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Tangerine Dream

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Tangerine Dream Alpha Centauri album cover
3.57 | 410 ratings | 33 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sunrise in the Third System (4:20)
2. Fly and Collision of Comas Sola (13:03)
3. Alpha Centauri (22:00)

Total Time 39:23

Bonus tracks on 2011 remaster:
4. Oszillator Planet Concert (8:03) *
5. Ultima Thule, Part One (1971 single) (3:24)
6. Ultima Thule, Part Two (1971 single) (4:24)

* Recorded at the 3rd Internationales Musikforum Ossiachersee, Ossiach, Austria on 29th June 1971.

Line-up / Musicians

- Edgar Froese / guitar, bass, organ, voice, Fx, Mellotron (5,6)
- Christoph Franke / drums (4-6), percussion, lotos flute, piano harp, zither, VCS 3 synth
- Steve Schroyder / Hammond & Farfisa organs, voice, percussion, electronics

- Udo Dennenberg / flute (1-3), voice
- Roland Paulick / VCS 3 synth (1-3)
- Peter Baumann / organ (4-6)

Releases information

Artwork: Monique Froese

LP Ohr ‎- OMM 56.012 (1971, Germany)

CD Relativity ‎- 88561-8069-2 (1987, US)
CD Sequel Records ‎- SEQUEL 1033-2 (1996, US) Remastered by Thomas Heimann-Trosien
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- EREACD 1021 (2011, UK) 24-bit remaster by Ben Wiseman with 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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TANGERINE DREAM Alpha Centauri ratings distribution

(410 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

TANGERINE DREAM Alpha Centauri reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
4 stars For me the early work of TANGERINE DREAM rank as some of the most profound electronic albums of all time. After "Electronic Meditation", both Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler abruptly left, and were replaced by Steve Schroyder (later briefly of ASH RA TEMPEL) and a teenaged Chris Franke. "Alpha Centauri" transitioned TANGERINE DREAM away from the rock'ish sound found "Electronic Meditation" towards the interstellar deep space caverns of the darkest voyages into other worlds. "Alpha Centauri" as an album moves quite slowly and only contains a bit of percussion with the rest being a great collection of vintage keyboards. Without question I should mention the psychedelic-like state actually created here with flute and phased electronics. In many ways the 22 mins epic "Alpha Centauri" carries traces (and a creative pre cursor) to my favourite electronic album of all time "Epsilon In Malaysian Pale".

Also definitely hear PINK FLOYD's psychedelic influences throughout the album (minus the guitars and drums of course). TANGERINE DREAM for me were a band I really discovered at the tail end of my high school days and on into university life. I highly recommend you pick up the Sequel Records Re-Mastered version which is infinitely better than the Castle Records attempt to do the same... Today, I still love to play these early TANGERINE DREAM albums.

Review by Sean Trane
5 stars As Schulze and Schnitzler left Froese alone at the driving wheel of TD , the second album is even more impressive than its predecessor although very different from it.This line-up is greatly expanded , but we shall mainly remember the arrival of a young genius Chris Franke at the drums and Kb , bringing a real change in their music and probably refining and solidifying the TD sound. James again describes the music better than I could , but to me TD will not make an album thgis good for along time (75 with Ricochet). Recently re- released with one bonus track ( a single apparantly ) , the absolutely astounding Ultima Thule that complements just fine this masterpiece. This truly amazing album will lead to other more extraordinary (but less succesful IMHO) albums to come. Of historical importance like their debut.
Review by Watcheroftheskies
4 stars Well I listen to alot of different music including prog rock. I never really considered TD to be rock by any standards but this band IMHO revolutionized many movements before their time. Can you say "Noise Terrorism"? Here are it's roots in the modern music industry right here. Amazing stuff. It is notworthy to mention that the new edition of this album was released with the single Ultima Thule Part 1 which is an excellent song however short. There is not track that really stands out here. It is all just one of the most wonderful cacophonies of sound you will hear. Get this and almost anything from the 70's by this band. It's music that isn't rock that rocks!
Review by Proghead
4 stars TANGERINE DREAM already witnessed a lineup change. Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler are now out of the picture. Schulze then went on to ASH RA TEMPEL, ended up with the COSMIC JOKERS that sure didn't please him at all, and of course his famous solo career. New members include Christopher Franke, still in his teens, and Steve Schroyder. That means already the only thing TANGERINE DREAM had in common with their debut and "Alpha Centauri" is Edgar Froese himself. With this album, the band decided to drop the guitars and most of the drums and went for an exploratory brand of space "music" that would define them for their next two albums.

