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Tangerine Dream

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Tangerine Dream Electronic Meditation album cover
3.32 | 370 ratings | 35 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Geburt (Genesis) (5:56)
2. Reise Durch Ein Brennendes Gehirn (Journey Through A Burning Brain) (12:22)
3. Kalter Rauch (Cold Smoke) (10:38)
4. Asche Zu Asche (Ashes To Ashes) (4:06)
5. Auferstehung (Resurrection) (3:27)

Total Time: 36:29

Line-up / Musicians

- Edgar Froese / 6- & 12-string guitars, Farfisa organ, piano, Fx
- Conrad Schnitzler / cello, violin, guitar, Fx
- Klaus Schulze / percussions, metal sticks

With :
- Jimmy Jackson / organ
- Thomas Keyserling / flute

Releases information

Artwork: Monica Froese

LP Ohr ‎- OMM 56.004 (1970, Germany)

CD Jive Electro ‎- C TANG 4 (1986, UK) Different cover art
CD Essential ‎- ESM CD 345 (1996, UK) Remastered by Thomas Heimann-Trosien
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- EREACD 1025 (2012, UK) 24-bit remaster by Ben Wiseman

"The first electronic Punk album in history. Recorded as a rehearsal in Oct. 1969 in Berlin. "

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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TANGERINE DREAM Electronic Meditation ratings distribution

(370 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

TANGERINE DREAM Electronic Meditation reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
5 stars Vastly underrated and underappreciated debut by a group that would became the biggest name of electronic music. This is the original lineup of Edgar Froese, Conrad Schnitzler, and Klaus Schulze. Schulze would later join ASH RA TEMPEL (for their debut, and for Join Inn in 1973, as part of a one-off reunion of their original members), and of course embark on his solo career that made his name just as important as TD's.

"Electronic Meditation" is quite a different game from what these guys have done afterwards. This is by far their most rock oriented album, loaded with lots of guitars. The album starts off with "Genesis", which consists of a bunch of droning, something the band will continues to do on following albums. But the next song, "Journey Through A Burning Brain" shows the guitars starting to kick in, and the music becomes more and more intense, until the guitars kick in. This stuff really blows me away. The rest of the album is like that too, except for "Resurrection", which is simply organ with a voice talking in backwards (I presume in German), before you hear "Genesis" once again.

Yes, this album is often not looked on in a favorable light. It's not like anything they done since. The sound quality isn't the best, either. But if you love that underground Krautrock sound, you should give this one a try.

Review by loserboy
4 stars For the ultimate in solar space travel my friends, may I suggest you sit, put on your headphones, dim the lights and tune into TANGERINE DREAM's "Electronic Meditation". This early release from TANGERINE DREAM which has been referenced to as "The Pink Years" is a truely unbelievable album and is one of the all time greatest space trips. With strange beeps and clicks, TANGERINE DREAM draw us into their eclectic world of electronic space atmospheres and electric guitar pluckings. In many ways I get a bit of the ol' ASH RA TANGERINE DREAM effect especially with the wild guitar bits tossed in all over the electronics. Highlight for me is the 18 min epic track "Journey Through A Burning Brain" which explores some great musical moments. Overall this album has a highly underground feel to it and may be a bit challenging at times with its inherent stangeness, but after repeated listens you will be hooked.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars 4.5 stars really. One of the defining moments in rock history , very crucial in Germany along with Amon Duul II's debut , this is one album that decided the fate of a whole genre for their country. This album will also guide Guru Guru , Can , Ash Ra Temple and so many other Krautrock acts. The fact that Klaus Schulze is present on this album (and this one only) is no coincidence of course as a true visionary genius that he is , he will collide with Edgar Froese also a genius .

James and proghead are absolutely right and acurate in their reviews and Burning Brain and Cold Smoke are jewels that are well hidden locked into every heart that is aware of its existence. It is a shame that this album is under estimated but it is also very rarely seen in the shops , this maybe explaining that.

Review by Watcheroftheskies
5 stars This album is an often overlooked masterpiece. This is an assault on your sense of hearing and your mind. If anything on earth can force you to think abstractly this album will. Genesis has some awesome spacey sound followed by that an ominous "flute" sound that is a chilling contrast to the warm synths.

The second track "Journey Through a Burning Brain" is brilliant, if the rest of the album was absolutely terrible this song (it isn't) would make the album a 4. More space sounds but in the middle of this monster track the drums kick in and the effect is incredible, probably some of Klaus' best drumming on the album. The song picks up fast here with a very loud, rocking, guitar jam.

After the turmoil of track 2 track 3 is a song that puts you in a mental stasis. The synths speak tranquility but there are outbursts of dissonence throught this period. It builds to a satisfying climax at it's end with some very satisfying guitar work which flows into and continues to work it's magic in track 4 "Ashes to Ashes" which is sort of the second movement to the previous track "Cold Smoke".

Resurrection is the end and takes this journey to an end the same as it began. Yes, it is almost as if the album is following an ABCA sonata structure. Brilliant! Buy this album!

