just a name. Phaedra is a masterpiece of experimental electronic music. In their best early works, TD music is dominated by sequencers. Historically, that was how a few musicians were able to build polyphony into their live performance pieces. They didn't have midi and fully polyphonic keyboards, not to mention digital recording equipment with nearly unlimited channels. In spite of all that, this music is fresh even today. In those days TD also was intentionally limited in their use of vocals and conventional rock instruments. Froese left a huge number of unfinished or, if you will, undeveloped musical ideas hanging here like fruit on a tree for others and himself to pickup later on. The key word here is EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC. Another great experimental arena to explore is "bent music".

If you are a slave to main stream rock music structure and standard rock instrument/vocalist performers then this music is not for you; it requires an open mind, a sense of imagination, and above all....listening patience. Furthermore, when judging music, you have to evaluate it within its own aural arena. In other words, you cannot judge a band like like this the same way you might Green Day or Dream Theater - these bands are stylistically different, but the technical elements are nearly the same (barring a few exceptions), they are just employed differently. Along the same vein, you could endlessly and absurdly argue about how much better the flavor of an apple stimulates your senses compared to the effect of an orange on them. The point being, if you don't like oranges, then you really are out of your depth trying to be an orange judge and cannot give reliable advise to fruit shoppers unless they are looking for apples.

Report this review (#127905)
Posted Sunday, July 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first TD album and it took me some time to see its greatness. Brian eno gave ambient music its name, but TD pioneered the sound. The group formed in Berlin in 1967, their leader founder and only constant member being guitarist Edgar Froese. Inspired by surrealism and the dadaist art movement, he had worked with Salvador Dali and opened for Jimi Hendrix. Other palyers came and went, leading to a german label debut in 1970. Electronic meditation was one of the earliest examples of krautrock: a minimalist, experiemental work utilizing household objects alongside standard rock instruments. Syntheizers came to the fore on Alpha Centauri 1971, three years before Kraftwerk fully embraced them-and the classic TD lineup of Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann was in place for double LP Zeit. Influential british DJ John Peel declared 1973's Atem to be his album of the year, earning the space music innovators a major contract with Virgin Records. Virgin debut Phaedra was a commercial and stylistic landmark. The trios used Moog and sequencers for the first time, enabling thire vast instrumental soundscapes to be composed rather then improvised. The title track is a quasi-symphonic constellation of hypnotic burbling, celestial textures, and pulsating bassline. "Movements of a Visionary" involves whispers and arpeggiated tone clusters, while "Mysterious semblance at the strand of nightmares" features luminescent keyboard washes that evoke the ocean as much as the cosmos. The ending "Sequent C'" is a short spooky track that always makes me think of aliens or something sinister lurking. Phaedra cracked the UK top 20 and made No. 196 in America. It remains essential lisening for fans of electronic music-a mesmeric precursor to trance, techno, and the dance music of the future. 5 stars to this groundbreaking masterpice of elelctronica.
Report this review (#140709)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Phaedra is one of the most revolutionary and beautiful collections of music ever conceived, created, and recorded. This album is not only a window into the human subconscious, but an artistic vision of an entire kingdom of people, events, objects, and philosophies. In this collection, the sounds of an expanse, immortal and unending, that stretches into the realm of infinity. From Phaedra, one hears the sounds of the Cosmos, as if it sings to us in its ethereal immensity; anyone who hears this album is taken away by the realization of just how small human beings are in the void. This is no ordinary one-offer for profit or fame; this is a work of art, philosophical ideation, and visions of a universe so grand that we, in our tiny stature, cannot totally comprehend.

I. Phaedra. This title track is one of the miracles of music. There is hardly an apt description for this work, which approaches eighteen minutes in length. What words can be found to describe it? Infinite, Eternal, Forever, Ethereal; it is not even a question of words anymore, as it seems so huge as to transcend any language used to describe it. This first movement slowly climbs forth from a black abyss, synthesizers oscillating back and forth until it appears that whatever this music represents has crawled its way out of its ancient home. As the oscillators chime, there is an impression of falling and rising, carried out by an immense Shepard tone, an acoustic property whereby different notes sound as if they're ascending and descending simultaneously. This stroke of genius is as pure a picture of the stars, nebulae, gas and dust, galaxies, quasars, and black holes that we humans only glimpse in shades from beneath our sky. The oscillators quickly give way to a rolling electronic bass line, not brazen and harsh like an electric bass guitar, nor driving and dancelike as latter day techno bass, but subtle. Along with the sheer sound of melodic waves washing over the ear, this bass line creates a sense of movement, perhaps of a voyage.

If this movement is supposed to be some stellar or undersea voyage, it is well represented indeed. Driving along with force and conviction, the bass line accompanies the music as it descends deeper into bizarre clusters of sound. It is not dissonant; in fact, it is incredibly pleasing to the ear! One may well imagine space in all its colours and immensity, but this reviewer feels that it represents a journey of the mind. The music appears to climb in and out of awakening and sleep; dreams and reality. It is an epic voyage, without a single human word uttered, without any concrete melody to drive the observer on. As the music begins to ascend out of the tonal chaos, there is a sense of impending doom and fear; the synthesizer pangs higher and higher, lifting everything up and away, the bass line still chugging away like a mad steam engine. Yet within all this tonal shifting and oscillating frequency waves, there is a sense of calm. It is as if one is thrust into a state of rapt attention such as sleep paralysis, where the individual is acutely aware of everything around, but cannot react. It is fearsome and yet so ethereal in its beauty. The bass line finally dissipates after many minutes, more than half way into the piece and it is left drifting. It is as if the vehicle has stalled and left everything stranded, alone in the deepest regions of the mind, or the cold, dead shell of a once bright star.

After such a huge voyage, the ghostly aura of death surrounding the music is a perfect contrast. Odd synthesizer blasts, almost akin to some alien version of our Whale species on Earth, begin to sound it. It is some terrible nightmare, yet a beautiful, grandiose dream of places we may never see. This loneliness of nothing in space and time slowly gives way to one of the most beautiful mellotron solos in the history of music. The mellotron, that ever present king of progressive music, slowly ushers itself in like a stately rescuer in this moonlit landscape, devastated by the ravages of time. We are slowly and deliberately pulled out of this deep sleep, this hibernation of the mind, and as the mellotron fades into eternity, all that is left is silence.... a long silence. Then, as an afterthought, seemingly out of the world of dreams in the subject's waking hours, are the sounds of children playing. At first it is eerie, with tape echoes and reverberation, but for a few seconds we hear the joy of life in its full recorded form. The children laugh, and just as we feel as though we are home again, it is gone. Silence.

II. Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares. Out of the first movement of this album comes one of the serenities of progressive music. It is as if the title track were but a premonition of this beautiful, heavenly statement of infinity. Almost this entire piece, ten minutes in length, is made up of mellotron with sweeping effects. It seems to blow a frozen wind at the listener, as if everything has suddenly been transported to that moonscape of the dream the night before. It is the future becoming a reality in music. This feeling cannot be understated, as Mysterious Semblance... is one of the greatest realizations any person can have. Its gigantic sonority, its huge and epic sound, tells of just how inconceivable, how immeasurable, how chaotic and somehow beautiful our raging storm of a cosmos is. After several minutes of the most serene, calming, and meaningful mellotron waves, piling on top of each other in a manner akin to ascending through the highest cosmic orders of the universe, the melody becomes more choppy and distant. It is as if we're being treated to a view over the entire universe for just a brief and glorious moment, and then it is over. The music may last around nine minutes and fifty-five seconds, but it moves with such grace, such simple beauty, that it feels as if it is over in a much shorter time frame. This feeling of brevity is only confused further by the fact that the music is so large, and so timeless. Truly one of the greatest pieces of music to come out of minimalist ambient and electronic music.

III. Movements of a Visionary This third movement is detached from the other two, in that it sounds very experimental. A series of synthesizer pangs and chimes form together to give the impression of a sort of jungle in the night. It is no ordinary earth jungle, though, as it has that sense of foreign and alien foreboding about it. Some of the sounds are like the chopping of helicopter blades, or a train going past at a great distance. It is as if Mysterious Semblance... was the reality of the dream that evolved in Phaedra, and Movements... is yet another dream. Or perhaps we have been inside our own head the entire time; it is a very deep and meaningful idea that surrounds this music. The bizarre sounds give way to a rolling bass line, much like that in Phaedra, but this one much lighter and more fluid. It is no longer chaos or fear, but a driving curiosity that the object of the music feels. A far away organ, somehow displaced yet perfectly in balance, is heard far, far away, washing over hill and crater to reach us from some distant place. This is dream music of the highest degree, the height of the journey through the human brain's highest centers of thought and learning. Stripping away the philosophical underpinning, this piece is absolutely revolutionary in its use of synthesizers, organ, and the Moog in particular. Though it is very subtle, nuanced, and fleeting, there is not a better example of electronic music being shaped into art than Movements of a Visionary.

IV. Sequent C'. The very last period in the paragraph that has been spoken about the universe is indeed a dark and ominous one. Gone are the bass lines; gone are the waves and oscillators; gone is the immensity of space. Here, in just more than two minutes of music, the entire journey is encapsulated in a summary. There is only one instrument: a flute. It is given that ethereal, melancholy feeling through tape echoes and reverberation. What a perfect way to end such an excellent journey of mind, sound, and meaning: with a small and dark summary. There is no light, curiosity, or hope; it is merely there in all its bleak loneliness, and it fades away into the infinity from which the music first came.

Phaedra is not just one electronic album, but a pioneering collection of almost sublime and unknowable proportions. It is so mysterious, and yet so revealing, that it leaves the listener drained from the process of thinking over its meaning and effects. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this music was revolutionary in 1974 and continues to break boundaries in 2008. This is a must have album for any progressive minded music listener.

Report this review (#159435)
Posted Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I can hardly talk about Phaedra, it was the first electro album I ever listened to (then I discovered Kraftwerk, and later, Air). 4 great tracks, from Phaedra to Sequent C'. Nothing's wrong here, it's pure, calm, poetic, timeless music. If you want to escape yourself for a while, have a listen to these 37 minutes of relaxating music. This is truly a masterpiece, Tangerine Dream's best work ever (even if Rubycon, Ricochet and the Sorcerer soundtrack are good works). A must-have.
Report this review (#163961)
Posted Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The first ten minutes of this album changed the way we thought about music.