The music is quite a bit more lengthy than before, no more raw, aggressive psychedelic guitar jams here. "Sunrise in the Third System" proves that, with strange sounding electronics, and some sort of strange string keyboard. "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola" starts off with more electronic effects, with spacy organ (almost sounds like a pipe organ). It won't be until the end when Franke gives us some drum work. This is the only cut the album with drums. Then you get the side length title track. This is the band going in to exploratory space "music", if you want to call it that. Strange wind sounds, lots of flute to go with it and all sorts of strange assorted electronic effects. I like how this piece ends with some sinister spoken dialog in German against a backdrop of organ and wordless voices. Not exactly accessible (Exit this is not), but this is recommended for those who want something more adventurous.

My rating: 4 1/2 stars

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars What a shame! The first song has a monotonous weak organ in the background plus a a few experimental guitar sounds.

In the 2nd piece, there is a stressing mini moog that reminds me a basketball player in a gym who makes noise with his running shoes.

The piece "Alpha Centauri" sounds like if you open an external door and listen to a hurricane while you rub a cymbal!

Rating: 0.5 star

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars So this is where the real "space exploration" of TD began. Admittedly, it is a pioneering attempt at making "space ambient" electronic music, but is a hardly any more accessible than the remaining of their "Pink Years" albums. Synths are present here, but the classical instruments, guitar, church organ and flute are in the forefront. The long title track even has a lyrics spoken in German, something about "love fills the universe..." "Alpha Centauri" seems more balanced and made with a concept than the previous "Electronic Meditation", alas in my opinion this is still far from being "good progressive music", remaining in the experimental "fans only" territory. Up to 2,5 stars.
Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars After their first experimental album, Tangerine Dream launched themselves in the "cosmic" course, using more and more electronic / keyboards equipments instead of standard electric instruments. "Alpha Centauri" marked a new step in TD career. With this album they started explorations in synthesisers sounds, expanding experiments in sonomontage and electronic collages. Absolutely not rhythmical orientated, the music which prevails is built around long epic meditative / incantatory suites made by electro acoustic structures, discreet electric guitar lines and acoustic elements (mainly the flute). There's only one short track, gradually combining vintage electric organ works to guitars, psychedelic flute lines and early analog instruments. Very suggestive and mentally abstract, this tune is followed by two epic compositions dominated by the same musical ingredients. The result is really hypnotising and cerebral. The music is long, indefinitely extended in time but completely captivating. The 22 minutes title track is incredibly spacey and a timeless experience. It brings your attention first to calm, strange electronic sounds and exotic flute variations, then it progressively reach you into a total amazing universe. You have the impression that you leave our current world. The sinister, haunted lament for several voices at the end of the tune closed this fantastic adventure. Highly recommended to stimulate the listener's imagination. The summit of the band and an uncompromising classic album.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The second official Tangerine Dream album moves towards more ambient realms, combining with impulsive ideas and predefined melodic progressions. The length of the songs start to escalate from four to twenty-two minutes, like reaching for ever further distances of space in every step (currently Alpha Centauri is over four light years from Earth, so there is no quick trip there if Einstein's theories aren't wrong).

First the "Sunrise in The Third System" is visualized by careful picks of guitar, welcoming the shimmering synthesizers painting up the first rays of the heavenly sunrise. Then, "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola" starts with abstract swirling sounds, later being accompanied by calm electronic layers, reaching a grandiose melodic theme enriched with flutes, and later landing to the plane of drummings, before the collision breaks the Comas Sola's flight abruptly. Finally the main target "Alpha Centauri" emerges interestingly as distant echoes of drum plates and unclear voices. Lush elements enter and disappear like events of a dream. Later some atonal swirls bring more frightful feelings to the music for a moment, after the appearance of beautifully shimmering glimpses of stars, seen through the aural textures. Flute reappears to guide the listener trough changing landscapes of galaxies and nebulas, and the tension starts to build up slowly. As the Alpha Centauri is reached, we hear some German spoken words telling us... something very important I believe (I'm really not very educated in the language of G÷ethe). The end sequence builds up from multi-track collage of voices with organs creating a solemn wall of sounds.

