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Tangerine Dream - Inferno CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic

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5 stars "Inferno" is the first instalment of the highly ambitious series of albums based on Dante's "Divine Comedy". This is a very different TD project in several ways. First,the classical influences that have surfaced occasionally on TD albums over the years are here dominant and even though only keyboards and percussion are used,they manage to create a large and orchestral soundscape causing some people to label this as "electronic opera" and that's where the other major difference comes in:the vocals. 98% of TD's material has been instrumental,the only exceptions being "Cyclone" in 1978 and "Tyger" in 1987,so vocals are not a usual occurance on a TD album but this time they have really gone for it in a big way. "Inferno" contains no less than 7 singers! And the result has to be said to be nothing less than remarkable. The harmony vocal arrangements are fabulous and the skill to write for voices from musicians who are not used to it is both surprising and astonishing. You'd never guess this was an instrumental band with a very limited experience of writing music for voices. The lyrics are as ambitious as the music, coming in no less than four different languages,English,Italian,French and Spanish! That would be the only complaint about this album since it makes it difficult to follow the story since it's doubtfull that the average listener is fluent in all four langauges. But that's just nitpicking since this is such an extraordinary musical achievement and it's safe to say that "Inferno" is not only unique in the TD catalogue but in the history of modern music. This album is something very special and completely out of the ordinary,so much so that categorizing it becomes both impossible and ridiculous. "Inferno" is a jewel of tremendeous creative achievement and the only possible comparisons are the great classical choral works,certainly in what is loosely called popular music,there is nothing like it.
Report this review (#32587)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Burning beauty

I really did not think tangerine Dream were capable of surprising me. Yes they occasionally incorporate stray instruments into their music, but the ethereal floating keyboard sound they make is as familiar and predictable as the ebb and flow of the tides.

With "Inferno" however, I have to say they have created something of quite astonishing beauty. This is the first part of a trilogy of albums (completed by "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso"), based on Dante Alighieri's "La Divina Commedia" (The Divine comedy). This was conceived in the 14th century, and relates to the relationship between mankind's living state and his spiritual one. This first part deals with Virgil's passage though hell in his quest for purification.

The recording of the album took place live in the St Marien Zu Bernau Cathedral in October 2001. The location immediately gives an indication of what might be expected. This is effectively an oratorio, with passing similarities to Rick Wakeman's "Gospels" albums. There are no less than seven trained female vocalists, including three altos, three sopranos, and one mezzo-soprano. While they are not present throughout the piece, their vocals do occupy a significant proportion of the recital. Tangerine Dream, who are effectively now Edgar Froese and his son Jerome, use their keyboards orchestrate the album. Only occasionally are there more familiar Tangs like passages, but even then they are very much in keeping with the beauty of the music.

The tracks merge together to form a continuous suite, indeed the track demarcations really only serve as reference points, this is a complete composition which demands to be heard as such.

While I find this to be a truly remarkable work, it is necessary to offer a word of warning. This is by no means a conventional prog album (is there such a thing?), or indeed a conventional Tangerine Dream release. This work has more in common with classical works than it does with modern music. The familiar synthesiser sounds may be here, but they lend themselves perfectly to the setting.

A quite remarkable piece.

Report this review (#114145)
Posted Sunday, March 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is the first part of the TD trilogy dedicated to Dante's "Divina Commedia" which written at the end of the thirteenth century (and prolonged into the fourteenth one).

The DT work is also divided into three parts and its release will be spread over four years for a total of five CD's (at almost full capacity). The whole of this work was presented live.

As "Easy Livin" has perfectly explained, this album has nothing to do with prog but is more related to opera. Since I am a TD completionist, I decided to review these works as well.

Being a completionist didn't turned me into a fan of this work. I'm afraid. Actually, only during "L' Omperador del Doloroso Regno" and "Fallen for Death", could I distinguish some true TD moments, but apart from these brief instants, I had quite a hard time to tell the truth.

It was kind of "Inferno" for me. I hope that with the next one, I will move to "Purgatorio" and finish maybe to "Paradiso" later on. Who knows?

Two stars for "Inferno".

Report this review (#244898)
Posted Friday, October 16, 2009 | Review Permalink

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