Immediately others began exploring the ambient and techno territories that FROESE, FRANKE and BAUMANN had discovered. JEAN MICHEL JARRE went and bought himself a suite of expensive hardware after hearing this. BRIAN ENO incorporated TD motifs in his own ambient music. The new wavers of the 1980s owe their existence to TANGERINE DREAM: GIORGIO MORODER, HAROLD FALTERMEYER and others ought to be paying the TANG a percentage of their royalties. From the 1990s THE ORB, ORBITAL, APHEX TWIN, AUTECHRE and the like all owe a debt to TANGERINE DREAM, as do the hundreds of lesser trance-exponents who followed.

These first ten minutes pulse with a goosepimply insistence, a constantly changing kaleidoscope of sound courtesy of FRANKE's moog sequencer. Though it sounds somewhat dated now, given what digital sequencers and other equipment can do now, nothing - I mean nothing - like this had been heard before. The nearest analogue I can dredge up is PINK FLOYD's 'On The Run' from the previous year, but that had little of the pure attention-grabbing excitement of this. An ethereal opening, followed by a pulsing noise I can only describe as something like a liquid engine at rest, set the scene for the arrival of the ever-evolving pulse-blip, TANGERINE DREAM's signature sound. It's used here, as in subsequent albums, as the foundation for the gang's instrumental flights of fancy, notably the swirly synth at 3:35. And when the pulse changes at 7 minutes you know you're in the presence of genius.

That said, the rest of the album is more like their 'Pink' years of their first four albums, mostly ambient soundscapes created with mellotron and synth, though even these are somewhat more accessible than the avant-garde drone of 'Zeit'. None of FROESE's soaring guitars, sadly, but they can be found in subsequent releases. These days I consider 'Phaedra' a four-star album, but it is essential listening, if only for the first ten minutes.

A work of art that will be remembered centuries hence.

Report this review (#168258)
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars WHY a 5 Stars for Phaedra ... We've been through many activities between 1968 & 2008 , involved in experimental progressive music , bands from different countries , different cultures , a variety of label companies , producers , soloists , ,,, But few of them got the chance to meet with markets needs in this project . when Tangerine Dream released Phaedra in 1974 , Albums like Phaedra was the real inspiration for many other masterpieces in the 70's , 80's & 90's . I couldn't , since i've purchased it in 1975 hear something just close to it , and if , for any reasons i loose this vinyl album , i'm willing to get a copy back for any price . First track ( magical ) Phaedra 5 stars , Mysterious & movements 4.5 stars , Sequent c 3.5 Stars , First excellent work from Tangerine Dream . Tracks Toni
Report this review (#168402)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars I read how brilliant this album is on prog archives and a magazine rated it among the best of prog rock albums so naturally I had to taste and see. Unfortunately, the taste was bitter and to this day I just cannot grasp this album, yet I love most prog rock.

Tangerine Dream fail me completely.

I have no interest in their brand of music or their slow meandering wallowing of techno ambience. I can appreciate their influence on ambience and experimental music, in a similar sense to Soft Machine's approach to jazz, however one needs infinite patience to appreciate this and as much as I tried to enjoy this, I found it to be a cosmic brain drain.

Tangerine Dream are certainly progenitors of electronic music and glacial landscape music like no other band. I have a strange affinity for cold, bleak music such as Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre, but it is at least accessible as music, whereas Phaedra feels like filler music for 2001: A Space Odyssey, or background music for the TV show Cosmos. There is no structure to the music, and it labours on minutes and minutes of one note cold stark rhythmless and patternless, almost improvised sessions. At times we have a synth pad that continues and there are no changes or beats and it is totally draining.

The only tracks of note are the excellent sounds of "Sequent C". and to some extent "Movements of a Visionary" is interesting, especially the intro section, and deserves its place as one of the best ambient pieces I have heard. I have the album Stratosfear also, and rate that a lot higher than this so-called masterpiece. Even then TD are an acquired taste and not for the average music listener.

The music is so difficult to absorb, it becomes tiresome and I do not know what it all means. It is so slow moving, at a snail's pace at times, and the changes in substance are so subtle they are hardly noticeable so it very quickly loses the attention span and is absolutely forgettable. Artistically, there is obvious purpose behind the music and some will revel in this, but not me. I was completely lost when I first heard it, and I still can't find more than 2 stars for "Phaedra".

Report this review (#186458)
Posted Monday, October 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 4.5 stars. I've added a half star because of how influencial and significant this album was when it came out in 1974. It really did turn on a world of people to this Electronic genre. There are several Electronic albums I like more than "Phaedra", I mean it's not even my favourite TANGERINE DREAM album, but I hold it in high esteem. This would be the first time they would use sequencers to counter the spacey soundscapes instead of drums.

"Phaedra" was the opening side long track. It opens with spacey sounds that build quickly and then settle in. It's dark. Pulsating sounds come in before 2 minutes. Mellotron washes in a minute later. It continues to be spacey with a rhythm. The intensity rises after 9 1/2 minutes and mellotron comes in at 10 minutes. A calm follows and is interupted by these strange sounds 12 minutes in as mellotron returns. No beat, just beautiful mellotron waves. It gets louder 15 1/2 minutes in. Just after 17 minutes we can hear the faint sound of children playing as the song ends.

"Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" is pretty much Froese playing mellotron with electronics coming and going. The electronics really remind me of PINK FLOYD early. This is my favourite track, it's simply incredible. "Movements Of A Visionary" features a lot of electronic sounds that come and go. A beat arrives before 2 minutes. Lots of spacey sounds and organ follow. A calm 7 1/2 minutes to end it. "Sequent C" features mostly Baumann playing flute that seems to rise and fall.

Obviously a must have for all Prog fans out there. We all could use a little spacey music in our lives.

Report this review (#186755)
Posted Friday, October 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
MovingPictures07
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of the finest electronic albums ever made and an album that defined history. That cannot be said about many albums of their respective genres, let alone a genre that is often misunderstood: progressive electronic. No other group has pioneered more in the realms of that genre arguably than Tangerine Dream, particularly in their Virgin years, and this album is possibly their most historically groundbreaking.

1. Phaedra: 17 minutes of sheer spooky, mellotron and keyboard-driven insanity. This is near impossible to describe, the sonic textures flowing from sound to sound right in your ears. This is perfect music for studying, relaxing, or meditating! I often like to play this album, and particularly this track, during the winter in the evenings. It is incredibly expressive and this track is simply a journey from beginning to end into a world that Froese and the crew construct for you. Never unexciting! 10/10

2. Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares: Yes, the title says it all. I might even like this song more than the previous title track; and I want it to be played at my funeral. It is perhaps one of the most eerie, beautiful songs I've ever heard in my entire life. This song features even more emotionally-played mellotron than the title track. This is the epitome of head music, a whole world opening up inside of your head as you hear it. This track makes the album a masterpiece alone. You simply have to hear it. Definitely in my top 5 favorite songs of all time. 10+/10

3. Moments of a Visionary: How can you top the previous track? Well, you really can't, but this song does a pretty decent job of following. In contrast to the all-encompassing blanket of warmth that is Semblance, this song starts off immediately as being more distant. It then builds perfectly into an icy journey (or so that's how I vision it) and is another very effective, mood/head song. Very effective, but barely misses the mark of absolute perfection. 9/10

4. Sequent C: A very haunting way to end the album, and also very short. However, it is just as effective as the previous 3, continuing the atmosphere laid out through the entire album yet being as memorable as the ones that came before it. The meticulous and well-written craftsmanship of these songs is amazing, and this is no exception. 9/10

If you think you know everything about music and haven't heard this, get it. However, if you're looking for a certain sound and don't have an open mind, you may not like it, as this music is nothing like Yes, jazz fusion, or prog metal. Of course, if you've read all of this review in this particular sub-genre by this artist, then you must be interested. So there are no exceptions. Buy it now. You won't regret it.

A masterpiece of progressive rock. 10/10

Report this review (#188570)
Posted Sunday, November 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Phaedra is the album that brought Tangerine Dream to center stage. Although it is their 5th album, it is the first after John Peel's inclusion of Atem into heavy rotation. Phaedra is also the first album with Virgin Records and the backing of this new and influential company paid dividends.

The title track is 17+ minutes of icy, spooky mostly keyboard driven music. Dark bubbling sound that reels you in. The second track Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares, is one of my favorite alltime tracks by anybody. Mellotron and more mellotron. Hypnotic. These two tracks are wonderful works of art and experimentation, and while the last two are not quite up to these high standards, they both also are very good.

Grab yourself a good pair of headphones, lay down in a dark room and let this music transport you.

Very strong 5 stars.

Report this review (#220469)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Voilà!

This is the first TD album I ever purchased. At the time of release (which means a long, long time ago).

I was absolutely fascinated by these wonderful and magical spacey sounds from the title track. It was something I had never heard at the time (but I was only fifteen).

Of course, there are people who might tell you that this music is quite loose and full of improvisation (but I'll come back on this while reviewing the great ''Ricochet'' album) still, it brought me into some sort of ''second'' state of mind. ''Phaedra'' did the job in '74 and it still has the same attraction to my ears.

This album starts the most brilliant period of the band (that's my HHO) which will last till the wonderful ''Stratosfear''. I guess that if I loved this record so much at the time of release (and I still do), it is because of its relation with one of my Floyd's fave (ASOS of course). A difficult approach, but once you got there: you just belonged there.

The title track is of course overshadowing the second side but there are delicious moments as well available on side B. The best of all is probably the long and ? mysterious '' Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares''. A moving track which is on par with ''Phaedra'': it holds beautiful keyboards moments (but this is the least one can expect of TD): melodic, cold, and impressive. A second highlight.

IMHHO, this is an excellent album. It will lead to great things to come and IMHHO this is a truly innovative album. I just believe that there are not enough reviews for this album here on P.A. Of ''historical'' influence, this album is for sure a must.

I wouldn't rate it as a masterpiece (because of ''Movements'' and ''Sequent'') but four stars are damned legitimate. Better things are still ahead though.