What little takes off my enthusiasm from this album is the recycling of some elements already used on their first album, especially on the first two tracks of this album. Especially the synthesizer melody and drums rhythms similar from Pink Floyd's Saucerful of Secrets". These are really fancy sounding things, but they get little boring as they are overused so much, and this group could innovate also themselves more personal musical solutions than mimicking others. Well, this possibly being part of their own artistic development. I think still that the usage of these themes reveal their importance for the group, and as the expression is very free, they have studied them and matured them. The title song ending the album is a great result of this process.

Review by russellk
2 stars VCS3s in 1971. The first electronic space-rock album. There's serious experimentation going on, and EDGAR FROESE, once a pupil of Salvador Dali, is at the heart of it.

This album bears only superficial resemblance to their debut. Such a radical change in a band's sound simply wouldn't be tolerated in today's music publishing climate, but at this point in music's history it was par for the course. Instead of percussion-driven proto-Krautrock mixed with psychedelica, this album offers a quartet of swirling keyboards and a flute as well as FROESE's guitars. (The percussion is still there, but it loses the battle against the keyboards.) The addition of the prodigious 16-year-old CHRISTOPHER FRANKE will lead to TD developing their signature sequencer sound, but his impact is not immediately noticeable here.

The first track opens the album with atmospheric keyboards. It is followed by an extended piece that gradually morphs from a synth-heavy opening to a percussion-driven monster, but without the avant-garde feel of the longer tracks on their debut album. However, the album stands or falls by its epic title track, and by and large it stands. Do not expect the sequencer-driven pulses of the 1974-77 period: this is a slow-burning, beatless ambient soundscape, an electronic pea-souper, hidden within which invisible birds twitter and cry and disembodied ghosts shriek and moan. This extended effort presages the ambient tracks that appear on most TD albums during the 'Virgin' years.

An interesting if occasional listen. Not a masterpiece in its own right, the album's value lies as a stepping-stone, heralding FROESE's abandonment of avant-garde free-form 'rock' and a growing preoccupation with electronica.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars Their debut album "Electronic Meditation" is what Krautrock is all about for me. Their follow up "Alpha Centauri" sees them going further in the experimentation of spacey soundscapes. Just about all the things I liked about the debut are gone. Gone too are Schulze and Schnitzler. Interesting that AGITATION FREE drummer Christopher Franke replaced Klaus. Christopher played with AGITATION FREE well before they released their first album. The two bands often played together at the Zodiac Club, which is how Froese knew Christopher. This album is named after a star which is perfect because the music and cover art all point to what it would be like taking a trip in cold, deep space.

"Sunrise In The Third System" is haunting and eerie with spacey sounds coming and going. It gets louder towards the end. The organ helps warm things up though. "Fly And The Collision Of Comas Sola" is especially cold and empty early on as spacey sounds echo. The organ then flute arrive after 2 1/2 minutes. Great sound. Very spacey 7 1/2 minutes in. Drums 9 minutes in end up getting very aggressive as flute continues. Good section.

Alpha Centauri" is the side long closing suite. Spacey to start with. It gets a little annoying after 3 minutes with those sharp sounds. Flute 10 minutes in. Spoken words 18 minutes in. It sounds like spirits are crying out 21 minutes in.

A trip in space for all who will dare.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars One small step for a man (borrowing a synth), one giant step for Tangerine Dream

With Tangerine Dream's debut album not even released, founding member Klaus Schulze departed, frustrated by the musical limitations Edgar Froese was putting upon him. The third founding member Conrad Schnitzler also left but his departure was absent of animosity.

Thus, Froese found himself the sole founding member before work even started on the second Tangerine Dream album. Chris Franke, a 17 year old drummer and co-founder of Agitation Free was taken on, and shortly afterwards, organist Steve Schroeder would also join the line up. Significant as the line up changes were, especially the arrival of the (since) long serving Franke, the most important arrival here was the first appearance of VCS3 synthesiser. The use of synthesiser here is not nearly as dominant as it would become on future releases, its prime function being to provide strange and fascinating new noises.

In terms of musical content, Froese quickly guides the Tangs away from the intense experimentation of the debut album, towards the atmospheric ambience which will become their trademark. There is still an emphasis on the abstract here, but in a much softer and more palatable context.

