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Tangerine Dream - Tyger CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream

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4 stars This represents the second attempt at bringing vocals into TD's music previously tried on 'Cyclone' some 9 years earlier.Whereas Cyclone was a hit and miss affair with more misses than hits ,'Tyger' is actually very good.Jocelyn B Smith delivers a classical style of singing that sits very nicely with the music and doesn't detract in any way.In fact for me she brings out the passion in Blake's poems perfectly.This must be counted as a resounding success.The highpoint of the album is 'London' which has a dark atmosphere second to none.Probably the last great Tangerine Dream before they started 'churning' them out.No coincidence that it was Chris Franke's final album with TD I suspect.
Report this review (#32564)
Posted Friday, August 20, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my very first TD album, however, not my very first encounter with their music. I first heard (consciuosly) excerpt from their "Rubycon" album on the compilation "Chillout Moods" and I was enchanted. I bought "Tyger" in a second hand store almost a year ago. The edition I have is one of the first pressings, way back in 1987, the Jive-electro release. On this album TD have made their second attempt at bringing vocals to their music. They invited an American soul/R&B-oriented vocalist Jocelyn Bernadette Smith to sing three songs on this album. The lyrics she sings are poems by the English visionary, poet and artist, William Blake. You can appreciate Jocelyn's passionate voice on the tracks "Tyger", "London" and "Smile". While the title track sounds more "poppy" with a smashing melody, the second track, "London" is more complex, featuring a couple of Blake's poems (not only the title "London") put into one track, which by no means sounds forced. The final part of this lenghty track is a brilliant guitar solo with a heavy beat. This is truly one of the best moments on this album. Next, an instrumental song, 12-minute-long "Alchemy of the Heart", which unfurls intriguingly and poetically ends with a slow piano outro. The fourth song, "Smile" features the vocalist again. The intro to this song is simply beautiful, as for me this is the essence of electronic music of the 80s. Jocelyn sings with a deep voice the lyrics by Blake with TD making two interludes, very dreamy and slow, making you lay back in your armchair and lapse into mental wanderings. I don't imagine listening to this album (as any other TD album) without headphones on and sitting on a regular chair. You need to relax to feel the mood of this album and let it take you far away. This album ends with two parts of "The 21st Century Common Man", which sound as if taken from entirley different recording. And yet they sound gorgeous, with heave drums and wonderful bass-lines, you can't help tapping your fingers to keep the fast pace. Simply fascinating. Well, this is certainly one of the most important albums in TD's discography, yet not the best one either. Mainly because of the lyrics the meaning of this album is profound and many critics didn't grasp it, tearing the album to pieces for its vocal parts. Fans and critics may quarrel whether TD+vocals is a good solution, yet for me, this CD is certainly worth to give it at least some attention. You'll like it, provided you're a fan of TD, and perhaps, Vangelis?

Report this review (#32565)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record belongs to the Haslinger-era. After the excellent Underwater Sunlight, Haslinger, Froese and Frank come back with this amazing album. We have a very rare Tangerine Dream record with lead vocals here: the woman has a very good voice, but the problem is that it kills the magic moments of the fresh keyboards textures, because she sings too loud. Thanks God she only sings less than 50% of the time. The 2 epic tracks, lasting more than 12 minutes, are REALLY good! On Alchemy of the heart, there are tons of crystal clean percussive keyboards, which are PLAYED, not sequenced; the second part of this track contains awesome, very rich floating textures of keyboards: it is probably the most emotional track of Tangerine Dream! Unbelievable! On London, the rythm changes are numerous: the track is very progressive, and it ends with Froese's sharp guitar: I think he gets his best sound ever right here! VERY impressive. There are also some excellent piano parts. The 2 other tracks Smile and Tyger last only 5 minutes, and, despite they sound really cute and crystal clean, the presence of the lead vocals partly ruin the overall sound.
Report this review (#32566)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3,5 stars. Note: The original white & blue covered album doesn't include '21 Century Common Man I-II'

'Tyger' (the song) could have been the first thing I heard by Tangerine Dream, from radio in my teens. For liking that song I wanted to have TD on vinyl and I ordered blindly The Collection 2LP including the early space/avant-garde stuff, for which I definitely wasn't prepared (until a decade later, to some extent)! 'Tyger' is something like a New Age ballad, very emotional female vocals, bright keyboard background and relatively traditional song form, ie. chorus gets repeated few times. That it's also a famous poem - a very beautiful and accessible one, by the mystic visionaire William Blake - gave it some extra value. But of course it is NOT a typical Tangerine Dream track at all. And this album in total is a "different" one as it has vocals. I like Jocelyn B. Smith's voice and also musically I consider this one of the best TD's from the 80's onwards.