Report this review (#221178)
Posted Sunday, June 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was a really cool album, although it took me time to get into it. The main reason was that it's very slow and ambient... not that it's a bad thing... but it's hard to focus on when you're doing something else and this is playing in the background (although it does make for good background music as well.) I usually enjoy progressive rock and progressive metal, and all the other fusion genres associated with it... such as gothic symphonic metal, and all that stuff. But this album, and Tangerine Dream in General don't really have that rock feeling into it. It's like it takes the progressive of progressive rock and mixes it with ambient and electronic. So if you're looking to rock out, this isn't the album for you.

I also have an obsession with surrealism and ambience, whether it be sights, sounds or whatever. So this album was great for me. It is very spacey, and very fluid. I think anyone who enjoys Pink Floyd's "Echoes" particularly the spacey parts, would be able to enjoy this album.

No, I don't think it's an absolute masterpiece that deserves 5 stars and that's because it's not a huge landmark in progressive rock music. But this is a very good album, and it is sure to take you to different places if it doesn't bore you first. So if you are into the spacey stuff, and don't mind if there's hardly any rock and roll in it, then this is definitely the album for you. In terms of the ambient electronic genre, this is definitely a landmark release.

Report this review (#232852)
Posted Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars I find progressive electronic music more indescribable than most other forms of music, and this is definitely no exception- it's an art form that almost needs to be heard to be judged at all. Words fall short. Yet reviewing, by nature, is done with words, so I will give it my best. That said, Tangerine Dream's most celebrated work is a dark and gloomy affair, but a masterpiece of the genre in my thin book. The strange thing is, no matter how hard I try to concentrate on it, the hypnotic nature of the music loses me, and suddenly I am drawn back into it and wondering at what point it all shifted- kind of like lying in bed on a sleepless night, thinking of a series of things, only to reach a thought that begs an auditing of the thoughts that led up to terminal one. Again, words fail.

"Phaedra" Somber and meticulous, a repetitive electronic rhythm rises from the musical mist. But that first lead instrument, which sounds like a modulated Mellotron, grabs me each and every time. Bird-like noises surface in the airy, almost bleak landscape of music. The latter half is empty and yet somehow full, full of unseen life- a fullness that resonates from somewhere within.

"Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" Dirge-like and somber, this music is melancholic and reflective, as though depicting a quiet funeral on windswept snowy mountains. Each texture washes over the next like a watercolor masterpiece.

"Movements Of A Visionary" Odd noises abound until the electronic rhythm can fade in. A church organ follows. This is the most difficult to follow despite its relative brevity- perhaps that is due, ironically, to its simplistic nature.

"Sequent C'" This final track offers more despondent tones, bringing the album to an abrupt but meditative conclusion.

Report this review (#239530)
Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Boring minimalist background music...or is it?

Tangerine Dream get a ton of kudos from me. Normally this type of music is just unbearable for me to sit through; long mellotron drones, spacey synth effects, studio tampered flute, etcetera, etcetera. It's the type of music to space out to as it takes a lot of willpower and patience to concentrate on the ''music'' (I put music in quotes; to be explained later). Even as I throw four stars at PHAEDRA, I still find it difficult to pay attention to the whole of say ''Mysterious Semblance''.

It's more of an album to be appreciated rather than loved or cuddled. There's rarely a moment that could be considered ''music'' in the traditional sense as most of the pieces convey moods, soundscapes and abstract ideas as opposed to musical notes. If you eliminate the idea of music requiring melodies, meaningful lyrics and structures, it's hard not to appreciate what PHAEDRA is doing.

Report this review (#247389)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Phaedra is one of Tangerine Dream's best-known records, and not surprisingly so. They were one of the major pioneers of electronic music, along with Jarre, Kraftwerk, and Vangelis, though this album is much more ambient than the ones made by those artists.

The title track is a cosmic, psychedelic masterpiece. A sequencer gives order and direction, as electronic noises soar freely in the background. This type of music can create many different feelings, depending on the person, the situation, and what happens to be in their blood at the time- it can be frightening, or peaceful, or meditative, all depending on how you look at it. After about ten minutes, the sequencer noises fade into nothingness, and empty, echoing noise that seems to be from another world rattles around in the void, until it is filled with gentle synthesizer noise.

The second side, however, does a bit less for me. Mysterious Semblance seems like not much more than a ten-minute mellotron workout, which isn't really bad, but not exactly great either. Movements of a Visionary picks things up again, making a dark, ominous track that feels like the cold, lifeless void of space. Finally, Sequent C is a short, flute-led song, evoking a peaceful, pastoral feel.

Phaedra's title track is a long ambient electronic masterpiece, the stuff of dreams and nightmares, of trips to outer space and the inner realms. So, despite some less than amazing stuff on the second side, I'll give Phaedra four stars, rounded up from about 3.75. Recommended to fans of ambient, chill-out type music and spacey music.

Report this review (#260880)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
2 stars Too slow, too atmospheric and too repetitive, even given that I can enjoy all of these things when they're not too much. I saw how it worked with all of you (other people reviewing here), so I though, when it's rated so highly, wouldn't it be great album to start with Tangerine Dream ? (The band about which I get to know via analysis of Dream Theater's Octavarium). OK, it has celestial sounds, mostly repeated 4-8 times (4/4 rocks, I mean electro-rocks), sometimes 16 or even 32x with only minor variations. I already found album that I don't like at all (Alpha) and the one that I can enjoy (live, read my review), but this fails to get my attention and not that I hate it. OK, typical rock music also repeats the ideas (chorus/bridge pattern) and prog rock (note the word "rock") has far more pleasant form & has more space to some experimentation (while, again - note the word "while" being still relatively easy to listen) and so on.

2(-), with only better piece being this: Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares, so all my senses tells me that this is music "only-for-fans", strange, this means that almost everyone is fan here.

Explanation: I didn't grow up with this music, so I have to judge them by my rational, adult mind and also I'm not keen fan of electronic music, nor find it interesting so much as others. It can be a reason too. First track i really disappointment.

Report this review (#260889)
Posted Friday, January 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This pioneering highpoint of the electronic genre will ultimately be a mixed bag for those who did not grow up with, or have had prior exposure to its vintage sound. While certainly not bad, when one ignores Phaedra's legacy and reputation the end result is a sort of psychedelic noodling, droning away in the background of the room being too abstract to enjoy taken by itself.

For those of you who exploring this band, be prepared for long, slow, tepid atmopherics with little in the way of craftsmanship or direction. The layered synthesizers of Phaedra will appeal only to the most esoteric of listeners. While most songs have their good sections (such as the hellish drone occuring at the 8 minute mark in the title track), the majority of this album feels improvised; I did not get the impression that I was listening to songs, rather the drugged-up experimentation of three guys in front of keyboards. Their tone sometimes captures one's imagination, but is mostly morose and unappealing-- even funerary at times.

Approaching this album objectively is challenging for any reviewer, given its years of high critical praise... but it's my honest opinion that it is entirely overrated. It takes a special set of ears to find much to enjoy here, and I feel that most new listeners will be better served by easing into the abstract tapestries of Tangerine Dream through more-- dare I say-- conventional prog bands, many of whom feature more thoughtful compositions and musicianship than I heard throughout Phaedra. Therefore, I proudly give Phaedra the "fans only" rating.

Report this review (#278082)
Posted Thursday, April 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a very, very, very, very atmospheric album. It could be argued in fact that it's too atmospheric for it's own good. But if you ask me, in music, you can never be TOO atmospheric.

If there is a problem with this album, it can be pretentious at times and rarely creates that deep emotion that Rubycon does. But when Phaedra works, it REALLY works, and in doing so has become one of the most influential records in the electronic department. Even with it's flaws this is still one Tangerine Dream's best records, and if you want to be introduced them, I'd recommend this as an excellent starting point.

Report this review (#278246)
Posted Friday, April 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I'm definitely far from the right person to review a Progressive Electronic album and especially a Tangerine Dream such. Still, if you liked the ratings and comments that I've been making in the past it would feel unfair of me to hold back my personal opinion of music that is outside my so called comfort zone. It is with these words that I let the first sounds of Phaedra to, once again, wash over me in all their glory!

Seeing that most of the previous reviews have covered the background story of how and why this particular release has achieved the classic status that it holds today, allow me to skip right to my views on the material itself. The title track is a dark and atmospheric piece that is dominated by a sequencer sound with underlying keyboard buildups throughout almost 2/3 of the track while the final part works as an ambient-like outro with only the synthesizer sounds keeping the flow up until the end. This composition is undoubtedly an important statement in the world of electronic music since it manages to create certain patterns and textures that manage to keep the listeners attention all thorough the 17 minutes of the the track with a well structured music pattern delivered all thought the piece. This is something that I've previously heard on the first two Klaus Schulze albums (Irrlicht and Cyborg), but while those music experiments relied on a minimalistic approach Tangerine Dream actually showed how a complete suite soaked in electronic sounds could be achieved.

Even though the title-track is a marvelous execution of an idea that has been in the works ever since the dawn of the electronica genre I'm afraid that the final product is far from being flawless. The transitions between different sections of the composition have yet not been mastered by the band since their goals obviously lay elsewhere. This is especially apparent during the 10th minute of the performance where the sequencer sounds fade out rather abruptly leaving a lot of hollow ground behind them. This is something that Tangerine Dream would perfect with the release of the two followup albums Rubycon and Ricochet.

Side two of the record is where the band pretty much said -- "We have already achieved our goals on the side one of the album and so why not just add a few experiments here in order to prolong the experience?". This is at least how I feel when listening to these 21 minutes worth of electronic music. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares is the most interesting piece out of the bunch even though it comes off sounding a lot like something that Klaus Schulze had already perfected by this stage of his career. Movements Of A Visionary is another sequencer experiment that doesn't manage to cover any new ground over the course of the mere 8 minutes and instead comes off as just a directionless jam that fades out into obscurity and never leaves a lasting impression on me. The final 2 minute Sequent C' is memorable for Peter Baumann's flute even though I actually had to read it before acknowledging the flute sounds that are incorporated here. This is definitely a filler track if I ever heard one.

It's difficult to rate Phaedra by the usual standards since it generally comes off sounding like electronica fans only release to the unexperienced ears while the indulged ones bound down into submission whenever the title is even mentioned. Technically I should consider this an excellent addition to any prog rock collection based solely on the reputation that this album has already established for itself. Still I find Phaedra to be a hard cookie to crumble, especially considering that Tangerine Dream's output would improve even more with the followup releases. Therefore it's merely a good, but non-essential piece of music that should be explored just like a trip to a museum where you get to admire the early take on the formula that we now almost take for granted.