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I can understand all the hype about this album showed in the previous reviews. A premier electronic/synth band performing their debut without electronics whatsoever! They use more/less classic rock instrumentation with some additional strings, but they play in a not so "classic rock" way. Indeed, this is a proto experimental/avantguard style of noise music, later to be further worked out by Kraut-rockers, and why not say even punk- rockers at the end of the decade! This is not entirely new of course - the best part of the album for me, the guitar noisy section of "Journey through a Burning Brain", sounds like early VELVET UNDERGROUND anarchy noise. Anyway it is hard to give a mark. This album is surely and was at the time quite avanguard and innovative I guess, and even brave adventure, but on the other hand I had real problem to listen to it on several attempts: except for the mentioned song, the rest gave me always the urge to fall asleep. This is of course very personal feel, but I cannot recommend this album, in spite all of its "originality", to anyone but TD collectors only.
Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars First and classic TD album which participated to the construction of krautrock original sound. If you are only familiar with TD representative electronic, rhythmical dreamscapes you will be surprised by the free-form / experimental rock of "electronic meditation". The differences are sometimes radical in material, organisation and form. However the music has been yet remarkable, original to the extreme, making a considerable advance in both music and pre-electronic experimentations. The whole album atmosphere is mysterious, aggressive, psychedelic and emotional. "Genesis" opens this fascinating adventure with a dark, really strange cerebral composition made of tortured guitar sounds, linear cello parts, rumbling drums and esoteric, "exotic" flute parts. "Journey through a burning brain" starts with "glissando" guitar noises and an earthy organ sequence. The composition carries on distorted, painful and screaming guitar solo which ends in disorder and madness. "Cold smoke" is a strange world made of chaotic amplified noises, mysterious "acid" organ parts. The freaky out drum set that comes to light progressively announces an "improvised" explosive quick rock. "Ashes to ashes" is a bluesy, "trippy" rock tune with catchy organ sequences and hysteric guitar solos. In the last title we go back to the "abstract" atmosphere developed in "Genesis". The song starts with a meditative organ sound and recitative. A superb album, well recommended to everyone.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Behold, the first official long player presenting the pioneering cosmic sounds of this electronic krautrock band. Their innovative and abstract approach developed from their more conventional mid-1960's group named The One, and the directions for their musical expressionism were explored at the live concerts later that decade. I think that the main innovators here are Pink Floyd's "Saucerful of Secrets" suite and the fuzzy acid rock textures of early The Jimi Hendrix Experience recordings, these heard sounds developed further in innovative minds and recorded with trashy style similar to early Amon Düül recordings. The aural aesthetics build up from fuzzy, electronically treated analog sounds and percussions, creating thick and dreamlike sonar passages. Unfretted bow-played instruments bring a dose of atonality to the slowly morphing chaos, and fast lines of flute and the drums tie the music closer to the more conventional 1970's rock's frame of reference.

The keyboard chords of "Journey Through A Burning Brain" make up a celestial moment similar to the end sequence of Pink Floyd's tune mentioned before, also appearing in their "Cirrus Minor" coda, which starts to build up tension and reaching very raw sounding trance climax sounding the forthcoming Ash Ra Tempel recordings. A key member of that group, Klaus Schulze is here playing on drums, before venturing to that music group and focusing to synthesizers, creating a legacy of its own from that trait. The solemn pillars of sounds erected by the organ chords also close this second track of this album, circled by a flute flickering like a butterfly amidst their shade. "Cold Smoke" (Interstellar gases?) starts in avant-garde style shifting from subtle sounds as loud crashes and disturbing noises, later introducing drum sequence also resembling again Pink Floyd's "Saucerful of Secrets" drum movement. This starts to build up more chaotic jam in vein of Jimi Hendrix's song "I Don't Live Today". The escalation breaks to exhausted breathing sounds. "Ashes to Ashes" is a bluesy acid rocker with brutal elektronik noizes starting up interestingly, but is sadly faded out during the great gonzo jamming yet on the process of evolvement. The closing number "Resurrection" returns once more to the solemn organ chords, with backwards treated vocals, then returning to the album opener sounds, creating a circular form for the album with singular point for both beginning and the end.

This record evidently influenced heavily early Ash Ra Tempel who released their first album in 1971, so all who like either of these phases of these bands should check out the other one too. Certainly recommended as for background music for the first dates too.

Review by russellk
3 stars Neither electronic nor meditative, this debut album from the incredibly influential TANGERINE DREAM is nevertheless essential listening for those seeking to understand the development of Krautrock, psychedelica, electronica and new age music.

That doesn't mean it's pleasant listening. Far from it. In stark contrast to the pulsing sequencers and melancholy, atmospheric colourings of their 'Virgin Years' recordings, this album is edgy avant-garde fare, and I'd advise the majority of prog rock fans to save their pennies for later TD works.

This initial incarnation of the band features, along with EDGAR FROESE, a young KLAUSE SCHULTZ on percussion, and CONRAD SCHNITZLER, a Berlin nightclub owner, fiddling about with fiddles. The result is definitely free-form. 'Genesis' arises from the instrumental sludge to showcase SCHULTZ's percussion and odd, dissonant instrumental stabs. 'Journey Through a Burning Brain' sounds like something from PINK FLOYD's 'Ummagumma' sessions, but with far more point: this track continues the theme of dissonant instrumental stabs over a pleasant organ sound. This gradually morphs into a beat-heavy lumbering beast that could well serve as the prototype of all things Krautrock. Guitars and flutes trilling and shrieking punctuate the aural landscape until pastoral keyboards bring the song to a close.

My favourite on this album is 'Cold Smoke', which splutters into life amid elegant organ and crashing symbals and spends most of its ten-minute existence searching for a balance between Krautrock and psychedelica. FROESE's HENDRIX-like free-form guitar drives the latter part of the track, a precursor to the incredible sounds he would lay down in the latter half of the 1970s, culminating in 'Force Majeure'. Here we discover that in 1970 FROESE was already a talent.

The album concludes with two shorter tracks. Neither are essential.

When listening to this record one gets the sense that in 1970 the music scene was a very vibrant thing, in which almost anything could happen. FROESE exploited people's willingness to experiment by offering them a series of four difficult, edgy and experimental genre-straddling records, emerging from the highly influential Berlin scene. As a result, TANGERINE DREAM encapsulated an aspect of this exciting age of music that would otherwise have been lost, and as a result became influential in their own right.