The other track of Side One is 'London' built around several poems of Blake. It is overlong and seems to wander aimlessly, even repetitiously, despite some stronger moments in it. But Side Two is completely a pleasure to listen. 'Alchemy of the Heart' is a long instrumental mainly in two sections, the first building a dramatic emotional tension and the second calming down to very soft and romantic layers of keyboards. 'The Smile' is a clean, ethereal song like the title track. Probably even better. Its airy keyboard sound evoked images of either a solitary big city night or the frosty landscapes of Iceland when I talked about it with a friend. Yeah, each can have inner images of his/her own with this fine album. If you like Vangelis (and the idea of female vocals added to that style) you probably like this one, even if TD as a whole is not your favourites.

Report this review (#68936)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The first deception of Tangerine Dream 80s' works. Also the last album with Franke. They have lost their spacey touch in favor of "ballads".

The first track, Tyger, is a cheesy pop-electro-song and features a female vocalist ! Hard to believe it's hardly the same persons which recorded Ricochet and Poland. Horrendous ! London sounds like a pale copy of Song of the Whale with vocals. Alchemy of The Heart starts well, but becomes uninspired and soppy. Smile attempts to re-create their synthetic 80s' early sound, but get lost with other vocals. 21st Century Common Man Part 1 is an ok catchy electronic sequenced song and Part 2 is average.

I will give 2 stars for Froese's guitar solos and 21st Century Common Man Part 1. Underwater Sunlight was TD' last good release from the 80s'.

Report this review (#107886)
Posted Thursday, January 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I think aside from the awful opening title track ' Tyger' this is again another successful vocally driven Tangerine Dream release. Dare I say say it very brave and TD unafraid to raise eyebrows from their faithful following and tap into breaking more new ground. Not every track carries vocals either. ' 21st century Common Man part 1' is excellent as is the guitar solo driving 'Part 2'. ' Alchemy of The Heart' and ' Smile' the other standout tracks. Not quite up there with Cyclone and Madcap's Flaming Duty but nevertheless a good album. The remastered version includes an additional track called ' Vigour' with some great percussion.
Report this review (#176016)
Posted Thursday, July 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Vocals are back on this TD album!

Female ones this time, and not bad at all if you would listen to the music without knowing who is playing.

If you close your eyes, attempts to listen to the music, you might be OK during the opening "Tyger" which virtually features crystal clear vocals (but no more). But gosh! The words recitation during "London" (almost fifteen minutes) is quite disturbing. It is definitely better when the instrumentation takes over (even if the band already signed better tracks, for sure).

Luckily enough, the "Alchemy Of The Heart" works fine. A full ambient and new age track which brings a lot of tranquil mood and some truly peaceful moments. By far my favourite here. Is this an indication? It is fully instrumental?and profoundly moving.

It's a kind of mixed bag feeling while listening to this album. Some parts are good, others much, much less. And I'm still not convinced about the vocal affair. Instrumental parts are the best ones and even if " 21st Century Common Man" is not their best track ever, it offers good upbeat moments.

Five out of ten for this "Tyger". Three stars.

Report this review (#224575)
Posted Sunday, July 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
3 stars My review is based on the vinyl version, as intrigued as I am by the "21st Century Common Man" titles. "Tyger" teeters at the level at which I may or may not want to "upgrade" to digital format. Yet another bold move for TANGERINE DREAM, chiefly because of the dignified voice of Jocelyn B. Smith interpreting William Blake on three of the four tracks, "Tyger" is otherwise not that different musically from the preceding "Underwater Sunlight", although ultimately not quite as engaging.