**** star songs: Phaedra (16:48) Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares (10:45)

*** star songs: Movements Of A Visionary (7:58) Sequent C' (2:17)

Report this review (#288312)
Posted Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Phaedra is an album I've been intending to get for the past year. I've been spoiled by the ease, cost and speed of iTunes. So I'll only resort to ordering in a hard copy if I absolutely have to. I believe however, that in the case of Phaedra, the extra effort and expense has not been wasted. All the music resources I've checked name Phaedra as one of Tangerine Dream's seminal releases. It is a dark and textural listening experience like most of the other work I have heard from the same time period. It isn't devoid of life like the earlier Zeit, but I don't feel it's quite as fully assembled as their single track follow up album Rubycon.

The title track Phaedra, strongly resembles Rubycon. It obviously does a few things differently but the style is identical. The first half sounds like the more energetic parts of Rubycon, with thumping sequencers and towering synth awash with mellotron and dissonant sound protrusions. The second half resembles the last five minutes or so of Rubycon. The mellotron becomes the main attraction overlaid with outstretched synth effects. It is considerably sparser than the first half. If I may be brash, the very last minute passes from artsy to well, fartsy. It is near silence with sound of children playing barely audible. Supposedly it is part of the artistic vision, but I'm not quite sure what it has to add. It's just a personal quibble really and certainly no something which would keep me from listening to it. Phaedra is an excellent track.

The next track is the also very good: Mysterious Semblance at The Strand of Nightmares. A title I'm quite frankly a bit stumped with; no matter. This is a heavy mellotron solo modified with soaring synthesizer effects. It is a great track for anyone who loves the big sound of an analog synthesizer. There are only a few sequenced bits and a few brief breaks in the mellotron. It is ambient, and at a few instances Zeit-like in a good way and never quite so demure.

Movements of a Visionary, isn't terribly musical to begin with. It has an expansive and interesting selection of sound effects; the most interesting of which I would describe as yelled whispers. As the main rhythmic sequencer line comes in the track takes a more familiar direction. There are some excellent sequences to be had, but I actually find the scattershot introduction to be a little more ear-catching.

Sequent C is the shortest and most ambient track on the album. It is quite gentle, but still somewhat dark. There isn't so much that can really be said about it. You just have to hear it.

Phaedra is an exploratory album. There are many different sounds and textures. I think in a way it serves as a prelude to Rubycon. Tangerine Dream heard the things they liked, or were at least more interested in working with and really fleshed them out for the follow up. As a tour of the capabilities of the synthesizers of the time I feel it's essential, but as far as a whole musical work it doesn't quite match Rubycon. I give it four stars out of five. I highly recommend it, but wouldn't yell at you if you didn't have it.

Report this review (#307143)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The popularity of the work in the especially 70's might always be high in a long activity of Tangerine Dream and the announced album. Complete album in their work groups. Or, directionality to decide to some degree as construction and the prototype of the music character might have been especially established in the line of Froese-Franke-Baumann.

Flow that derives from music character that he was influenced as matter for Edger Froese to decide music character of initial Tangerine Dream and root perhaps. And, the situation in which meeting and the progressive music in an initial activity with Klaus Schulze are gradually devoted oneself. And, it proposes and the realization concerning the directionality of music by Chris Franke. These will be able to be caught as establishment and evolution concerning the music character that the group gradually did.

The music character gradually converted from the part of Rock that is the root for Edger Froese might be remarkable in the work in the especially 70's. It is clarified by the joining of above-mentioned Chris Franke and Peter Baumann.

Edger Froese made remarks on the music character of Tangerine Dream at this time. "We discovered the rhythm with the synthesizer" This remark will have been proof to understand the music character that had to be done especially before and behind the music character of this album enough.

The music character at this time of them indeed demonstrates the taste of a synthesizer and an analog sequence enough. The sequencer that evolved back became possible to express the sound of the level that almost one it. Musical instruments to introduce were main currents at the time of 1973 announced the album. theyThe ability of Mellotron is demonstrated enough and, of course, expands width to this album for the expression of the album.

In addition, musical instruments to introduce to actually make the music character at which the introduction and they of musical instruments at that time had aimed an embodiment might have had to be drawn out to its maximum. It is said that work to combine the performances by an analog sequence as some phrases was done in this album. It is a flow of a space anacatesthesia that rules the whole of the album as a result. Or, it succeeds in giving the construction of a peculiar rhythm by coming in succession of the sequence. There might be a part where it agrees with the remark of above-mentioned Edger Froese to some degree.

"Phaedra" is an album announced for the first time after Tangerin Dream transfers the register to the Virgin label. The gold record has been acquired in seven countries in the world. Or, the result in 15th place has been left for the chart in all Britain. The popularity of this great achievement and the album might be brilliant. However, often, their music characters at this time also have the opinion made for thought to be reflected a little. Therefore, it might often have given a difficult impression and the impression of the ambiguity. Of course, "Phaedra" of this album name means the woman transmitted to Greek myths. However, music to make them make it to the embodiment especially aiming might be very high-quality as the work at this time. It is a simple ambient and doesn't stay minimal. It is likely to be able to catch exactly as a synthetic music of the relation to Krautrock and the quality. At that time, the music that they had given with this album was very novel.

"Phaedra" starts by repeating of the ambient and the sequencer and constructing the rhythm. Sound of decoration with upper register in close relation to loop of rhythm that flows quietly. Or, the rhythm that the sequence gives freely changes the pitch and unites the flow enough. Sequence in close relation to melody of synthesizer of solemnity. The response and motion is used properly well and one space is created. Part where rhythm was emphasized. The repetition progresses while showing various respects. Construction and the progress of the sound in which the kaleidoscope is reminiscent might be splendid. Rhythm by operation of pitch and construction of melody. The abilities of musical instruments by the analogue are satisfactorily indeed demonstrated. It rushes into the part where the sound of nature is recollected after the rhythm by the sequence becomes interrupted. Coming in succession of sound of decoration with diversity in close relation to chaotic development. Or, Mellotron that gives a complete melody might be perfect.

As for "Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares", the melody of Mellotron and Organ gives the listener the impression of the solemnity. Characteristics of musical instruments are demonstrated and the construction of the sound piled up excludes an extra impression completely. The flow that they are made to complete the progress of almost complete melody and Chord while giving the impression of the solemnity and to progress might be good. The characteristic of all keyboards is demonstrated enough. It is decided by the obbligati that the melody and Mellotron that will give a classic impression before long give. A mysterious sequence that often appears also expands the width of the tune.

A vocal sequence moves freely in "Movements Of A Visionary". The metallic sound twines gradually as a little enchantment part and a space sound progressing at the same time. Part of sequence that gives priority to part where the upper register was considered and is repeated. Or, when the melody of the organ twines, the tune enumerates the speed. The melody of the gaga rhythm and the organ remarkably shows the directionality at which they had exactly aimed. And, it is partial of coming in succession by the sound of the decoration to demonstrate an analog characteristic enough. A chaotic flow shows various respects repeating dismantlement and restructuring. The composition for which it appeals enough to aural of the listener might be splendid.

In "Sequent C'"an ambient element by a hard melody is feature. This tune is a tune by the name of Peter Baumann. The melody with a beautiful flute gives the listener an acoustic impression. The flow constructed by making good use of the Delay effect will give the listener a mysterious sense.

Especially, it might be an album that boasts of a complete perfection in the work in the 70's that they announced. And, the listener thinks about this album and "Rubycon" as a pair.

Report this review (#307348)
Posted Saturday, October 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars With Phaedra the Krautrock is gone as well as any acoustic effort, apart some remaining flute notes from Baumann. This is probably the first TD album which totally deserves the label of "Progressive Electronic". There's much of Edgar Froese's side projects. I see a clear parallel between Phaedra and his solo work "Aqua".

This side long track lives of repetitions and changes of pitch. Like in other long TD pieces, it seems that 5 minutes is the limit over that a change in the structure is obliged. In this case the tempo is a little faster and the sound is darker. The major chords of the first 5 minutes are now minor and also the spacey noises are full of tension, specially when the tempo increases (at minute 10, of course) then suddenly stops to leave room to a psychedelic spacey section. The keyboard mood of the last minutes is dark but the spacey sensation is able to mitigate it. The only bad thing that I see in this suite is the sudden end of the keyboards part which leaves some children's voices close the track.

"Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" is an unusually structured piece. I mean that a so melodic piece is not usual for Tangerine Dream. The helicopter and the windy sound interrupt the quiet mood for a while, but this track is maybe a precursor of NewAge. Great if you are in the right mood.

"Movements of a Visionary" starts with unstructured space noises that after less than two minutes acquire a rhythm first, then a sort of electronic theme, quite similar to the one of Phaedra completes the starting phase. I have to say that I like this track more than the most famous Phaedra. It contains more things in half the time even being very similar in the structure.

"Sequent C'" is an excellent closer. Only two minutes, but very evocative.

The first totally electronic act of TD after their first psychedelic period is still one of their most acclaimed albums. Not yet a masterpiece for me but surely an excellent addition.

Report this review (#400448)
Posted Monday, February 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tangerine Dreams output from 1974-1979 has been some of the greatest music the world has ever seen, as Phaedra is an amazing starting point for the band, or any one willing to resist the conformity of music. I remember the first time I heard this album...I thought it was complete crap, just noises and odd synth generators. Since then, the music has definatly caught on to me, and it remains one of the most compeling peices of art I have ever heard. The music here is much different than the previous four albums, as it starts to include analog sequencers, mini-moogs and much more structured space music. The classic lineup of Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann created a revolutionary electronic album that speaks in ways other albums can't. It is, truely, music that melts.

