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Tangerine Dream - Tangram CD (album) cover

TANGRAM

Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic


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Chris S
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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Great news!!! Tangerine Dream now added to Prog Archives. It had to be, they could in no way be dismissed for their contribution to this genre and Electronica of course. Tangram for me is the absolute summit musically of TD music. Released in 1980 and consists of two parts simply named Tangram part one and two. Both parts are stunning in terms of composition. There is a fine balance between synth and guitar work. OK Peter Baumann was no longer with them but so what the album with Johannes Schmoeling on perhaps upped the divsersity and tempo. The synth moments are crystal clear the melodies are definitely halucinogenic. No chemicals needed to trip on Tangram. There are the usual ' train' effects but as an album standing out on it's own it definitely qualifies for a five star rating. There were other TD albums as good but Tangram marked their peak from a creative standpoint.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#32528)
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Think 'electronic tubular bells' and you won't be far a good description of the music on this album.'Set 1' is as profound and beautifull a peice of music as you will ever hear.It represents a life story from birth to death.The synths are a joy,full of warmth and grace.The everchanging melodies and rhthyms are stunning.Sorry for all the hypberbola but I love this record to death!' 'Set2' is not quite as immediate in it's impact but there is still much to enjoy.One of TD's best and definetly worthy of the term 'masterpeice'.Glorious!

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#32529)
Posted Wednesday, August 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
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Prog Folk
4 stars I will still give this album four star , but this is the start of a downfall. If up to now Td had managed an artistic integrity by making constantly renewing music , constantly researching new waus to find sounds and music from synths , and not be afraid to make "faux pas" . In this album there are hints that the inspiration is waning ever so slowly , that maybe that they might have said everything they had to say. Don't get me wrong , this is a fine album from them but it sounds déjŕ-entendu and one slowly realizes that they established a formula ( or cooking recipe) over the years refining it over the succeeding albums but here they are just merely applying it a little inspiration-less. Still much worth a spin, though but the start of downhill trend.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#32530)
Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
Watcheroftheskies
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Some clips from the first track can be heard in the movie "Risky Business" with Tom Cruise. This is a good album but if you want to start off a TD collection this is not the album to get you are better off with Phaedra, which breaks more frontiers than this one does. There is something different about each album and this one sounds almost like asian music in certain places. However, it almost sounds commercial in a way. Not that everything commercial is bad mind you, but when the music starts to lose it's ingenuity you run into the dilemma that while the music is good, it is missing something. In fact that's the problem, it is missing something that the earlier attempts by them had. I like this album, it makes it off my CD shelf occasionally. However, Phaedra, Rubycon, and the "Pink Years" albums make it into the ol' cd player alot more. If you are just buying albums from them, wait to get this one. It's worth having, but not worth having right away. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Watcheroftheskies (BETA) | Report this review (#32531)
Posted Monday, September 06, 2004 | Review Permalink
Peter
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In 1980, at the dawn of a new decade, and with a new lineup, Tangerine Dream pumped out more freaky fuel for intrepid inner-space explorers, in the form of TANGRAM. Long-term member Peter Baumann had departed, and been replaced by Johannes Schmoelling, who fit in well with Edgar Froese and Chris Franke, and made the transition painless and almost undetectable for this longstanding fan.

This is one of the trio's better 80s efforts, beyond a doubt. As befitted the new era, the band's sound was somewhat updated, clear, and fresh, but retained more than enough of the old mystic magic to please their devoted followers. All of the essential TD elements, from gently drifting spacey parts, to more rhythmic sequences and almost frightening sections, can be found here, along with an increased focus on melody (which would only grow in the years to come). This manifest desire to augment the beauty of the music may not have met with universal approval, but -- for me, at least -- it contributed to the group's overall depth, and breadth of appeal.