The album contains just three tracks, the shortest of which "Sunrise In The Third System" opens proceedings. This four minute piece features slow moving organ overlaid with spacey sounds and effects. At the time of its release, it would have sound far more revolutionary that it perhaps does now, albeit with a clear nod to Pink Floyd. The 13 minute "Fly And Collision Of Comas Sola" was the only other track on side one of the original LP. The track features developing organ sounds and freeform flute, the synths being once again used for effect rather than as a lead instrument. As the track builds towards its conclusion, we have what must be the earliest example of post rock, with over dominant drums gradually submerging all in their path. Included in this track is a theme which would be extracted for the rare single "Ultima Thule", q.v.

The centrepiece of the album is the 22 minute title track, which occupied all of the second side of the LP. The extraordinary length of this track does not imply however that this is another "Supper's ready" or "Thick as a brick"; nothing happens quickly here. The track is more in keeping with "Electronic meditation", with lazy, ambient sounds and a generally sparse atmosphere. The synths, while present once again, are less obvious than on the two previous tracks.

In summary, "Alpha Centauri" sees Tangerine Dream continuing to experiment with sounds, moods and styles. The emphasis here relates more to the preceding "Electronic meditation" than it does to the many albums which would define the Tangs over subsequent years. This is though, a far more listenable album than the debut, due to the sounds and instruments used being generally easier on the ear. Do not be misled though, this is still somewhat challenging.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars TD was an important part of my teenage days but I was too young at the time of release to be interested in such an album as ''Alpha Centaury''. Nevertheless, I discovered this album much later and I have to say that I was really charmed by the opening song.

''Sunrise?'' only last for some four minutes, but it has the sculptural beauty of (again) ASOS from who you know. Very imposing and melodic keys. The same feel takes place after the first three minutes (which can be skipped) from ''Fly?''.

In addition to some marvellous keyboards, the light and discreet fluting adds a superb and emotional note to this second piece of music. It is just pure beauty, relaxation, happiness and joy. It is an extremely moving track which brings me shivers down my spine. In one word: BEAUTIFUL. The second highlight.

I have faced lots of personal problems recently, and I have to admit that TD music has helped me to cool down at times (which was probably what I needed most). If ever you are in such situation, believe me: this sort of album is a good antidote.

The epic and title track doesn't provide me the same emotion but it is still a fine TD experience.

Three stars.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Well, I have to agree one thing. I'm sceptical to this kind of music and this is my first time with Tangerine Dream. I don't know what I was expecting, but this whole thing failed. I though that there will be some harmonic sound, some melodic tunes, but only thing I see is stresfull bunch of weird sound on a space-like background.

There is, however, one exception. Second track (2/3) "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola" which contains nice, more instrumental rock like passage. It occupies whole song except first few minutes. But first track is pure madness (again, for me). Yeah, also last one is tragic. I really don't see anything interesting here, except "Fly and...". But I'm gonna give it two stars because I save one star for worse kind of music. This is music where I can't see almost nothing interesting. But one star deserves those which makes worse feelings to me, much worse. And second track's ten minutes are good, so.


Review by stefro
3 stars After the mind-boggling, primitive-electronic-experimental mayhem of Tangerine Dream's debut album 'Electronic Meditation' the group took their foot of the gas slightly and produced this slightly mellower follow-up with heavy sci-fi leanings. Again the crude electronics are pushed to the fore, with early synths, mellotrons and keyboards all vying for space against the backdrop of tribal drumming and strange sound effects, though ALPHA CENTAURI seems much more of a concept piece than it's predecessor. By no means essential Tangerine Dream then, but listen carefully(and I do mean carefully) and amongst the din of odd noises and deliberately spooky tones you can just about hear group-leader Edgar Froese's ear for the achingly-beautiful rhythms and patterns that would become a key-feature of the group's hugely-successful mid-seventies output. Dark, brooding and mysterious, ALPHA CENTAURI continues the group's early theme of eschewing hummable rhythms in favour of oblique, muted mayhem, though it lacks the fire and passion that made their debut such a pioneering release. Very much a case of falling delicately between two stools then, with the music too weak to break through the layers of articificially-produced sounds and the albums experimental aspects just not interesting enough to sustain the listener through the fairly-long running time. If it's primitive electronica you're after, try CLUSTER '71. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Space music -ground breaking frontiers- number one. Klaus Schulze leaves and in steps Christopher Franke. Tangerine Dream leave behind their highly regarded rock electronic debut and embark on new territory with Alpha Centauri. The album starts off with the eery " Sunrise In The Third System", great blends of synths and keys before leading into the exquiste " Fly and a Collision Of Comas Sola" where electronic soundscapes segue into one another to great crescendos, ebb and flow, as a flute overrides beautifully for a mind numbing 13 minute journey.