1.Phaedra - The longest electronic improvision off the album, and easily a top cut. The song may seem unstructered, but it seems to have an underlieing space theme that is continuously throughout this track. I envision space ships, galaxies, far off lands, and other trippy things when I listen to this song. It manages to be cold, moody, emotional and bleak all at the same time. Froese makes great work of the new sequencers on this track, as the new and interesting rhythms seem to pop up and flow with each other. The song evolves in a very slow fashion, but thats what makes it great. Mellotron, flute, mini-moog all combined into this track make for an amazing start for the Virgin years. (10/10)

2.Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares - The most accesible of the peices. The track reminds me of an amazing beach with tidal waves flashing huge, as Tangerine Dream create an innerpeace with this track. Froese's mellotron is huge on this track, as are audio generator effects from Baumann and Franke. The song, like the title track, thats a while to evolve and progress, but it seems to always change slightly and go in a different direction. An amazing track, pure beauty sounds like this. (10/10)

3.Movements Of A Visionary - Many people might call this a low point on the album, I would have to disagree hugely. This song is amazing in my opinion, and shows the talent that this extreme keyboard trio had. The song starts with, what seems to be humanoid sounds ran through a filter of some sorts, yet it behind the darkness, comes an entrancing rhythms section and computer generated noises. What remains is one of the most exotic of all the progressive electronic genre. The sequencer has truely connected with me for some reason, and is beautiful in ever sense of the word. Froese, Franke and Baunamm create beautiful soundscapes with moog overlays, church organ flourishes and sound effects. The song is entrancing, a true masterpiece. (10/10)

4.Sequent 'C' - Probably the least challenging of all the tracks, it's a nice way to end with Baunamm's almost tribal flute overlays. It's graceful, beautiful and melodic to carry everything to an end. (9/10)

The album is one of my favourites, along with most of their Virgin discovery. The album manages to mix with bleak, spacey sounds and beautiful, emotional sounds to create some of the most unique soundscapes in the history of music. I have to give this album 5 stars for it's consistency, beauty and pure musical talent. I recommend, if you don't have, get it...NOW.

Report this review (#404042)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a fantastic album to talk about. To many listeners and reviewers it is Tangerine Dream at their best, and there is a lot of consistence to support this statement. But now, in order to perform my review, I must speak about the two things that makes me give it a total five star rating for it :

First of all, this is the fulfillment of a musical evolution that started with Alpha Centauri. At this album, space rock was firmly settled, and after that it started to be more concise, mature; until in the right moment it exploded resulting in the perfection of Phaedra. It is interesting to notice that thing did not advance in a regular way, because after the interesting and necessary to be known Alpha Centauri, Zeit and Atem were not essential albums even in a way of observing band evolution. These both are very close to Alpha Centauri, and the great improvement salt came with Phaedra.

The second and maybe better reason can be seen in the great challenge that music on Phaedra represents to our imagination. All the dreamy landscape we are able to travel through are instigated by Phaedra, it calls us to explore the best our mind is able to produce in order to get a fantastic drugless trip. This is, IMHO, some of the best music can do for us; touching deeply our emotional state or to lead us to a imaginary and comfortable world. This is something Edgar, Chris and Paul performed very well and they must be congratulated for being so good artists; mainly when they offer us a pearl like the music of Phaedra

Report this review (#415862)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Phaedra is the album that got Tangerine Dream recognized, and it should be obvious why after listening to it.

The atmosphere that Tangerine Dream is able to create on Phaedra is amazing: cold, snowy, alienated, lonely, enigmatic. The synthesized choir sounds caried by the rough wind, bleak pulsing, and sounds of possibly arctic birds echoing through the soundscape on this album. Though the tracks all have a enigmatic feel coated with spatial loneliness, the sound is very full. The mellotron is very prominent here among the other electronics, so fans of symphonic progressive rock should find much to enjoy here.There are individual tracks on this album, but the similarity in feel on the tracks make everything seem like a big suite.

If you're looking for a great starter-point for becoming a Tangerine Dream fan, this is most likely the best choice. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#438544)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Tangerine Dream underwent an incredible transformation on their move to Virgin Records, producing this classic album which heralds a new synthesiser-dominated style for them. Cold, ethereal, and ghostly throughout, Phaedra is one of the spookiest electronic albums out there, with wailing mellotrons, mysterious flute, and heavy use of sequencers creating a thick miasma from which sonic shapes emerge and fade away. The album shows some influence from ex-member Klaus Schulze's Cyborg, which was recorded some months before, but whilst Schulze preceded Tangerine Dream into these electronic realms, Tangerine Dream forge ahead into unexplored territory as soon as they enter. Another five star classic, their best since Zeit.
Report this review (#512833)
Posted Thursday, September 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There is no genre I'm familiar with for which the infamous quote "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture" by...well, whoever you believe said it (I personally like to think Zappa) holds more true for me than (progressive) electronic music. Most often, for the groups I enjoy most, all conventions of song writing and structure are thrown out in favor of sequences, textures and epic length. Tangerine Dream's music is a prime example of this sort of music. There is no chorus, no verse, no refrain...what there IS is slowly changing patterns on sequencers, textures from mellotrons, sound from Moog, organ, etc. No words here, just patterns which can practically hypnotize listeners if they allow it.

Phaedra is the first released Tangerine Dream album to follow the band's infamous "Pink years," also known as the era when they experimented with sound, made more "avant-garde" electronic music, also known as the era of the group which many think is horrible (I, on the other hand, think those four first albums to be among the strongest of the band's career). Phaedra is also the group's first on a major label, with a major label's money, so we see the group expanding their arsenal of instruments, not to mention updating their music to have a more consistently structured sound.

The music on this album and its successor, Rubycon, is still very compelling and pleasing, but for me it lacks some of the adventurous spirit of the first four albums. For me, the band peaked two albums prior to this one (the absolutely stunning Zeit), but at least the first six albums are all wonderful. Four (and a half) stars from me for this one, as it's a consistently pleasing experience to listen to.

Report this review (#531823)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
4 stars Taken as a whole 'Phaedra' is like some grand synthetic collage, a shapeless musical panorama where structure and orthodoxy have seemingly gone AWOL. And because of that I think this baffled nitwit's attempts at describing the album will ultimately be as futile as trying to describe the individual blades of grass on my garden lawn. Nevertheless...

The epic title-track was clearly inspired by Classical mythology, although it sounds as if it could as easily have come from some far-flung cosmic wasteland as from the realm of the Greek gods. Phaedra, the shameless wife of Theseus king of Athens, tried to seduce her stepson Hippolytus and then planned his destruction when he rejected her. Phaedra in turn hanged herself when her treachery was exposed. For me, the divergent branches of this desolate piece of music represent Phaedra's mental crack-up and the transmigration of her soul to the depths of Tartarus. The music is pervaded with a sense of doom and I can even hear her tormented 'voice' near the end of the piece.

While the title-track is like some long dark odyssey, the paradoxically titled 'Mysterious Semblence at the Strand of Nightmares' is full of light and peace. Edgar Froese's Mellotron saturates its atmosphere with melody while around it hover little bubbles of electronics and wind effects.

From the seeds of its eerie beginnings, 'Movements of a Visionary' grows into the most rhythm-oriented track. Tribal percussive sounds give the track its stability, and when combined with its ethereal organ it sounds like music to accompany some clandestine futuristic ritual.

After this track's dark elemental drive, the calm and mysterious 'Sequent C' has something of the quality of a frivolous dream that brings a feeling of peace and completeness to the album.

Report this review (#537661)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5, really.

The first time I heard the title track, I was sitting in the darkness, half-drowsy or just awoken, got my Windows Media Player starting the track, and I thought I was in some kind of a warm invisible haze. This is a whole another world, simply different from what's happening on Faust's debut album or Brian Eno's "Another Green World". No, it's nothing like these records. It is truly unique. This is some really aquatic, adventurous, and slightly tense stuff. And that's the opener of the album.

The next track is my personal favorite. You will be swimming in those gentle and creamy Mellotron sounds throughout the track. Every time I hear the excerpt 6:05-6:22, particularly the engrossing swoosh in 6:17-6:19, I'm in heaven. But enough of the mental hospital talk; I hope I've made my point clear to you. If you want more minimalism but in a different form, then prepare yourself (or better not) for some rich organ work lasting about less than eight minutes on 'Movements of a Visionary'. To close the deal, you will be released out of the space of musical tension with Peter Baumann's easygoing 'Sequent C'.

Ratings/comments (if you have to ask):

1. 'Phaedra' - ****

2. 'Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares' - *****

3. 'Movements of a Visionary' - ****

4. 'Sequent C' - ****

Stamp: "I like it." (Perchance it is not for most of the modern pop music-listening guys.)

Report this review (#613990)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just a few months ago I thought that the electronic prog was not meant for me: I was wrong!

Phaedra is already the fifth record of Tangerine Dream and consists of four songs. One long epic on the first side, and three shorter compositions on the second side. The titletrack starts with some echoes and shortly threreafter some bassrhythms are introduced. The music is dynamic and full of strange electronic soundeffects. Some are realy dark and others are just nice. The total effect of the first halve of this composition is hypnotic. The bassrhythms are the basis of the composition, but do change if new sound effects are introduced. One of the best soundeffects are some bassy gong soundeffects. This music is some scary experience: don''t panic! After the building up of tension the listener is shot down into space. Some "spacewhales" swim by and after this weird experience some beautifull paradise is in front of you. A great composition.

The first composition of the second side "The mysterious semblance of the strand of nightmares" may be the best track however. How do I love the sound of mellotrons. Mellotrons were not played better since the Wake of Poseidon of King Crimson. A beautifull soundscape is created with some strange timescale, but quiet slow and easeful. Some electronic sound is sometimes mixed with the mellotronsound which sounds great.

The last two composition bring forth some more material in the same trend as the titletrack, but are not as exciting. Still these tracks are quiet good. In total this record sounds like a real good addition to my collection: 4+ stars.

Report this review (#647910)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 8/10

"Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's zenit: a visionary work of art, that borrows new ideas, but focuses on creating new ones that still sound modern today.

With the Pink years behind their backs, Tangerine Dream with "Phaedra" have started not only a whole new period of their career, but also showed the world how to make Electronic music. "Phaedra" still is an exemplar album in terms of Progressive Electronic and Ambient, if it's not the band's masterpiece (perhaps considering instead "Rubycon" or even a previous album), it is in any way an album that helped shape certain forms of music that today we find all over the place.

One of the main reasons why "Phaedra" is now a classic is because of Tangerine Dream's bold and innovating insert of sequencers, thus, the album's technical qualities, including the wonderful production, are pretty modern sounding for 1974. It's still though your Tangerine Dream album that is heavily dependent from the Pink years, with abundant sonic abstractions and brave new experiments that can't be found in no other band's music.So it's not only about the new equipment: Egar Froese loves to bring back, as if it were a toy just re discovered from the attic, more primitive instruments he used in his earlier works, like the mellotron, the organ, and even a guitar. Noticeable VCS3s also fluctuate around in many moments. Altogether, using the most popular and best new insruments for Electronic music, Tangerine Dream with "Phaedra" create a well organized pack of pulses and noises, generated by some of the visionary musicians of the seventies.