The shorter, upbeat, almost danceable numbers that were to come, had yet to surface at this stage -- the disc is composed of two "side long" suites. "Tangram Set 1," in classic TD fashion, draws upon a rich and varied palette of tones and emotions, and the diverse sections of this musical "mind puzzle" flow and meld smoothly together in a unified whole. "Tangram Set 2," despite its similar title, is thematically independent, yet, for my money, every bit as interesting and good as its forerunner.

This engaging electronica, as with all of TD's extensive oeuvre, is not suited to all tastes. Still, for those who occasionally enjoy music that soothes, and invites flights of fancy (rather than bludgeoning the listener into submission with rapid-fire, grandstanding riffage), TANGRAM can provide an ideal aural ambiance for pleasurable pursuits from reading to reverie, romancing and reposing. A must for the committed Tangerine Dreamer!

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Send comments to Peter (BETA) | Report this review (#32533)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After the wonderful "Force Majeure" album, new member Johanness Schmoelling has been added and his strong modern influence will remain until 1985. He completely redefined the Tangerine Dream sound, especially the rythmic section, now marked by powerful streams of sustained keyboards. Tangram is a major Tangerine Dream album: Until Le Parc, albums will follow the modern and sequenced sounds paced by Tangram. First of all, Tangram is EXTREMELY electronic, very artificial, as revealed by an ultimate helium-boosted sound. Froese's electric guitar amazingly merges with the keyboards: indeed the guitar almost sounds like a synthesizer. The involved styles are electronic rock and New Age. The melodic beat sequencers enhance the already highly dynamic ambience of the floating and melodic keyboards. Characterized by many floating & powerful keyboards arrangements, the overall sound is often scary, not because the effects are extremely dark, but rather because the nervous over-saturated sound is hard to take, especially when you listen it loud. The latter bit of side 2 sounds like the Who's "Won't get fooled again"! If you like this record, then their record Pergamon partly contains an outstanding live performance of Tangram.

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#32534)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Philo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Tangerine Dream enter the eighties with a sound that would be a taste of things to come while still retaining a few traits of past work. Tangram, featuring newcomer Johanness Schmoelling, has always been one of the most viable of all Tangerine Dream albums, and certainly the most well played in my collection. The lines and swooping sounds are drawn together around a swath or dark ambient and progressive symphonic musings, and while the band are employing more electronic synthesizers here than previous there are also some lush, melancholic and some sympathetic acoustic and electric guitar parts throughout the album making a subtle juxtaposition between the new and the old, although the emphasis is most definitely on a continuing progression. Tangram has an acquired taste even for many Tangerine Dreams fans, but it is quickly addictive and a staple of their eighties albums.

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Send comments to Philo (BETA) | Report this review (#37185)
Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars SUBLIME!

Who would say the first album you listen of a band will be a MASTERPIECE, like this, i had luck. Tangran is part of a succession of great and wonderfull albums (Cyclone, Force Majeure,etc) you can include some of the 70s too. It has a wonderfull growing and evolucion, that makes a atmosphere absolutly progressive.

Franke, Froese, Schmoelling a new line up for that time, that made a exelent debut album (of that line-up), great convination of keybords and synthesizers, incluing the bass and guitar of Edgar, and a very well done percussion by Christopher.

I surelly recomend this album to listeners of Pink Floyd or space rock lovers, is a MUST for listeners of any tipe of electronic music,Tangerinde Dream are the fathers of this Genre.

A masterpiece!

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Send comments to Corporal Cleeg (BETA) | Report this review (#112937)
Posted Tuesday, February 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Neu!mann
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This was the album that prompted many longtime fans (myself included) to jump ship when it first appeared in 1980, overreacting perhaps to a fresh new sound from a band trying hard to adjust their music to fit a rapidly changing market. All ancient history now, but I was curious: given a chance to hear the album again for the first time in more than 25 years, how well would it stand up to a quarter century of hindsight?

Better than expected, actually, and it even improves with subsequent playing. Of course the shock of hearing genuine melodies from a group previously known for their album-length improvisations has long since worn off, but in retrospect the new approach shouldn't have been much of a surprise. The band's early, influential years had already ended with the departure of PETER BAUMANN in 1977, and their next two albums (the controversial "Cyclone" and the aptly titled "Force Majeure", both featuring an actual flesh-and-blood drummer and the former adding a vocalist as well) paved a clear path toward the more earthbound explorations of the reconfigured 1980s trio.