Another departure for the group is that the best material is on Side 2, with the magical instrumental "Alchemy of the Heart" and the lush electro-acoustic ballad "Smile", which seems part TD and part Jane Relf's ILLUSION, raising the bar. Side 1 opens well, if in a decidedly new age vein, with the title cut, but "London" is a mess of 14 minutes, a pastiche of NINA HAGEN-like 1980s new wave that might be brave but isn't bright, especially given the spiritual depths and highs of Blake's poetry. Some of the lead guitar work is expressive enough but lacks an overall context and seems forced.

I tend to be generous with my TANGERINE DREAM ratings, not without cause, but this cat is a bit too moody to be safely rounded up from 3.5 ish. Nice kitty.

Report this review (#245306)
Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars You know, Some days it's not worth chewing through the leather straps in the morning.

I was overwhelmed with a suicidal depression after listening to this album.

After the surprisingly brilliant 'Underwater Sunlight' I'm confronted with this garbage. A non entity of an album with atrocious female vocals which completely destroy any chance this album ever had of scraping by a three star rating.

Honestly, everything Tangerine Dream did after 1986 is to music what 'Etch a Sketch' is to art.

It makes me mad to see such once wonderful minds transform in such a way to produce such dross. If you're new to Tangerine Dream DONT go near anything by them after 1986. The wheel's spinning but the hamster's dead...

Report this review (#306458)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a Tangerine Dream album that really has the fan-base split. Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Paul Haslinger bring in Jocelyn Smith to put her vocals to several of William Blake's poems. TD deserves some credit for taking chances like this especially with the knowledge of the mostly negative reaction to the vocals on the album Cyclone.

Tyger, London and Smile all feature Smith with varying degrees of success. London may be the song that the vocal styles are a little at odds at first but "The Fly" and instrumental sections make up for it. The gem on the album is Alchemy of The Heart, an all instrumental workout that starts softly, builds in pace and then ends softly. I only wish that Edgar's guitar was given more time to really raise the roof. The CD version ends with the 2 part 21st century Common Man and Vigor, which all were not on the original album release. All three are raise the tempo and are welcome additions. Another difference on the CD release is the vocals are treated on Tyger along with some additional programming. I like all of the changes on the newer release.

3.5 raised to a 4 star rating for the risk taking that really paid off.

Report this review (#346646)
Posted Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Tyger is one of the more odd Tangerine Dream albums, because of the addition of vocals. I don't really care for the vocals here, and although they are done very well by a great singer, I don't think it really fits with Tangerine Dream. The first two tracks on this album, "Tyger" and "London", are vocal and electronics pop-inspired new-age numbers. Some people find them enjoyable and enlightening; I find them to be incredibly bland and outstandingly annoying. Like I said before - the vocals are great, but I don't welcome them here.

"Alchemy of the Heart", however, is delightful. A very beautiful almost-neo-classically composed new-age track that progresses wonderfully through different textures and emotions throughout its 12 minutes. It soars proudly with a grand ethereal quality.

But then, "Smile", is another bland new-age pop-inspired vocal track with pale emotion. It feels forced, and really doesn't go anywhere at all. Bummer, man.

This album does finish strong, though, with "21st Century Common Man". There are no references to King Crimson present in the actual music, even though the song title suggests otherwise. This is the darkest song on the album, and has an old school Tangerine Dream kind of feel, but with added touches of new-age plasticity. It really is quite good, and features an aggressive beat that you can really get into.

'80s Tangerine Dream has never been my favorite of their material, but this is some of their best work from that era. I'll always find the vocals to be annoying, but this album still has a great deal of mid-to-high quality progressive electronic work on it.