Thematically, there is a big difference compared to albums like "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit" or "Atem": while these mentioned albums liked to have space as a concept stimulator, "Phaedra" focuses more on abstractions, journey into minds and into psyches, instead of distant planets and stars. Structure-wise, though, "Phaedra" will be highly familiar, especially for whoever listened to "Atem", prior to this 1974 release. Length-wise the LP is built anti- climactically, with the longest song being the first and the songs after that getting progressively shorter. It is a formula the band liked to use back in the day, no question.

The sixteen minute title track that starts the album manages somehow to not be the complete center of the whole LP: The synths are metallic bubbles that eventually evaporate into crisp, misty atmospheres, it's a masterful, versatile track that can be creepy as well as touching. "Mysterious Semblances On the Strands Of Nightmares" goes towards a more juvenile direction, with a sample of kids screaming echoing throughout, and with a shy organ keeping the mood. The creepiest episode comes after that, "Movements Of A Visionary", fluctuating echoes of sudden synth sounds that really gives a twist to this album, until it eventually cools down in the crispy atmospheres that surrounded "Phaedra". "Sequence C" is a really short track that doesn't get enough time to deliver the same things the other ones do, even though it has great promise.

"Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's zenit, even though only a small tad superior to albums like "Atem" and "Zeit", both in my opinion great classics. With the use of some familiar formulas, the band brings to the table wonderfully modern sounding sounds. Essential listening for whoever is into Electronic music and Progressive as well, due to the influence this album had given to that genre later on.

Report this review (#648671)
Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Phaedra' - Tangerine Dream (8/10)

There's little doubt nowadays that Tangerine Dream was one of the true pioneers of the now ubiquitous electronic music genre. Although I was first introduced to this band through the majestic "Rubycon", "Phaedra" was the record that really saw Tangerine Dream breaking out to a broader audience. Though I have no doubt that this is a great piece of music, I do find it surprising that this forty minute block of space-sound would have sparked any brand of mainstream attention. While not necessarily challenging to listen to and digest, Tangerine Dream's approach is incredibly ambient. Surely enough, its lax structure and meditative sound may leave listeners in the dust. Given the right mood however, Tangerine Dream delivers one of its best trips on "Phaedra".

Being a listener most accustomed to heavier forms of rock and metal, there's no doubt that Tangerine Dream's sound takes some getting used to. Unlike the myriad forms of dance and electronic music that have no doubt spawned from what they helped innovate, Tangerine Dream aims for an incredibly mellowed sound. Melody and even rhythm are left in the cold; texture is the lifeblood of "Phaedra". Best exemplified by the eighteen minute title piece, Tangerine Dream works with sounds slowly and deliberately, taking sweet time to craft and gradually shift electronic sequences. Suffice to say, if I heard this being played in an electronic club nowadays, I'd either pinch myself or be convinced I was the star of a David Lynch film.

True enough, it may sound boring in description, but Tangerine Dream makes it work beautifully, if only due to the wonderful atmosphere and depth of the textures used. Having heard this album's follow-up "Rubycon" first, I'm left with the impression that "Phaedra" is a little less experimental, or 'out there' than what would come for Tangerine Dream. Although Tangerine Dream foster a masterful use of sound and texture on "Phaedra", it does not feel quite distinguished enough from other Tangerine Dream releases for me to call it an all- encompassing masterpiece. Like much of this band's output, it only fits a certain mood for me. Some will likely see "Phaedra" as little more than sonic wallpaper, but there's a meticulous design to what Tangerine Dream has done here that keeps it interesting for many a listen. Check it out!

Report this review (#796413)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars I had a very unconventional introduction to this album and Tangerine Dream about fifteen years ago. I was in a doctors studio, about to have a laser procedure on my face performed. I was slowly waiting for the sleeping gas to take effect on me, and in my drowsy state, I noticed on a nearby bookcase a small stereo system and a pile of Tangerine Dream albums. The doctor noticed that I was looking at them, and he asked would I like to listen to one while I was drifting off. Thinking T.Dream were a blissful new-age band, I said yes and he popped `Phaedra' into the CD player. What hit me as I blacked out was very unnerving, frightening and cold alien horror - not a great way to relax in a very uncomfortable state and unfamiliar location! It wasn't until recently that I (confronted my fears?!) ventured back into the world of Tangerine Dream, so better late than never.

The music on `Phaedra' is made up of sinister and moody synthscapes and electronic drones full of depth and mysticism. The album can be divided into two very different halves. The side long title track, originally the first side of the vinyl, is dark and unsettling, to me the kind of music bad dreams are made of. The second side is comprised of more mysterious, floating and ambient pieces that have quite a different tone. Mellotron features heavily throughout the album, and is alternatively beautiful and terrifying.

Truly the music of strange alien worlds, the title track is cold and unearthly. Maddening looped beats, clinical machine-like textures, very metallic and abrasive. There's occasional warmer tones, but they're used very sparingly. Sentry like alarms bring a heightened sense of fear, harsh electronic effects maintain a dizzying sense of panic that drives you to madness. Heavily processed and monotonous bass punches through, leaving you feeling like you're out of breath. There's an unpleasant section full of eerie effects that sounds to me like tortured animals. Awful and jarring. Throughout the track, walls of ghostly Mellotron choirs try to break through. While they should sound comforting, they're really quite haunting and ominous, their darker tones becoming quite oppressive. It threatens to overwhelm the listener, before a sense of relief is brought about by a very abrupt ending. The title track is a very fragmented piece, highly fascinating, but an alarming and creeping piece of space music.

By comparison, `Mysterious Semblance at the Stand of Nightmares' is quite restrained. Immersive waves of Mellotron play a sheltering and uplifting theme, that also sounds hugely mournful and reflective. Backed by bubbling synths, the piece is slightly reminiscent of `Saucerful' era Pink Floyd. There's a much better sense of flow to this one, and it's more cohesive than the previous track. A brief but lovely aquatic soundscape outro in this one too.

`Movements of a Visionary' begins with unnerving alien chatter. Wordless, howling and hissing voices. It's soon joined by skittering glacial synths and looped trance-line beats. The track becomes a blur of phasing organ that's oddly comforting. It has a grand and majestic sound. Not unlike the more avant-garde moments of the early Floyd albums again.

`Sequent `C' is a somber flute piece, full of echo and delay, with low-key synth backing. It is a beautiful and sad piece, projecting desolation and solitude, all perfectly captured in a 2 minute piece. It very much reminds me of the loneliness and mourning sounds on the first Bass Communion album.

I've really grown to think very highly of this album, even though I prefer the slow, floating and more subtle drifting continuous pieces from Klaus Schulze and the early Adelbert von Deyen albums. Those are albums that I really connect and have huge emotional responses with. `Phaedra' is more superficially interesting to listen to, but I doesn't quite reach me as deeply as those other albums. Perhaps the title track is a little too fragmented for me, as it kind of comes across as a bunch of ideas stuck together - all good separate ideas, though - but doesn't really convince me as being a cohesive whole. But the rest of the album is full of shorter and more concise tracks, well-arranged, frequently emotional and, of course, lost in deep space.

In the end, my fascination with Tangerine Dream officially began here, and I've been looking further into their albums based on what impressed me with `Phaedra' ever since. A wonderfully abstract and immersive album.

Report this review (#815223)
Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
admireArt
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Phaedra (1974), a four track album, embodies the consolidation and scopes of Tangerine Dream´s unique musical language, in 37:35 minutes, to what became the trademark TD sound which infected mind and soul of a myriad of contemporary (and future) electronic musicians and composers with the hunger for these exact kind of sonic electronic spaces.

The same of course happened to its creators back in 1974. The album is a perfectly balanced display of controlled/experimental electronic music and a personal vision of the possibilities synthesizers offered to music composers not only experimentalists.

What is notable in this case is that in 1974 Tangerine Dream were not the first composers/musicians to use synthetizers but were one of the few to actually juice them up to build an original musical idiom, after 4 (more experimental) studio albums, beyond the use of the new flanged sounds alone or the mere fact of having enough money to buy one of this, then, monster keyboards.

So embrace this ride which will evolute (in less than one year) to masterful levels and of course, as any art style cycle, will eventually fade away, but we still are in 1974.

Few had done what Tangerine Dream did, they became a turning point in world wide electronic music´s history, for real, as far as electronic music composition goes.

****/*

Report this review (#920418)
Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's fifth album and features Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann. It was released almost 40 years ago and these men in electronic music were certainly pioneers in their art. The cover picture is blue and quite minimalistic. I was excited to explore this for me new style of electronics. Earlier I have enjoyed Kraftwerk but this was something new. With big respect for Tangerine Dream's fans and understanding that this record is regarded as very good I began listen and did it twice.

Well, I am surprised. This wasn't like anything I have heard before. But...was it good? "Phaedra" contains a lot of good material. As we all know they where pioneers in synthesizer music and keyboards of any kind. The music sounds computer made, and that was certainly incredible back in 74. But I have very hard to find the essence of this music. It shows a great musical soundscape but that's all. If it only had had a melody, then I had been pleased. I red a review that thought it was symphonic, but how I searched and tried to hear I couldn't find anything symphonic. I will absolutely continue explore electronic music, even though this wasn't enough for me.

So what others consider a masterwork I think is for fans only. But I can't like everything and what is so great with prog archives is that it contains so mnay styles and band(known and unknown) so everybody(almost) should be pleased. Of the album's four tracks I think none is better than the others, well perhaps the last and shortest one: "Sequent' C". Two stars!

Report this review (#1042411)
Posted Monday, September 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
obiter
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The quintessential Tangerine Dream experience. Purely electronic, no lyrics, a flow of interlacing sequencer arpeggios.

For the modern ear this is trance/space before it was invented by whoever it is in the 90s has claimed credit for it.

What to do while getting in the mood for this (not in the Glenn Miller or Rush sense): hug kittens and trees and lie outside watching the stars wheel in the sky. I reckon this album is another one for the isolation tank and incense.