At least the new album marked a welcome return to strictly electronic instrumentation (no more drummers, thank you very much), and despite its more user-friendly, episodic structure is still arranged in two long suites, each one filling an entire side of the original vinyl. On the other hand, there's little sense of the otherworldly mystery or majesty that made their embryonic efforts so uncanny. The music here, pleasant as it is, sounds instead not dissimilar to any other synthesizer band of the same era, with the platinum- selling albums by JEAN-MICHEL JARRE ("Oxygene", "Equinoxe") looming large as an obvious influence.

The more atmospheric (and minor key) interludes work best, like the section beginning 12-minutes into "Set One" when newcomer Johannes Schmoelling sits back and allows old pros Edgar Froese and Chris Franke to fire up the sequencers and work their magic for several exhilarating, rhythmic minutes. Likewise evocative is the latter half of "Set Two", in particular the atonal collage near the end of the track, briefly recalling the discordant choirs of Gyorgy Ligeti on the soundtrack of Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi classic "2001: A Space Odyssey".

At its best, you might say the album succeeded in meeting the dumbed-down commercial demands of the new decade head on, with some occasionally gutsy and at times even muscular new music. But at its worst the same music often comes across (especially today) as somewhat trite and superficial, reflecting a once state-of-the-art but now all too dated electronic aesthetic.

Either way its a valuable artifact, offering a fascinating portrait of a pioneering band in transition, taking uncertain aim at the more mainstream musical targets that would (sadly, to some) define just about every Tangerine Dream album for decades to come.

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Send comments to Neu!mann (BETA) | Report this review (#122918)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tangram is the only Electronic album i own at the moment, and if it weren't for the fact that most earlier Tangerine Dream albums are rated so much higher, there is a chance that it would be one of the last as well.

It's not a bad album at all, and i do believe that it is a great starting point for many newcomers to the genre, there is just something very unsatisfying in the way it is structured. It begins right away with some noce melodies, and then there are various sections with very varied sound, and this is where my problem lies. There is, in my mind, no real reason why it sould be "one song in two parts" rather than simply several separate songs, as on any other regular album. I can't really compare the quality of the music with other TD releases, as this is the first i've heard, but while there are certain sections which are exactly what i would want from the electronic prog genre, such as the opening, it is a little too disjointed for me to warrant it more than 3 stars, especially since it i so obvious that these fellows can do so much better. I don't even mind the geeky 80's sound, as i am an avid player of old 80's video games, it's just that there is too little aim, and for me, aim is very important for such a sterile sounding record.

So while i have faith in the german trio (or whatever they were on the earlier albums), i really can't see Tangram as anything more than a starting point, and maybe some easy ambient listening some lonely night in from of the computer screen.

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Send comments to Evans (BETA) | Report this review (#126261)
Posted Monday, June 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars CLIMAX OF ELECTRONIC MUSIC!

First of all, I must admit I find very hard to post a review on this album! The music from Tangram can be only heard and heard again, but difficult to discuss. I think Tangram is the most progressive TD album, after Force Majeure. This is the first Froese, Franke, Schmoelling line-up album and this means the peak of their composition in music. Not if it would be still Peter Baumann instead of Schmoelling, I think it would have been the same thing. Great, great and astonishing sound overall! It's a normal evolution after a multitude of great progressive electronic albums like Phaedra, Rubycon, Stratosfear , Cyclone and Force majeure. The digital synth era is here at the beginning, nevertheless, IMO, the most beautiful electronic albums are made on analog synths. I guess this album was still on analog synthesisers, mostly the accuracy of sound proves that... But, back to the album... How can I describe the music from Tangram? It transcends your inner state of mind, it leads you to far galaxies, you become the perfect voyager through time and space during 40 minutes, divided into two parts:Tangram Set 1 and Tangram Set 2. From the first second, the music keeps going on in a perfect harmony. The atmospheric and lush keyboards sounds mixed with Froese's electric guitar are sublime. Every musical theme turns into another, as you almost realize... The last 10 minutes of Set 1...the steps echoes and what it follows after it's amazing! T Set 2 is more spacey and cosmic. First 5 minutes is purely atmospheric and space music. Than everything turns into a melodramatic situation, the electronic background beat (I guess Franke's responsibility) is perfectly mixed with Froese's electric guitar. The last 10 minutes transposes the listener into ethereal and cosmic void; synthesiser voice effects and noises culminating into a final passage...the perfect end IMO. Highly emotional. I remembered myself listening to this album on nights putting on my headphones, and never wanted to put them back again!