Don't start your TANGERINE DREAM experience here. Instead, go straight to 'Phaedra'. Only stop here if you're really curious.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The title of this album is so ironic. This isn't the meditative Electronic music that TANGERINE DREAM would be come famous for, this is dark, spacey, experimental and at times it sounds like rock music from hell. This is such an influential record that really belongs in the Krautrock genre. It was recorded in 1969 in an old factory in Berlin, once you hear the music this fact will make all the sense in the world. Bleak, sparse, industrial, cold and at times metallic. Before the album was even released Schulze left to work with ASH RA TEMPEL and eventually began his long solo career. Schnitzler plays cello and would go back to KLUSTER. There is also some great flute work from Keyserling, and Jackson (who would later play on EMBRYO's "Steig Aus" and "Rache" albums, as well as on AMON DUUL II's "Wolf City" and "Tanz Der Lemminge") offers up some amazing organ passages. The surprise is Froese's guitar playing and Schulze's drum work. These guys let it all hang out at times.The theme of the album is birth followed by death and then rebirth. No lyrics.

"Genesis" opens with electronic sounds that hover and pulse in the darkness. Cello arrives 2 1/2 minutes in as drums, flute and other sounds also join in. Pounding drums 4 minutes in as cello scrapes away. Flute is back. It all sounds great. "Journey Through A Burning Brain" is one crazy song title. Sharp sounds come and go along with other experimental sounds. Flute a minute in as it settles down. The organ before 2 minutes sounds awesome. The organ becomes more powerful 4 1/2 minutes in, it's quite moving actually. After 5 minutes the guitar and drums start to rise up and build. Froese is wailing away as Schulze pounds away relentlessly. Incredible ! These two electronic pioneers are rocking out with reckless abandonment. My God check it out after 10 minutes ! The chaos ends after 11 minutes as organ and flute bring calm.

"Cold Smoke" opens with spacey sounds that are broken by sudden and random outbursts of sounds. Heavy drums after 3 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up 6 1/2 minutes as guitar starts to solo. Great sound after 10 minutes. The song stops suddenly and all you can hear is some guy breathing heavily to end it. "Ashes To Ashes" has a good rhythm to it as Froese solos over top. The experimental sounds continue. "Resurrection" opens with heavy organ as spoken words come in. It changes to a haunting mood 1 1/2 minutes in. Very spacey as the album ends just like it began.

A must have for all you Krautrock fans out there. And thankyou once again Tom Ozric for the recommendation.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars No synths (but there is a cello)!

One day in the early 1970's, Tangerine Dream got an offer they could not refuse resulting in them bulk purchasing a bunch of synthesisers. This entailed them throwing in their current instruments by way of part exchange, and all three attending An introduction to playing synth classes. The boys shone brightly in class, and went on to become experts in their field.

Prior to this though, the band has a much lesser know BS (before synth!) period where their instrumental line up consisted of more conventional kit such as guitar, drums, cello and organ (OK, maybe the Cello was not that conventional!). While this may sound promising, offering the prospect of the band's melodious style being hear in a different way, the reality is sadly somewhat less exciting. Not only is this period BS, it is also prior to them discovering any compositional abilities. Consequently, "Electronic meditation" is best left only to those who enjoy the most avant-garde of Krautrock and improvised indulgences.

If we skip quickly past the opening "Genesis", which is pretty much devoid of anything musical, we enter the 12 minute "Journey through a burning brain". The organ sections here are highly reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Saucerful of secrets", but the track largely focuses on the unstructured improvised guitar work of Edgar Froese. "Cold smoke" also features the atmospheric organ sounds and pounded timpani of Pink Floyd's early years, indeed it could be an outtake from their Pompeii sessions. As with the rest of the album though, the emphasis is almost entirely on experimentation and improvisation.

It therefore falls to the ear of the beholder to decide whether this album is fascinatingly challenging or musical gobbledegook. For me, while this is in relative terms some of the better recordings of this type I have heard, the almost total lack of anything discernibly musical leaves me absolutely cold.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pioneers of electronic music or to be precise pioneers of progressive electronic music. Either way it is hard not to be blown away by Tangerine Dream's debut studio release from 1970. Guitar is abundant on EM, which may have grown gradually less over subsequent years of studio material but Edgar Froese was adamant from the outset that guitars would be a vital ingredient to the TD sound and in this reviewers opinion that has endured albeit more sparingly.

The album kicks off with ' Genesis' a fuzzy mix of synth and guitar before the classic ' Journey Through a Burning Brain' gives us 12 minutes of mind numbing adventure, great drumming from Klaus Schulze and guitar solo's from Froese. ' Cold Smoke' and ' Ashes to Ashes' follow suit both providing a mix of minimalist landscapes, rock psychedlia and some fine organ work before ' resurrection', excuse the pun, returns the loop. There is no denying Froese's admiration for Jimi Hendrix and there is that influence on this album for sure, equally this is one of TD's unsung heroes for studio album releases in many respects. The most erstwhile fans and plaudits will not have missed Electronic Meditation, nor it's importance in setting the scene for a band in being one of the most prolific around. EM does set the tone for the trademark TD sound and carries it's head up high as being one of the bands finest albums. Light years ahead of it's time too. Four and a half stars.

Review by Dobermensch
2 stars Vastly overrated if you ask me. I love early Tangerine Dream, and this is the one that appears on the famous 'Nurse With Wound' list so I should like it more than most. But no, it's a bunch of kack. Any fans of TD expecting anything they heard before by this band beware! It's a noisy non keyboard affair which I find particularly annoying. The first side is okay but the second sucks. I've tried, year after year to like this, but no. I've had enough.

Definitely their worst of the decade (bar Cyclone), despite Conrad Schnitzler being present. But as I say, tracks 1 and 2 aren't bad. Bah!

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Lots of four and even five stars (masterpiece status if you forgot) for this TD debut album.