Despite some of the sound effects I am reliably informed that no puppies were strangled during the last third of the title track.

Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares reminds me of a few dodgy sci-fi movies where we are meant to be overawed by the passing of some mammoth inter-stellar space craft (or backing the animation of a dying star/decaying planet's orbit: may sound weird but you'll get it if you listen to it). I'm shallow I was suitably awestruck.

Movements of a Visionary has some of those bubbly effects that are the meat and drink of hardened Ozrics fans. I love this but, I'm always yearning for Ed Wynne to take it to the next level.

Sequent C is simply haunting.

Given a choice between Phaedra and Rubycon I'd take Phaedra every time but that's just me. I feel Rubycon is essential and this masterpiece is an excellent addition to any prog collection. But like I say: I'd pick this every time.

Report this review (#1064837)
Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Modrigue
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Electronic shamanism

4.5 stars

First studio TANGERINE DREAM album with the Virgin label, "Phaedra" is one the most innovative and important records in the history of electronic music. For the band, it marks the first important use of sequencers, and the beginning of the "golden" years. At this period, the result was ground-breaking and resembled no other disc, even TD's previous albums. Ahead of its time, featuring various atmospheres, the music can be described as meditative and hypnotic, with passages somehow pre-dating trance.

The reason of this major evolution is that Christopher Franke took the opportunity to buy a big moog modular synthesizer, whose former owner was ROLLING STONES' singer Mick Jagger, who didn't know what to do with it. This type of machinery was very complex back then, the band had to learn how to exploit it properly. "Pheadra" adopts the same structure as on the previous opus, "Atem": the 20 minutes title track as the opener, followed by three other shorter compositions. However, just one year after, there is a large gap between the two albums. In fact, this transition period was not sudden, as it included the aborted project "Green Desert" (composed without Baumann and finally reworked in 1986) and especially Froese's first solo effort "Aqua". Nonetheless, you can still perceive the shadow of the Germans' cosmic years... The title track is a dark long trip into the mind. Its spacey liquid intro unveils the first true electronic sequence in TANGERINE DREAM's musical universe. These fast pulsating loops alternate oppressive and suffocating ambiances with smoother and relaxing passages. This part does not feature many variations and is a little repetitive. Then strange birds sounds appear, like those of the beginning of PINK FLOYD's "Echoes Part 2", but different. The final contemplative POPOL VUH-esque part is great and has reminiscences with their recent "kosmische musik" years.

Despite its title, "Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" is not really nightmarish nor frightening. Composed and played by Edgar Froese, this airy slow piece is driven by the mellotron. Contrarily to their previous somber or mysterious tracks, the atmosphere is rather soothing and delicate. "Movements Of A Visionary" is one of the most over-spacey music ever. The electronic sequence and synthesizer layers evoke a cosmic meditative whirling dervishes trance. Mind-blowing! My favourite passage of the record. The disc concludes with the short "Sequent C'", a pretty flute composition by Peter Baumann, evanescent in the universe...

Half "kosmische" and half electronic, half sequenced and half melodic, "Phaedra" is rather unique in TD's discography. The various ambiances forge its personalty. The mixture of sonorities make the result sounds not too dated, the disc ages quite well. The quality is also constant, my only reproach would be that the first part of the title track contains lengthy passages. This album is much more accessible than the previous ones, however I'm not sure to recommend it to TANGERINE DREAM newcomers, as the music is still a bit dark.

1974 was definitely an important year in the development of electronic music. The few other artists to use sequencers at the same period were KRAFTWERK with "Autobahn", and CLUSTER with "Zuckerzeit", however in a different style.

An essential listen for all electronic music lovers. Mesmerizing...

Report this review (#1553098)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the TD classics

While not as good as Rubycon, this is definitely one of Tangerine Dream's classic albums. Recorded during the time when the mellotron was still one of their prime instruments, and before they discovered drum machines, it has a similar feel to Rubycon and their other mid-70s albums. TD was always best when conjuring up new sonic landscapes that jump over the regular limitations of time signatures and key signatures, while still using early sequencers to set out some constant rhythm's that provide order and balance to the music. While Phaedra is often lauded as their pinnacle, my own opinion is that on this album they did not explore the possibilities of the sounds they conjure up to their fullest extent here, and rely a bit too much on constant chordal structures. Saying this, it is probably their second- or third-best album. I give this 8.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to low 4 PA stars.

Report this review (#1703427)
Posted Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like a snow cyborg, cold and robotic: 8/10

I'll be honest: I never liked electronic music. I have always associated it, on its entirety, to EDM - almost like bigotry -, which in turn alienated me from exploring it further. It was a shocker to discover how old and prolific electronic music is, not to mention the fact that - behold! - EDM isn't electronic music's only branch, let alone its most influential (at least on evolutionary terms). This review, then, is from the mind of a layman first introduced to this.

The first thing I noticed as I discovered TANGERINE DREAM is how groundbreaking their music was for their time. I wasn't surprised, especially after listening. I assume that, especially on their epoch, this unconventional stuff was an eerie sight. There are no riffs, no sections, no structure. This makes PHAEDRA entirely cold, robotic, experimentative; a lifeless tool. I don't see this as a problem though, because electricity is by default lifeless, and electronic music's proposition has never been to create "impacting, heartfelt melodies". However, it's not "artless" rabble like EDM. PHAEDRA has a purpose, originality, it has no life just like EDM but it's not a repetitive, meaningless bunch of artificial noises put together to make people mindlessly dance to.

PHAEDRA, generally, is cold and rather indifferent. As I said, it's experimentative, and it bases itself mostly on central "melodic pieces" (consider this a synonym of "proto-riff") sprinkled with countless effects. I'll go more specific on each track down below.

Phaedra sounds "futuristic", rushed, nervous and even dark. Look at the album cover: it is a mysterious, abstract object. Just like Phaedra's sound. It feels distant, in distraught, "uncertain". I imagined a foggy, snowy and dense forest as I listened to this. This rather creepy imagery doesn't make the song uninteresting or aversive, au contrair, it's an attraction. The first part features an up-tempo bass-y keyboard arpeggio (that consists the "melodic piece") whose limelight is often stolen by countless different electronic effects that overlap it. The second part is chilly, as if you just entered a huge, dimly lit cathedral, and you can hear the environment's quietude, the immensity's silent ambience. There is also this weird effect that sounds like a dog's high-pitched whine. Highly anxious and intense, it's a definitely interesting song.

Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmare is symphonic and immersive. Whatever is the disturbance that made Phaedra so uneasy has been deal with, and now things are calmer. While it sounds cozier, like a choral, I enjoyed better the previous track's constant intervention of effects that broke the sound's stillness. It made it more dynamic. I also find the title rather ironic, considering the ominous image brought is not fitting for the track. "Choir of Angels In An Empty Forest", at least as I see it, kind of is.

Movements Of A Visionary focus most of its three first minutes on distorted rattling effects that sounds more often than not like a sack of pearls being stirred, chirping insects on a dense jungle, a maddened xylophone, and a locomotive's movement. The second part swaps to a more "conventional" sonority, abandoning part. It features a sweet duet of Phaedra's first section's arpeggio and a hymnal organ (shyly present in the first section). I like to imagine this section as a crystalline, translucent composition crafted on a sparkling ice castle under a boreal night. t breaks the album's hitherto electronic experimentation approach, sounding more like musical logic. Its variated, melodic and immersive experimentation convinced me to adopt it as my favorite track from the album.

Sequent C''s , for me, is in-between synthesized Japanese-esque flutes and electronic violin. It's enigmatic, meditative, faraway. I think it's too short though, it had potential on becoming something interesting.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this experience. I wasn't expecting it to be nearly as pleasing as it was, considering my - now extinct - prejudice for electronic music. I believe this is a great introduction for laypeople. Important to note is that PHAEDRA's frostiness might be harsh to embrace, so more than a single listen will be necessary. Afterwards, it'll not feel warmer, but you'll learn to enjoy the cold.

Report this review (#1741431)
Posted Thursday, July 6, 2017 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 1. "Phaedra" (16:48) if ever there was a perfect electronica companion to Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey," this would be it. Eerie and spacey and forlorn yet powered by the human spirit of hope and adventure, TD put something together here that transcends just listening: this is music is suggestive of worlds and sensual experiences beyond normal imagination--or rather, this music enhances the capacity of imagination. Thought the driving sequences change and shift often throughout the course of "Phaedra" the pace is fairly consistent and insistent; there is no let up on the course into infinity--at least, that is, until 10:20, when it appears that we are waylaid by reaching the Void. (And people express their distaste for Genesis' "The Waiting Room"! This must have really irked them!) Luckily, an angelic force appears two minutes later to rescue us and push away the Faeiries of Kaos. Yet, these angels are not from Heaven, but from the Tao! They're here to tell us that beyond the illusory worlds of space and time there exists the potentiality and reality of Anything and Everything and Nothing! Nice song. (9.5/10)

2. "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" (10:46) opens with what sound like distant street noises as if heard through the bedroom window from a high rise apartment in the middle of a hot, windless summer night. Synth organ enters in a eerie, vampire movie soundtrack kind of way (though also exceedingly close to Tony Banks' intro to "Watcher in the Skies"). The organth floats slowly around the aural soundscape (panning) as flanging and sequenced riffs and synthesized wind noises flit in and around the soundscape. Very somber and depressing. In the sixth minutes signs of life appear in the form of bouncy synths chords and organ arpeggi while the somber organth continues its parade of death through the city streets. Flitting wind gusts (or are they bats?) seem to occasionally join ole Drac as he looks for his latest victim (the humanized chords just before the last minute?) Genius. (9/10)

3. "Movements of a Visionary" (7:58) opens with experimental sounds that seem unnatural without the contributions of electricity. At the end of the second minute a mallet-like sound creates a fast-paced sequence over which organ soon joins. Electric piano later is added while the sequence shifts down an octave or two. (8.5/10) 4. "Sequence in 'C'" (2:17) is peaceful and serene as layers of "wooden flutes" create a pleasant, floating canopy of sheets blowing in the wind. (5/5)

An historic achievement in music and a masterpiece of its genre.