This album does not fit to a Sc-Fi movie or scientific documentary, because it's very, very intense and recommended only for an individual hearing, a true one. I would recommend it to every visionnaire and dreamer who enjoy cosmic landscapes and the multitude of stars from a midnight sky. Sit down and enjoy!

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Send comments to Sachis (BETA) | Report this review (#167838)
Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A major regression from the brilliance of their previous two albums. 'Tangram' is still strong, but it sits on the cusp of electronica and space-rock, neither one nor the other. Two side-long tracks is a long journey to make, and there are far too few moments to make that journey worthwhile.

Of the two sets, I prefer Set 2 myself, but most others prefer Set 1. In the end it hardly matters: these tracks don't have the strong personalities their 1978 and 1979 records did, and lack the energy and drama I'd expect from 1980. It wouldn't have surprised me to learn this was actually recorded in 1976, so retrogressive does it sound. From a wildly experimental band this is a very middle of the road release, with hints of what went before and what was to come.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#168369)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This would be new member Johannes Schmoelling's first studio album with the band. I must admit i'm torn with my rating here.There is so much I like about it including the guitar and mellotron, but I also get this disatisfied feeling over what sounds like a commercial flavour that they have brought in. I will keep listening to this until I feel i've made the right choice though. 3.5 stars is where I will rate it for now. This album is made up of two side long suites.

"Tangram Set 1" certainly changes and evolves more than the second song.That's one thing that I don't like about it. Moog and other synths lead the way early in this tasteful and laid back section. Keys and a fuller sound arrives after 3 1/2 minutes. Percussion before 5 minutes is brief then we get some guitar 6 minutes in. It settles after 7 1/2 minutes. Cool section. Piano 9 minutes in with what sounds like strummed guitar followed by synths. Percussion 11 minutes in.The tempo picks up after 13 minutes as moog and synths take over. It settles after 17 1/2 minutes. Lots of rhythm to to this first song.

"Tangram Set 2" is quite spacey as synths build. A change 3 1/2 minutes in as we get a beat with other sounds coming and going. Mellotron after 5 minutes. Moog stops before 10 1/2 minutes as it turns spacey. The beat is back a couple of minutes later. A change after 16 minutes as it calms down with mellotron. Synths end it.

The jury is still out but I will return if I feel I need to change the rating.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#203802)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars TD entered the eighties with a wonderful and totally seventies oriented album (according their style of course).

One could have expected the worse while the band entered the new decade (electro beats, synthetic vocals etc.) but there is nothing as such here.

''Tangram'' is a complete delight from start to finish. The magic operates again and these two parts are just great. TD reverts to a more ''classic'' sound and offers those brilliant and sidereal moments we all know and love.

This is music from another planet, but some humans do love it. I belong to these. This album is again full of emotion and grandiose poetry. It is a true enchantment for about forty minutes of a glorious trip to the boundaries of our physical universe.

''Tangram'' represents the archetype of prog electronic and I can only recommend this album to anyone willing to discover the style or this great band.

It will take you to even further boundaries than the early Floyd... Do yourself a favour and discover this essential album. At least it is my HHO.