As for other legendary bands, I was too young to have known them when they started (I discovered them in '74 with ''Phaedra'') but I wouldn't have been thrilled with this record if I had done so.

It is on par with their German follow countrymen ''Kraftwerk'' first album. Somewhat experimental although during ''Journey?'' I can feel some great parts reminding me of the superb ASOS. This is IMHHO the best number from this album. It is really moving for most of it. These key combinations are so fine and amazing. This great journey is a must IMO. The short flute passages are indeed a great addition.

''Cold Smoke'' is something very special in TD discography: can you imagine some wild guitar passages in one of their songs: well here you go! A total and chaotic final section. I almost hear Hendrix. here.

If you know my reviewing process, you know that this is quite a ride with TD that I have started by now.

I have to say that I don't quite understand the additional line of the credits for this album ''The first electronic Punk album in history''. Some sort of early electric anarchy in the UK maybe???

Five out of ten, upgraded to three stars for its historic influence on the electronic/space music.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars When something new appears in the music's world it's never totally new and it's always possible to identify some of the influences which have led to it.

For the Tangerine Dream's debut I think I can identify contemporary classic, Terry Riley and maybe Ron Geesin or similar artists in the influencers. The sound is not yet so electronic, there's plenty of acoustic instruments instead and the impression received is of a number of improvised jam sessions recorded on the fly like for the (poor) Amon Duul's debut, but with lot of instrumental skill more. This is very true for at least "Genesis".

"Journey Through A Burning Brain" starts spacey and unstructured, then the organ plays an harmonic sequence of chords "disturbed" by sliding down notes of the guitar, a clean bass note and some percussive sounds, probably caused by hitting the bass pick-ups with a string. The organ emerges and disappears several times between the discordant sounds. After 5 minutes things change: an acid electric guitar, quite bluesy, and some percussions turn the suite into a more typical Krautrock mood. The guitar riff becomes more chaotic when the drums increase the rhythm. Now it's a sort of acid-rock, like when Jimi Hendrix was totally stoned. Other 5-6 minutes of this stuff and a coda of organ and flute closes the track. The little dissonances over the organ chords have the spirit of Arzachel's "Yogsototh", but it's just one minute.

One thing about the organ: I think that "Farfasia" is a mistyping which stays for "Farfisa".

"Cold Smoke" is more interesting. It's highly experimental and I'm sure that it's one of the tracks because of which some reviewers rated this album very low. Discordant sounds with no rhythm, the a rhythmic drumming like Nick Mason on the middle section of Saucerful of Secrets. In the second half of the track, Edgar Froese plays another bluesy guitar solo which fades from one stereo channel to the other while Klaus Schulze supports him with the drums. The Tangerine Dream will abandon this kind of music after this album. I think this is why they are not considered a Krautorck band.

"Ashes to Ashes" doesn't have anything to do with Bowie. It's a short Floydian track, a sort of Careful With That Axe Eugene without screams. The noisy sounds give it a krautrock flavour but it's mainly a psychedelic track. Other than Floyd I think it pays a tribute to Doors, too.

"Resurrection" is the most melodic thing of the album. Major organ chords and somebody's quite distorted voice speaking in a language that I don't understand (German?, English?). After one minute it turns back to space-rock with keyboard, cello and percussions. This track is just a closer.

The krautrock side of Tangerine Dream. For "aficionados".

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Electronic Meditation isn't like the Tangerine Dream albums that most people know. This debut is non-melodic, avant-garde, and experimental krautrock that follows no structure other than being unstructured. Most of the instrumentation is organic (percussion, violin, cello, etc.) compared to most of Tangerine Dream's discography, but the music is clearly still electronically dominant. For being as underrated as it is, this album is actually very original sounding krautrock. Tracks like "Journey Through a Burning Brain", "Cold Smoke" and "Ashes to Ashes" feature fine psychedelic krautrock-type guitar-based jamming with experimental electronic noises filling the background, and any krautrock fan should kind a lot to enjoy here. "Genesis" and "Resurrection", though, are electronic-based sonic experiments that feature slow percussion and near-tribal fluting.

All in all, I seriously feel this album is underrated greatly. Sure, it doesn't sound much like the Tangerine Dream that people love, but this is a surprisingly good album among the krautrock genre.

Review by Warthur
3 stars These early jams from Tangerine Dream see the band emerging from the shadow of Saucerful of Secrets/Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd - and particularly the title track from the former album (just listen to the organ solo on Journey Through a Burning Brain and tell me you don't think of the "Celestial Voices" segment from Saucerful!). That said, the band (such as it was then) do a good job of taking the Floydian inspiration and making it truly their own, with a cold, foreboding atmosphere altogether different from the one Floyd achieved. Hardly T-Dream's greatest achievement but nothing to be ashamed of either.
Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars 6/10

"Electronic Meditation" is perfect dose for the addicted listener of "weird" music.

Funny that Tangerine Dream had it's dreamiest lineup with the debut album, "Electronic Meditation", an LP completely alien to the future space operas of the band. Besides the immortal Edgar Froese, who was and still is the creator and soul of Tangerine Dream, we have Klaus Schulze on percussion, and Conrad Schnitzler playing strings. It's a innocuously experimental album that sees all three musicians at the very beginning of their great career, two of the musicians of course will leave the band very soon, but will both have just as bright futures as legendary cult act Tangerine Dream.

If there are synthesizers used, they are barely hearable: this is a hallucinated, acid-like mixture of organ, flutes, strings, some percussion, and other strange effects. There's basically nothing really Electronic about this LP, as it focuses more on real instruments and puts them in this extremely trippy context: pure and simple Experimental music, a perfect dose for the addicted listener of "weird" music.