Report this review (#438104)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
1 stars Whilst the last decent Tangerine Dream was arguably the mid-eighties offering 'Underwater Sunlight', the last genuine classic would have to be the live offering 'Poland: The Warsaw Concert'. After these, the once- pioneering electronic outfit would start to concentrate more on soundtrack work, though despite occasional nuggets('Near Dark') it seemed Edgar Froese and company were starting to run out of ideas. This 1987 effort is a perfect example of Tangerine Dream exploring new avenues, with Froese's love of William Blake coupled with a rare attempt to fuse vocals onto his signature sound. Sadly, it doesn't work. Featuring soul-singer Jocelyn B. Smith giving a rather lifeless rendition of some of Blake's key works, 'Tyger' must go down as an ill- advised union between three rather disparate subjects. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, yet, like much of Tangerine Dream's post-1985 material the years have not been too kind to 'Tyger'. Smith's vocals seem awkward and forced, with Blake's complex, lyrical musings rendered impotent by the layers of buzzing synthesizers and drum machines. The actual link between the words and the music is tenuous at best, and the album is not helped by the fact that it features some of Froese' least inspiring melodies. Whilst Tangerine Dream have carved out a long and hugely-successful career out of sonic experimentation, 'Tyger' is a step too far. There is little - if nothing - here that matches up to the group's classic 1970s material, marking this down as a failed attempt to broaden their electronic horizons. Those wanting to investigate Tangerine Dream further are advised to stick to their 1968 - 1983 period, and whilst there may be shreds of novelty interest here for die-hard aficianado's, there is precious little entertainment for anybody else. Poor.


Report this review (#659412)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars It's a nice album but it's not Tangerine Dream. Nobody pretends the spacey soundscapes and the journeys through the galaxy offered by the band during the Pink period now that we are in the middle of the 80s, but even not being one of the many soundtracks released during that decade it's so far from the original TD music that I can hardly believe to be listening to them.

It's not only for the vocals thing. It's not the first time that we have vocals in a TD album.....well, it's just the second...however Jocelyn Smith sounds like any of the 80s female pop-singers like let's say, Bananarama or similars and the keyboards layouts are very deeply in the actual pop standards. One of the worst things in the 80s was the race to the standardisation of the sounds: artists who wanted to sound "modern" had to use fairlights and drone drumming, so also bands like TD who was using that kind of sounds since from the 70s appear standardised and to be honest don't do anything to appear original in this album.

Add to this that William Blake is a poet that I don't like much. "Little lamb who made thee" is in my poor opinion a bad example of poetry, but I'm not an expert in literature, so forget this comment.

"Tyger" starts with a very radio friendly pop song. Nicer than most of the pop songs of the period but too similar to what Bonnie Tyler was used to sing. "London" raises the hopes of something more progressive, specially for its duration, and effectively is light years more interesting than the title track. Jocelyn's speech sounds very Krautrock and makes me think to the speech on the B side of Klaus Schulze's "Dune". Unfortunately she sings. Not that she has a bad voice, but her style is too similar to Grace Jones and it doesn't fit well with TD music. The instrumental part is not bad, specially when the rhythm stops for a while and the keyboard soudscape reminds to the late 70s.

"Alchemy Of The Heart" is a title that doesn't inspire much.The track starts with drone drumming followed by a piano quite similar to Oldfield's Tubular Bells intro, but it progresses in a TD style. The 80s typical sounds are not too disturbing. It's surely better than its contemporary "Seen One Earth" of my beloved Peter Bardens. There's a sudden change after 3:30 minutes. It looks like Froese has found back some of the old inspiration. The melody has a classical influence also thanks to the harpsichord sound. A stop at minute 6 and we are in a dreamy world, just a bit too melodic for my tastes. And again Peter Bardens comes to my mind. It's the kind of music that he was producing in the same period and with almost the same sounds. Try to survive to the first two tracks because this one shouldn't be missed even if it's not a masterpiece.

"Smile" starts promising with a typical repetitive keyboard base but the vocals are worse than on the other tracks even with a theme that wouldn't be too bad. Nothing more to say about it.

The most intriguing track title for the closer (two tracks on the vinyl) "21st Century Common Man" has a clear reference, but only on the title. There's nothing of the KC masterpiece in this track. I've never been in a disco for more than 15 minutes but for what I remember of tha period I think that the first two minutes of this track could have been danced. Not totally bad even this one but nothing special.

One good track, three average and one bad means an average rating: good but non essential but I'm a bit generous this time.

Report this review (#723298)
Posted Thursday, April 12, 2012 | Review Permalink

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