Passion, skills, absolute beauty, wonderful harmony, ethereal coldness. This is one of my TD all time fave. Slightly behind ''Rubycon'' but so close that I can only rate it with five stars. I told you: magical.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#223122)
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
2 stars Tangram is at best an uneven effort that does not match up to anything they had released since 74. I deliberately leave the pink years out of scope as they represent an entirely different type of band. There's a few interesting minutes in the opening and a short haunting sequence at the end of part 1, that pretty much sums it up for me. Much of the material is derived from the live release (Pergamon/Quichotte) of the same year and I happen to have heard that live album first. So because of that I might be slightly biased. When comparing both I must conclude that the material has been worked upon too much to sound smoother and more commercial. It has lost much of its quality and spontaneity because of it.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#236725)
Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars After succumbing to "Force Majeure", I sought out the TD albums most chronologically related, only to be disappointed that neither "Cyclone" nor "Tangram" could compare. Stylistically, "Tangram" is not that dissimilar but it lacks the hard rock touches, dramatics and visuals. This is not surprising given that a Tangram is a chinese puzzle, and the music might reflect the inner workings of an individual struggling to attach the seven shapes together to match a silhouette or outline. Or, as I fear, the music might simply constitute a set of unrelated themes that didn't fit into the last few albums.

Like all the Tangerine Dream work I have heard, "Tangram" cannot simply be dismissed as musical doodling. Hypnotic depths are plumbed and resonate with this listener, more so as they become more familiar, but as a single piece it doesn't possess a lot of coherence for me. Even if the two "sides" had been given names other than "set 1" and "set 2" I might have been happier. The buildup in the first 5 minutes in set 1 is worthy of the best of MIKE OLDFIELD during his minimalist phase. Later, lead guitars and synths make competent melodic contributions but have a "been there" quality to them. Elsewhere are segments reminiscent of the closing part of "Thru Metamorphic Rocks", which was apparently a mistake, so why repeat it? And I think I hear a ripoff of the organ sound of the WHO's "Won't Get Fooled Again". The last couple of minutes are admittedly quite lovely.

Set 2 is less immediately appealing, but it also presents more like a single work, at least for the first 10 minutes, with a buildup to an enthusiastic climax of sorts around 6 minutes. If lead guitar is male and keyboards are female, I really do enjoy TD's tendency to an androgynous sound, which is probably a keyboard but is played like a lead guitar. Very few groups I can think of have attained such an achievement or even tried. Unfortunately the last half provides very little of value amongst its spacey interludes and retreads of familiar themes.

When Tangerine Dream is at their best, they are without peer. When they seem less inspired, as on "Tangram", they are still head and shoulders above most in their genre and beyond. Three solid stars for this brain teaser.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#245122)
Posted Sunday, October 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Tangerine Dream - Tangram (1980)

But what do I know?

Electronic music has never been the focus of my collection mania, but recently I discovered the progressive electronic music can work very well as background music for when I have to study. Most other progressive music will scream to me for attention, whilst sometimes a student has to work on certain essays and texts. I had bought this vinyl record some time ago for two euro and I liked the reputation of the group and the red cover with it's interesting inlays which show a strange collection of windows set up in a snowy landscape. The artwork shown on PA is totally different (boring!).

My only point of reference, when it come to electronic music, is JM Jarre with it's uplifting tempo's and atmospheres. TD sound less intensive and much more repetitive and relaxing. There are different atmospheres from Mad Scientist Laboratory sound, symphonic soundscapes, sound effects and some interesting use of the guitar. The album can be listened to as a whole: as if it was one track. There are no moments of silence. Whilst this album isn't that progressive from a harmonic perspective, it has a lot of sophistication in it's emotional effect. Which is good.

Conclusion. This is not the music I would refer to as essential, but what do I know? I'm not a fan of electronic music! I can only say that from a '70 prog collectors perspective this might be a good record for relaxation. If you spend some time listening to it you'll find the music has more to offer then you would have though at first spin. A strong three stars.