The songs themselves are what an extremely superficial cynic would call very similar one another, but a more careful listen would reveal the opposite: "Genesis" is a perfect intro for this album, feeling like a sort of distorted vision of a sunrise, the sunrise that will afterwards give that psychedelic kind of illumination to the rest of the album. "Journey Through A Burning Brain" has a perfect title that gives a very strong idea of it's music: toned down, somewhat repetitive, with plenty of strange effects, some strings in the background, flutes; the three musicians reach out to pretty much everything they have in their palette and just throw it into this slowly hypnotic piece, where it feels like everything is slowly melting. "Cold Smoke" is a little more dense in sound, however it doesn't quite give as much enthusiasm as the previous track: a little less repetitive, but admittedly it does have an interesting atmosphere that this album never brings up again. "Ashes To Ashes" is where things start getting noticeably less interesting: it doesn't bring up new, attractive sounds, and is merely repeating some ideas. "Resurrection" is similar to the first track "Genesis", however it's very anticlimactic, and doesn't give a final climax "Electronic Meditation" should have deserved.

A debut album that is not just a bunch of experimentations put together: The thing about Edgar Froese is that everything sounds carefully planned, (which is obviously absurd), and he manages to give his music a very effective meaning, so nothing he puts his hands on ever sounds like mere experimentations/ improvisations.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Electronic Meditation' - Tangerine Dream (5/10)

Although strange is a vital part of all great artists' careers, it's a little odd that Tangerine Dream's career began this way. Now known as one of the pioneering acts in the electronic and space music realms, Tangerine Dream are a band I'd associate most with sparse soundscapes, hypnotic sequences, and the general feeling of being lost out in the depths of space. Comprised here of Edgar Froese, Conrad Schnitzler, and Klaus Schulze, I may have expected these three electronic legends to begin this project on a note more indicative of their signature sound. Instead of spacey ambiance however, we get a noisy, experimental piece of music that sounds about three quarters of the way to balls-out krautrock. The innovative spirit that pervades much of their other early work is still here, but for my money, I prefer the band's more open-ended space exploration to the chaotic sounds of "Electronic Meditation".

It's funny; "Electronic Meditation" is a title I'd give to much of Tangerine Dream's output, but it certainly does not apply to the music here. The band's performance here may convey the same sense of loose composition and texture-centricity Tangerine Dream are known for, but it's brought forth through oppressive dissonance and rough distortion. Recorded in a factory, "Electronic Meditation" feels very raw in its production- feedback is as much a part of the music as are the drums and organ. The album was recorded as a rehearsal, which says alot for the way the album sounds and feels. Although there is a general rise and fall of intensity in the compositions, you can expect plenty of wandering improvisations and spontaneity on the album.

In lieu of this spontaneous, improvised nature, it's understandable that the experiments therein are hit-or-miss. In this case, the trio tends to get hits and misses in roughly equal balance. At times, the psychedelic, fuzzy guitar soloing and thick organs can make for a powerful, down-to-earth atmosphere that a more refined recording would most often lack. "Electronic Meditation" may not be great, but it's certainly interesting, and worth a listen for fans of the three musicians. Even great artists start somewhere.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars 'Electronic Meditation' was recorded in October 1969 shortly after Edgar Froese asked drummer Klaus Schulze and violin/cello player Conrad Schnitzler to join Tangerine Dream. TD had been around since 1967 and was known to perform free form live jams that sometimes lasted up to 5-6 hours. In those 2 years the band had seen more than 15 line-up changes already and also the Froese, Schulze, Schnitzler incarnation would hardly last a year as first Schulze and then Schnitzler would leave TD in the course of 1970 to join Ash Ra Temple and Kluster. Not credited but also part of the 'Electronic Meditation' recording were Thomas Keyserling (flutes) and Jimmy Jackson (organ).

No official recordings have survived from the 67-69 period and even the release of 'Electronic Meditation' was an accident rather than anything premeditated: there just happened to be a 2-track tape recorder running while they were jamming' It wouldn't be the last time that chance played an important part in TD's music. The tape found its way to Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser who released it on his recently founded record label Ohr.

'Genesis' - Contrary to what its title might suggest, 'Electronic Meditation' contains no electronic instrumentation whatsoever, instead it's free from experimental rock with an uncanny mix of guitars, drums, organ, cello, flute, sound effects and tape recorders. 'Genesis' demonstrates this very well with its eerie slide guitar and tuneless cello drones. As it goes along, distant tribal drums and seemingly random flutes add to what I believe to be a very exciting track, exemplary for what TD was about during their stay on the Ohr label.

'Journey Through A Burning Brain' - Later on Froese would cite contemporary artists such as Ligeti, Stockhausen and Salvador Dali as primary influences but in these early years it were the Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix that shaped his music, along with early Pink Floyd. The influence from the latter is the most obvious: the closing organ section of 'A Saucerful of Secrets' is literally the basis for the album's 12 minute centerpiece. The spirit of Jimmy Hendrix is very vivid in the wild jam that this track gradually evolves into.

'Cold Smoke' - An organ spinning minor chord progressions alternates with percussive outbursts. Halfway in you could swear to hear Nick Mason banging away on the skins. In the second half Froese's guitar is very upfront, climaxing on top of the layer of noise produced by the band. It's dirty and gritty but considering this was recorded on a simple 2-track tape it sounds quite ok actually. I guess the way it sounds is an important part of the album's charm (or lack thereof considering where you stand).

'Ashes to Ashes' - This time a more conventional backbeat takes the lead. It demonstrates how Tangerine Dream was still an integral part of the kraut rock scene as this track could as easily have featured on albums from their contemporaries Amon D''l, Agitation Free or Organisation.

'Resurrection' - This returns to the 'Saucerful' organ part and to the slide guitar and cello drones of the opener. It's an interesting way to end the album as the sounds and mood conjured up here would be further developed on their next album. Unlike the more rock oriented jams this particular track would not be out of place on 'Alpha Centauri'.