Report this review (#1909452)
Posted Monday, March 26, 2018 | Review Permalink
Tapfret
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Eclectic/PSIKE/JRF-Cant Teams
4 stars A little background: This is another in the "Invisible Touch" series of reviews. No, not because of the eponymous Genesis album (though it was one of the reviews) but because of the accidental contact on a touch screen of the "quick rating" feature. I have accepted the accidents as challenges in the past and attached reviews to the ratings, but have admittedly procrastinated on this one. And that is due to my rather recent (within the last 5 years of the date of this review) dive into the world of Kosmische Music.

My understanding of this niche of the progressive music world was for many years limited to Kraftwerk's Autobahn. Many years later I attempted to expand that by adding The Man Machine. This did not go well. It was not until I happened upon a second hand copy of Stratosphere that I truly embraced electronic music. It was not long after that I sought the remainder of Tangerine Dream's Virgin era and earlier albums. Phaedra being the original Virgin album is somewhat of a transition from the astral/ambient spaciousness of Zeit and Atem, to the more orchestral synthesis approach of the following 3 albums. The commonality in all these albums is that as a listener I was required to take a more passive listening approach in relation to the technical listening that I was used to. And that was a good thing. I have seen descriptions like "slow moving" or complaints that it was "difficult to find the essence of the music". It occurred to me that there is something here that is not to be sought out, but to just be passively immersive with. In that regard I have found in Phaedra a sort of music that I was able to relax with in a way that even with the softest symphonic or acoustic music I could not. There is something so transcendent about the arpeggiated sequence in the title track that clears my mind of the sediment of the day, even as that arpeggio is eerily modulated upward in chromatic steps. And while this is something I will frequently use to lull myself to sleep (oh, that is definitely a good thing), it also has enough use of overlays of Mellotron, organ swells and sound effects to be interesting during those waking hours.

I am sure there are many out there that would consider these sounds to be dated and lose their allure in antiquity. Count me amongst those that find the warmth of these analog instruments to be very appealing. I used to scoff at the idea that there was something deeper in the sound of classic synthesis, making the argument that modern sampling could duplicate anything. That is just not the case. And the art of turning these complex analog machines into progenitors of the ethereal is a true art form. And Phaedra, while not the pinnacle of that creativity, is certainly a step in that direction.

Report this review (#1934696)
Posted Monday, May 28, 2018 | Review Permalink
TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars To me, the best way to listen to this album (and many of the best electronic albums) is when you are not in a hurry, you can empty out everything in your head and you close your eyes and let your mind take you on a journey which is influenced by the music you are listening to. It's like a mental piece of art that your mind is creating and it will be a different experience for everyone that listens because your mind travels to places based on your experiences, no matter how far out there they may be. It is a great experience when you really listen and let your mind go with it.

From the other reviews on this album, it seems like a lot of people do this, and then describe what they felt or experienced. When I read some of them, I think, wow that is a completely different interpretation than what I had of that piece of music. But that is the beauty of it, everyone sees and hears things differently. In reality, electronic music is just sounds made by an artist by manipulating a machine, computer or instrument and sometimes a combination of these. An expert musician knows how to get the sounds and tones out of that machine in the best way possible. Sometimes they are trying to make a specific feeling and other times it is just improvisation. This may make it sound like electronic music is something that anyone could do, but this is far from the case. I have heard much electronic music that sounds completely amateur and just plain bad, and I have heard a lot of it that is beautiful, flowing, harsh or whatever, and it sounds like it is done by a capable artist.

No doubt about the fact that Tangerine Dream's performers are artists, especially on this album. Sounds swirl, cascade, float and drop into the picture with hardly any warning. To a casual listener, there may not be a lot of forward movement or progression in the sound, sometimes even from one track to another. That is why this music demands to be heard by being listened to. Yes it works well for background music for studying or whatever, but it's best use is by really listening to it. You can hear melodies that come to the foreground which to a casual listener may not seem apparent. You hear sounds that create pictures in your mind, repetitive sequences or loops or just random sounds and movement. These work together to paint pictures and moods, albeit mental, but there all the same.

Many people say that this represents a change of sound for TD, and a lot of this is probably because this is the first time the artists featured what would become their sequence driven sound and would also have more structure as a result. Instead of having a more random direction, the music starts to move forward with a purpose. The first track is the 17 minute long title track which is based on an improvisation that was recorded by the band earlier. For a large part, this track is improvisation with direction. Some of the changes in the sound came about by accident through the recording of the piece because of flaws with the musical equipment, but it ended up giving the sound more structure and direction. These flaws would later be used to the artists benefit. This is mostly a free flowing track that has many changes throughout that may be only perceptible by really listening. There are places were rhythm is introduced and then taken away again. You will hear bass in this track and throughout the album which is also done electronically through a Moog Sequencer. Apparently this instrument was very hard to tune and they spent many hours just to get a few minutes of bass sequence.

The 2nd track is "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" and was created only by Edgar and his wife. It was done in one take on the Mellotron. In it, you can hear some semblance of melodies come in and out of the picture and there are many other pleasant sounds and sequences that were all created in that one take. Quite an amazing piece of work for something done without editing. Edgar says this is exactly as it sounded when he played it in the studio the first time. Next is "Movements of a Visionary" which starts out with a series of eerie sounding noises and continues like that for a few minutes. Rhythm is finally introduced and a melody line comes in with a nice organ sound. There really is nothing melodic about it except for the organ which never really picks up a theme, yet sounds melodic anyway. This is mixed in with the rest of the sounds so that you may not pick it out if just casually listening. The last track is a short ambient piece.

Overall, this is a very amazing listening experience. Also, TD was using new equipment at the time unlike anything out there. This was the main driver along with word of mouth, that made this album so successful, even without any radio airplay. It still stands as an essential and historical recording as it will pave the way for electronic music's future. The sound created here appealed to the public back in the day, and even today you can listen to it even without mind altering chemicals in your system and still be taken away by it. This is definitely an essential masterpiece of an album especially when it comes to progressive electronic music and is also on the list of 1001 albums to listen to before you die. It stands up there with the rest of the most influential progressive albums in history and rightfully so. This is why it gets a five star rating.

Report this review (#1935859)
Posted Thursday, May 31, 2018 | Review Permalink
VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Review Nº 333

Tangerine Dream is unquestionably one of the most influential electronic groups of all time, probably the best of all. Their music has made an immeasurable impact on ambient, new age, techno, trance, and progressive rock, as well as modern film score composition. Founded as a psychedelic rock group in 1967 by Edgar Froese, the group was initially associated with the Krautrock scene through early abstract albums, 1970's 'Electronic Meditation', 1971's 'Alpha Centauri', 1972's 'Zeit' and 1973's 'Atem'. Those albums belong of what is usually called 'The Pink Years'.They pioneered the use of sequencers and synthesizers and was only from 1974 that the classic albums appear like their greatest masterpieces, 1974's, 'Phaedra' and 1975's 'Rubycon' and 'Ricochet', which proved to be commercially successful. They became also prolific film composers. Subsequent albums in the 80's incorporated more digital instrumentation, as well as shorter, more pop oriented compositions than their earlier epics. During the 90's, with some albums they were closer to the forms of dance music that Tangerine Dream has heavily influenced. During the 21st century, the band gradually drifted back toward the sequencer driven sound they had pioneered during the 70's. Tangerine Dream is still active today having released almost 100 studio albums in their lengthy and very prolific career.

So, it was with Tangerine Dream's debut for Virgin is rightfully and deservedly regarded as one of their definitive classics, which everything really began to the band. 'Phaedra' is one of the most important, artistic, and exciting works in the history of the electronic music, a brilliant and compelling summation of Tangerine Dream's early avant- space direction balanced with the synthesizer/sequencer technology just beginning to gain a foothold in non academic circles. 'Phaedra' showed not only that the band's set of equipment obviously had grown a lot bigger and more expensive since their early days, but also that their musical expression had evolved and progressed without losing any of the depth and mysticism of their best works in their first phase. The most noticeable new feature in their sound was the inclusion of complex, sequenced electronic rhythm patterns that slowly evolved and changed shape underneath the atmospheric sounds of Moogs, Mellotrons, flute and lots of various electronic equipments massively used in the future.

'Phaedra' has only four tracks, but all I wrote before came into full bloom on the 17 minute title track that would set a whole new standard for the Tangerine Dream's sound. The minimalism of their first albums was pretty much gone, as the sequenced rhythms provided the band with a rich and fat sound stuffed to the rim with mystical and delightful atmospheres. Given focus by the arpeggiated trance that drifts in and out of the mix, the track progresses through several passages including a few surprisingly melodic keyboard lines and an assortment of eerie Moog and Mellotron effects, gaseous explosions, and windy sirens. Despite the impending chaos, the track sounds more like a carefully composed classical work than an unrestrained piece of noise. The climax of the track comes surprisingly enough after the sequencer has stopped, and makes room for a sinister and incredibly moody part filled with Mellotron, gongs and haunting electronic sounds, building up some of the most fantastic atmospheres ever created by humans. And to add to the feel of beyond and mystery, some distant and faint sounds of children playing can be heard several seconds after the track has ended. It's really an amazing track that would become a standard track in the next future of their music.

While the title track takes the cake, there are three other excellent tracks on 'Phaedra'. The second side opens with the nearly 10 minute 'Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares' that reportedly was a pure solo number by Froese. It consists almost entirely of grandiose washes of Mellotrons, but also some spacey electronic sounds. The opening of 'Movements Of A Visionary' seems to improve the voice experiments from their previous album 'Atem'. The rest of the track consists of a warm and comforting organ improvising around the sequenced rhythms that now was one of the band's main trademarks. It's a more experimental piece, using treated voices and whispers to drive its hypnotic arpeggios. The brief piece 'Sequent C'' closes the album in a moody way, a piece of ethereal, floating beauty.

Conclusion: 'Phaedra' is often regarded as a groundbreaking album that was shaped by an experimental sound, with structured sound sequences that present themselves to the listener in an atmosphere space like manner. 'Phaedra' leads in monotone electronics at the beginning directly into the wide world of the universe and knows how to create a monotone trance in cosmically designed sound surfaces. In the further course, the cool unapproachability of the electronics unites with organic looking mellotron inserts, which is accompanied by more rhythmic sound elements. The way into unexplored galaxies is, thus, effectively relaxed. Perhaps even more powerful as a musical landmark now than when it was recorded. 'Phaedra' has proven the test of time. The 70's was a time of music taste and intelligence, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2378026)
Posted Thursday, May 7, 2020 | Review Permalink

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