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Send comments to friso (BETA) | Report this review (#273845)
Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars One would assume that Tangerine Dream would begin to settle down after all the changes that the band had undergone throughout the '70s. Instead they continued to push their sound to new heights even in the '80s.

The departure of Peter Baumann gave the band a chance to undertake unexpected escapades into the worlds of Symphonic Prog, on Cyclone, and Space Rock, on Force Majeure. These adaptations of new influences didn't seem to suit Froese and Franke which meant that Steve Jolliffe and Klaus Kruger soon departed from the band. A new member in the shape and form of Johannes Schmoelling was recruited to re-establishing the keyboard trio format that existed during the classic Tangerine Dream years with Peter Baumann. This new lineup didn't waste much time and the new album titled Tangram saw the light of day in the middle of 1980.

Tangram marked a turning point between the two eras since the album consisted of two long pieces (or sets) which reminiscent of the classics like Rubycon and Ricochet. Still this composition format is quite deceiving since the album is far from the atmospheric sequencer-based experiment and instead sounds more like a new age recording with many prominent melodic sections featured throughout the performances. This sound may be too direct for some fans of the early Tangerine Dream recordings but it still keeps itself on the level where the music doesn't get too generic or irritating.

After giving Exit and a few other releases a spin I can safely say that Tangram is still miles away from the uninspired work that was featured on those releases. This album is still not completely soaked in the '80s production which is also a great thing for me since I never really liked the way everything was over-produced back in that decade. That last statement might seem a bit surprising considering that Tangram is almost entirely an electronica release with only a few short instances where other instruments like bass, guitar and percussion can be distinguished in the mix. To me that shows a conscious decision from the band members to uphold a certain stylist tradition in the industry where everyone is constantly chasing after the next best thing.

I really liked the Tangram ever since my introduction to this album and it has only gotten better with time. Listening to it today does make me sad about the direction that Tangerine Dream undertook on their next releases which only makes me want to recommend this album even more!

**** star songs: Tangram Set 1 (19:52) Tangram Set 2 (20:27)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#288821)
Posted Thursday, July 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars Tangram was the easiest album released at that time by Tangerine Dream. The suite is a mixture of the usual TD's square waves, but with some sounds and rhythms that seem borrowed from Mike Oldfield and Jean Michel Jarre (in particular the last 5 minutes of Set 1).

I don't really mean that Froese & C have really borrowed anything. With electronic music, as it happened in the 80s, once all the keyboardists buy a Yamaha DX7, all their music sounds similar...

So forget completely the Pink period. This album sounds more "mainstream" also respect to Ricochet or Stratosfear, but it's not a mess. The music inside is good, relaxing and evocative. Well, it's closer to new age than to psychedelia, but this is the way that the band has started to follow since Phaedra and it's witnessed by the number of movie soundtracks that they were actually about to make.

Of the two sides, Tangram Set 2 is more spacey, with parts that remind to Vangelis instead of reminding to Jarre. What is missing is the repetitivity. Without repetitions the music is not as hypnotic as on the previous albums.

Thinking to fans, I don't think the reactions to this album have been very good, but in the long term this album is still actual while things like "Zeit" are a bit outdated,

I can still hear some references to the old Pink Floyd here and there, specially in Set 2 where the noisy and spacey minutes can be related to Saucerful of Secrets and to On The Run.

Even if the hard fans of the early TD were surely disappointed, I think this is one of their best albums. Being accessible to everybody can mean being more commercial, but being commercial doesn't always mean being bad. The music inside is as good as some of the best Vangelis or Oldfield's albums, just to make a comparison. 4.5 stars for me.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#428303)
Posted Wednesday, April 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Tangram is the start of the '80s Tangerine Dream new-age era. The sound of the two tracks on this album is modern, much more so than Force Majeure, but Tangerine Dream have moved back to a more thoroughly electronic sound. The classic sound of this group isn't present on Tangram at all, but has been modified to meet both pop-electronic and progressive electronic standards - long tracks that progress through multiple passages that include spacey and cosmic soundscapes, but utilize poppy and accessible melodies for easier listening for those who have difficulty with the hypnotizing and cold soundscapes of Tangerine Dream's most popular work.