By far not my favorite Tangerine Dream album but still very happy it exists as the band went on to do entirely different things and we would have had no idea at all of what they were about in their formative years. 'Electronic Meditation' is a fascinating early kraut rock album but it lacks the chops to grab my attention for its entire course. As Froese recalls 'we were still a bunch of amateurs'.

Review by Modrigue
3 stars Journey through a burning Krautrock

3.5 stars

Despite its title and being the first TANGERINE DREAM album, the music of "Electronic Meditation" is neither meditative nor very electronic. Do not expect to find melodic structures, synthesizer sequences or even "kosmische musik" here, the compositions resemble more to a free hallucinated krautrock. At the end of the 60's, Edgar Froese wanted to form a band with the most crazy young artists from Berlin. Then he met drummer Klaus Schulze and experimenter Conrad Schnitzler, and this prestigious trio became the first official line-up of TANGERINE DREAM.

Not initially a planned album, the music was a jam session recorded in 1969. Surprisingly, the band was contacted by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, the director of the then new Ohr label. At the time, he wanted to spearhead the nascent krautrock movement which has just begun. Later, it's him who imposed the album's inappropriate title and its strange cover. That's how "Electronic Meditation" became the debut album of TANGERINE DREAM and one of the first studio releases of the label.

The booklet contains an esoteric poem which describes the music and tracks names as the journey of a brain from birth to death. Froese's guitar, Schulze's percussions and Schnitzler's cello and violin are supported by experimental sound and tape effects. In addition, two guest musicians were recruited: Jimmy Jackson at organ and Thomas Keyserling at flute.

Not representative of the rest of the record, "Genesis" is a disturbing wild noisy jungle opener. After a very interesting transition sound, the 12 minutes "Journey Through A Burning Brain" starts. The longest and most various passage of the record. Beginning with a calm, aerial organ, it then becomes more rhythmic, ferocious and crazy. The music is on par with the track title.

"Cold Smoke" resembles more to concrete music with its surprising percussions and odd sonorities. The finale is quite chaotic with a wild distorted guitar solo from Froese. "Ashes To Ashes" can be described as ramshackle krautrock blues, with uncommon sound effects over it. The final track, "Resurrection", can be divided in two parts. Dominated by the organ, the first half is mystical and contains backwards vocals of Edgar Froese. The second part is a reprise from the overture "Genesis".

This album proves that TANGERINE DREAM was initially thought as a rock band, inspired by the experimental side of the Floyd. At the same period, the main electronic pioneers were TERRY RILEY, MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO. and their fellow countrymen POPOL VUH. If you're looking for a genuine "Electronic Meditation", the late 60's / early 70's albums from these musicians are much more suited. After the recording, Klaus Schulze joins ASH RA TEMPEL, Conrad Schnitzler returns to KLUSTER and Edgar Froese will recruit new companions. All three initial TD members will later adopt synthesizers and sequencers to achieve success in the electronic music genre, and the rest is history...

Due to its poor sound recording quality, abrupt changes and absence of musical structure, "Electronic Meditation" is definitely not an accessible record, but certainly not the most experimental or unlistenable ever made. Don't be afraid, if you like the first half of PINK FLOYD's "A Saucerful Of Secrets" or "Ummagumma" studio, you'll surely appreciate this refreshing psychedelic free-rock. Obviously not the album to start with, but well worth a listen if you enjoy early krautrock jams or concrete music.

Review by DamoXt7942
5 stars Quite suitable to call this gem as the rise of the Progressive Electronic curtain, let me say.

In those days only cheap synthesizer-based electronic strategies or analogous mixing / dubbing techniques could be used I guess, and it's impressive they have completed such a deep, identified atmospheric sound organization even via limited methods or technologies ... as if waves in the evening break upon the shore and retreat, their sound vibes have broken our stereotype of music, and sometimes supported our mind gently and sensitively. And very shocking is each of interval changes between one track and another. Pretty mysterious all around the album.

Yes such a incredible attack comes suddenly and massively just from the beginning of the first track "Genesis". Quirky drumming irregularity and comfortable electronic awkwardness, far away from the current digitally-settled world. Weird flute typhoon in the middle is sensual in a sense. This eccentricity always makes my conjunctive congestion. And the following freakout sound trip "Journey Through The Burning Brain" gets started with intensive irritation of paradoxical sound anomalies. On the contrary, the middle part sounds like Ash Ra Tempel's Amboss, that be thought as such an authentic Krautrock improvisation. And what a tragedy, the last mellotron-ish keyboard- synthesizer-based phrase reminds me the last dead leaf has passed away.

"Cold Smoke", as the title says, launches critical cold bullets into our brain. Their cynic in this track is severe indeed. Improvised, randomized instrumental shower storm blows our ears step by step. The latter heavy riffs might be played by the combo drenched in positive psychic agents I suppose. But hey, trippy breath must be shortened sooner or later ... dreamy texture goes forward to the next step "Ashes To Ashes" featuring dry-fruity short breath by wind instruments. Exactly burning to death can be heard via their sound construction. Somewhat obvious instability of soundscape can be felt beneath their creative phenomena. The final brilliant (and a tad foreseeing) ambience "Resurrection" should be appropriate for discussing their sunrise in Progressive Electronic scene.

Bravo for one of the most important cornerstones in progressive rock history concentrating all of electronic music wisdom and knowledge. Can never forget at all how immersed in this creativity I had got. The day I stumbled upon this album should be the day my thought for progressive electronic be drastically altered definitely.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars The 60s has to be one of the craziest decades EVER in the history of humanity, and without a doubt especially for the world of rock music. When the decade began the most crazy thing going on was Chubby Checker doing "The Twist" with a backdrop of ceaseless Elvis Presley singles bombarding the radio waves and perhaps the most experimental deed one could muster up was sporting a new kind of hair wax while hanging out at the local malt shop. But once The Beatles hit the scene and quickly evolved, it seems like the entire rock universe splintered into an infinity of possibilities. While a few a scant few old school bands like The Monkees were manufactured to fill the void of grandparent friendly pop rock, much of the exploding rock universe would engage rather in reaching to the stars and beyond to create wild and hitherto unheard sounds that while a million miles from the rock and roll of only ten years prior, would technically still qualify as rock music (Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine just to name a few.)

While some were anchored within the rock paradigm on their own terms others were on the verge of becoming completely liberated from rock music's gravitational force thus allowing them to blast off into the farthest reaches of space where any notions of the limit were gleefully shed like a rocket booster free from planetary grasp. And that's where we get to one of Germany's best known experimental artists of the era, TANGERINE DREAM. While Germany's most famous experimental electronic fantastical sound makers are the stuff of legendary status in the 21st century, this band which has only seen Edgar Froese as its constant member since its humble origins in 1967 until his death in 2015 actually began more imbued with the psychedelic rock paradigm of the 60s than the ambient kosmische new age laced electronic phenomenon that it would become in the 70s. Not surprising since Froese himself would embark on a similar journey of the English speaking world and test the waters in the psychedelic pop universe with his short lived beat ensemble The Ones.

The story of TANGERINE DREAM is equally as fascinating as the explorative sonic experiments that they explored. While the English speaking world was focused on creating bands to craft clever hooky pop songs tinged with psychedelia, places like Germany found a more ambitious crowd of musicians who wanted to take the promises of "Saucerful Of Secrets" era Pink Floyd and steer them further into the far reaches of space, outer, inner and beyond. Spearheaded by founder Edgar Froese who himself was tempted into the beat culture with his band The Ones, he quickly outgrew the limiting factors as his admiration for one Jimi Hendrix advanced and cemented after meeting the ultimate artistic surrealist Salvador Dali who inspired the earliest incarnation of TANGERINE DREAM which adopted a line from The Beatles' anthem for mind expansion in "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and made it their own. After meeting the club owner Conrad Schnitzler, who was a disciple and student of Karlheinz Stockhausen, the stage was set for something new to develop. Klaus Schulze would join as the drummer along with organist Jimmy Jackson and soon thereafter the first version of TANGERINE DREAM was born.

While this lineup would barely last through the recording process of the band's debut album ELECTRONIC MEDITATION, it would nonetheless establish the electronic free jazz rock paradigm that contributed to making the German progressive rock standard stand out amongst its Anglo contemporaries despite the obvious influences from the single title track on Floyd's otherworldly call for ET contact "Saucerful Of Secrets." However where Floyd left off, TANGERINE DREAM continued the space journey which was recorded in a rented factory in Berlin in October 1969 by simply utilizing a two-track Revox tape recorder. While the technology was limited, the imaginative scope of the musicians was anything but as the four members juxtaposed clashing jazzy percussive drives with free flying organ runs, guitar glissandos and cello all augmented with a wealth of custom-made electronic devices created by Froese. Included in the mix were the unexplored potentials of sounds of broken glass, burning parchment and dried vegetables! An uncredited Thomas Keyserling also added some atonal flute elements.

While TANGERINE DREAM would become known as one of the most inventive electronic bands of all time, ELECTRONIC MEDITATION is completely unlike their more polished swan songs such as "Phaedra" or "Rubycon," but rather a true Krautrock gem that actually has periods where it rocks such as on "Ashes To Ashes" that offers a rambunctious fuzzed out bluesy guitar solos accompanied by raucous percussive outbursts and a frenetic flute struggling to emerge from the din. The free form rock would be the precursor to the more highly developed electronic wizardry but on ELECTRONIC MEDITATION, the band clearly find themselves closer to the contemporary Krautock origins set forth by bands such as Amon Duul II or early Swedish psychedelia that emerged from the likes of Pärson Sound. Whereas Pink Floyd were kept on a leash and not allowed to leave orbit, TANGERINE DREAM succeeded in completely severing ties with the limitations of the rock paradigm without yet abandoning the rock aspects all together thus creating what could technically be deemed by modern standards as a proto-form of post-rock of sort.

TANGERINE DREAM at this point was an incubator of great talent. Klaus Shculze would leave before the album was even released and would embark on his own fruitful solo career but stuck around long enough to initiate the newbie Chris Franke in as his replacement. Schnitzler would also depart and would carry on these early TANGERINE DREAM experiments on his equally rebellious Kluster. His replacement Steve Shroyder would stick around long enough for the band's second album "Alpha Centauri" leaving Froese as the driving force for the rest of the band's lengthy existence. ELECTRONIC MEDITATION is one of those brilliant albums that emerged in a time when experimentation was the driving and seemingly only force in play. This album displays a group of artists who were unsatisfied by the limiting pop influenced structures of what was deemed psychedelic rock of the day and decidedly took the listener to places never thought possible and owing influence more from the experimental classical music world of Stockhausen than say anything remotely popular of the day. While this album has not gone down in history as TANGERINE DREAM's crowning achievement, it succeeds immensely in creating the surreal sonicscapes that it set out to explore. While clearly steeped in rock in instrumentation only, ELECTRONIC MEDITATION was another example of a band ready to unshackle themselves from what little connection remained and did a rather brilliant job in the process.

Review by patrickq
3 stars Electronic Meditation has a three-part structure: (1) the experimental, anything-goes opening track "Geburt" ("Genesis"); (2) the three-track body of the album, which alternates between atmospheric ambience and guitar-and-drums freakouts; and (3) "Auferstehung" ("Resurrection"), a recap of the ambient portions of the album.