Tangram plays like a symphonic progressive rock album in structure, but without most of the "rock" elements besides cheesy electric guitar. For me, this album sounds like hypothetically modified version of an instrumental Genesis album from the '80s. That description doesn't sound all too positive, but Tangram really is better than anything that both Tangerine Dream and Genesis would release in the '80s, and is easily the best Tangerine Dream album of this particular era. Definitely not a terrible listen, and I consider this album to be the last good album by Tangerine Dream.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#441930)
Posted Monday, May 02, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Tangram' - Tangerine Dream (6/10)

It's no secret that the 1980's had a pretty harsh effect on the artistic success of many of the progressive rock bands. While the early seventies were something of a golden age for artists like Yes, Genesis, and Tangerine Dream, they would all ultimately take the plunge into mediocrity at one point or another. In the case of Tangerine Dream, these Germans were snagged by the soundtracks bug. There's no doubt that making soundtracks for Hollywood films was a better way to pay the bills than cater to a snobbish 'artiste' subculture of 'trve' music fans, but I cannot help but wonder Edgar Froese and co. ever felt just a little bit bad that they threw away much of their artistic innovation in exchange for a greater sense of commercial recognition. Whatever the case, "Tangram" is generally considered to be one of the band's final albums before they took the final dive into corporate synthesized hell. Although the longform composition format is here, it's filtered through a decidedly poppy and upbeat approach to their electronic sound. It's Tangerine Dream's transition album, for better or worse. The band had done many better things in the albums prior, but it deserves some recognition, if only for the fact that this is the final chapter of their glory era.

Like the band's masterworks "Zeit" and "Rubycon", "Tangram" is divided into twenty minute, side-long compositions. Contrary to the course implied by "Force Majeure" and "Stratosfear", "Tangram" reverts to an almost entirely electronic soundbase, with Moogs and a host of pleasant synthesized textures chipping out the sound. Had it not been for the change in tone and atmosphere, I could have sworn Tangerine Dream were reverting back on their old ways. Although the formula sounds similar to the style of "Rubycon", Tangerine Dream focus on an upbeat, even catchy sound on both 'sets' of the album. Although there are no melodies that particularly leap out, both compositions on "Tangram" are accessible and clean to the ear. Tangerine Dream denotes driving rhythms with only scant use of real percussion, instead relying on the synthesizers to do the work. As is usually the case for Tangerine Dream, the sound of the synths are rich and well-suited to the mood they intend to evoke.

Although "Tangram" is very accessible compared to the lonely space-wanderings of "Rubycon", it is only so for its softness on the ear and implied pop rhythms. Some of the lead synth ideas are interesting, but Tangerine Dream are stuck in an uncomfortable place between trying to be melodic and catchy, and being progressive and atmospheric. "Tangram" is not particularly impressive in either category, although there are smatterings of ideas on either side of the record that recall the band at their best. Unfortunately, from this point forth, alot less could be expected from the quintessential German electronic collective.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#864496)
Posted Thursday, November 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars After the exit of primary member Peter Baumann, Tangerine Dream creates a couple of albums with a real drummer and one of them even has lyrics. While both Force Majeure and Cyclone are very good , especially the former, TD reverts back to their glory days and becomes a band with three keyboardists again. They even go back to 2 side long tracks. but that is where the comparison ends. Johannes Schmoelling arrives and immediately his stamp on Tangram is unmistakeable. Almost gone is the icy spacey ness of Phaedra, and in comes a scheen, along with a more melodic soundscape. Brighter, upbeat and a bit catchy in spots, Tangerine Dream hits a sweet spot between space music and instrumental pop/ rock.

I really enjoy this album and rate it a weak 5 star album. It's the best of the Franke, Froese, Schmoelling lineup.

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Send comments to tdfloyd (BETA) | Report this review (#1156007)
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2014 | Review Permalink

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