The pattern of interspersing ambient, often keyboard-based passages and freak-and-roll sections is a Krautrock trademark which would be repeated, for example, on the self-titled debuts by Faust (1971), Ash Ra Tempel (1971), and Mythos (1972). The freakout sections on Electronic Meditation are confined to the body of the album, comprising about 28 of the 37-minute runtime: "Reise Durch Ein Brennendes Gehirn" ("Journey Through a Burning Brain"), which closes Side One, and "Kalter Rauch" ("Cold Smoke") and Asche Zu Asche" ("Ashes to Ashes"), the first two tracks on the reverse.

The loose guitar experimentation which opens "Reise Durch Ein Brennendes Gehirn" provides a segue from the free-for-all "Geburt," in which the instruments are used as much for sound effects as for music. But soon "Reise Durch" is in relatively calm ambient territory. The guitars begin to re-assert themselves around 5:30, and after a few minutes they signal the eventuality of a freak & roll section which will begin in earnest about a minute later. Rhythm guitarist Conrad Schnitzler* and drummer Klaus Schulze play a rhythm, but it sounds like they're in a different studio, located on different planet, from lead guitarist Edgar Froese. This situation dissolves into an organ-based resolution around 11:00, which, with a rather abrupt tape splice, is replaced by a similar but distinct organ part playing slow-changing chords, accompanied only by flute filigrees - - in other words, more ambience.

The chillout-followed-by-freakout pattern repeats on "Kalter Rauch," but not on "Asche Zu Asche" which is four minutes of (relatively) laid-back freakout. This is the segue from the body of the record to the two-part final track. "Auferstehung" begins with the organ slowly changing chords, over which there are some spoken-word segments; the second half of the track continues to be ambient, but more atmospheric and less distinct.

In comparison to other early-1970s krautrock, Electronic Meditation is good, although it would soon be surpassed, for example, by the 1972 debuts of Neu! and Mythos; Ash Ra Tempel's Join Inn (1973), and Klaus Schulze's first two albums (Irrlicht (1972) and Cyborg (1973)) - - so I wouldn't call it essential listening for the average prog-rock fan. But its historical importance would be difficult to understate; those other albums might not have existed without Electronic Meditation to point the way.


*I'm assuming it's Schnitzler here.

Latest members reviews

1 stars God awful. Literally painful to listen to. That is how I would describe this album in 7 words, it is one of, if not the worst albums I have ever heard. Not only is the recording quality very poor the "music" is played as competently as monkeys on a typewriter write novels. I only actually list ... (read more)

Report this review (#2486291) | Posted by Beautiful Scarlet | Sunday, December 20, 2020 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The album's title is a misnomer, as the music is not electronic and 'meditation' generally implies tranquil/ambient music, which this assuredly isn't. Rather, Electronic Meditation can better be described as a mix between musique concrete and Krautrock with a psychedelic flavor. However, the albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1479496) | Posted by Replayer | Tuesday, October 27, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars REACTIVE/ESOTERIC 2012 Reissue `Electronic Meditation' is often disowned by it's participants as `not being intended for release' and other such nonsense (although as Edgar Froese freely admits, he was more than happy to take the money!). This recording came at the end of two or more years of ... (read more)

Report this review (#782645) | Posted by beebfader | Friday, July 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Electronic Meditation was an interesting start from Tangerine Dream. At this point Froese was inclined towards experimentations and free form in rock music (It is still rock, despite the enigmatic title). If you are more familiar with this group's synthesiser driven New Age and Ambient music, ... (read more)

Report this review (#579142) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In most of the bands the debut album calls a lot of attention. It is normal to see people having a kind of preference about knowing a specific band through its first album, and sometimes as just a few of a group discography is known the first one are readily among the chosen one. In some bands ... (read more)

Report this review (#415855) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Wow is all I can say for this album. A band that would change music history forever with their electronic and space travels, the band havent even gotten close to electronic with this album. Edgar Froese created Tangerine Dream with Cello, crafty Krautrock sensibilities, and a total need to r ... (read more)

Report this review (#400628) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Monday, February 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 'Tangerine Dream' starts his discography with an album quite experimental but full of charm and creativity. 1970 is also the year of the first rock planant said "electronic rock". Klaus Schulze made his first steps on "Electronic Meditation "as a drummer. Edgar Froese is here already have their f ... (read more)

Report this review (#228782) | Posted by Discographia | Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I'm shocked to see that this album is rated so highly. I'm a huge TD fan (see my moniker), and you can hear slices of promise here and there. Mostly this is of a band trying to find a path with much of the album being just strange noises. It was a rehearsal recording that was not supposed ... (read more)

Report this review (#228748) | Posted by tdfloyd | Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I really find this difficult. I´m a huge TD fan, since the first note of them i heard many years ago (I guess probably Stratosfear loop sequence), but this electronic meditation I can´t stand it. The music in here is purely experimental if you like but other way to define it is that it´s a s ... (read more)

Report this review (#70488) | Posted by rgmeli64 | Saturday, February 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is wild experimentation - it's a rehearsal recording - and it's very recommended for those interested in the late 60s/early 70s German experimental music. The line-up is stellar: Edgar Froese, Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler. Three geniuses. Obviously, this couldn't work: each went on to ... (read more)

Report this review (#65339) | Posted by | Wednesday, January 18, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What can be said about an album in which Conrad Schnitzler is listed as playing, in addition to cello and electronics, a TYPEWRITER? This is an amazing album from start to finish. The organ work gets easily surpassed on Zeit but Journey Through a Burning Brain's organ evokes some melancholic fe ... (read more)

Report this review (#46349) | Posted by | Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Okay, so it is a Tangerine Dream album with no synthesizers what-so-ever. So what! It's a fantastic album with rich compositions, a unique sound to it and last but absolutely not the least, the lunatic, in a way punk-like, guitar work of the indisputable master of the instrument, Edgar Froese. Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#32416) | Posted by | Saturday, March 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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