The title track is a 22 minute opus giving a clear indication of other works to come namely the austere and powerful Zeit. The flute again plays an important role on this album almost acting as an anthithesis to the electronic layers underneath. There are some interesting voice overs too. All in all an excellent depiction of deep space and I am sure a great portal for all those astral travellers of the time! Make no mistake this is ground breaking music, it is not silly noodling, maybe hints of improvisation but clearly excellent material released to appreciative audiences when record companies encouraged creativity. This is TD marking their own unique sound, which some 40 years later, still presents itself in their evolving music. But dismissing this classic would be foolhardy unless it is a genre you cannot comprehend.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars A saucerful of krauts.....

There's much "Floydism" in this second work of Tangerine Dream. The opener features an organ with spacey sounds. This will remain one of the most melodic pieces for several albums, but it's from the second track: "Fly And Collision Of Comas Sola" that the band starts its journey into th edeep space.

The guitar chords behind the windy keyboards are what remind me to saucerful of secrets. I find them similar to the third "movement" of the PinkFloyd's suite. When the flute enters the chords are taken over by the organ, so at the end we have a slow spacey instrumental piece with a guitar playing chords and a flute apparently improvised in a very krautrock vein, like some Amon Duul II or CAN, the organ playing like Wright at the end of Saucerful of Secrets, plus the spacey sounds and the winds of "Echoes". Told in this way it may seem a patchwork, but it's an excellent "trip" instead. After 9 minutes drumming is added. Christoph Franke is not Nick Mason, they are different drummers, but what he does for the last 4 minutes of the piece makes me think to the second movement of Saucerful, with the difference that instead of a chaotic section, he supports the flute's melody until the drums cover it so the track is closed by a drums solo with just a bit space noises and organ in the coda.

"Alpha Centauri", the title track, is a side long track. Something that will become the "rule" for the following years. The influence of Pink Floyd or psychedelia in general is still very evident, at least in the first half of the suite. TD are not yet the electronic band pioneer of ambient music that they will start to be since Phaedra. We may expect to hear astronaut voices, but at the same time the scene may be on the surface of an alien planet. The flute and the organ's square waves have something of tribal. I imagine a jungle under a blue sun, something alien and familiar at the same time. The organ and the spacey sounds are the alien element and the flute is the tribal. When the flute disappears the spacey element becomes dominant. A dissonant bass note gives some rhythm (or better tempo) to the piece, but it quickly looses every track of melody. This is the time to let your mind fly in the space. There is harmony. Even if there's no track of melody the sounds are not discordant. The flute part, after few sliding notes of guitar, is a great moment. This is classical music now. Only some high pitched keyboard notes, like in a horror or sci-fi b-movie of the 60s are reminding that we are not listening to classic contemporary music. The link with psychedelia or Pink Floyd or everybody else is broken. It's a pity that the electronic element hes become so predominant in the following albums. However, the last three minutes feature a German speaking voice over the organ. It's a melodic closure and I think it influenced the psychedelic period of Eloy, in particular Ocean.

Very close to be a masterpiece.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Alpha Centauri is the album where Tangerine Dream started to develop the sound that became their signature sound. This album is dark, ambient, and spacey. Much more electronic-based than their electro-krautrock debut album, this album features space-like synths that float and drone on-and-on coupled with dark organ melodies that echo throughout the cosmic atmosphere. Experimental electronic pulses and sound effects work with the occasional acoustic percussion and flute to fill in the empty spaces when deemed appropriate. The title track is the most experimental one on the album, and is mostly a light, airy atmosphere with fluttering flute and ghostly female voices that sound like long dead space voyagers trapped in the outerbanks of our solar system.

Highly recommended for fans of Tangerine Dream looking for some of their most experimental electronic-based work.

Review by Warthur
4 stars A major step forwards from their debut, Alpha Centauri still shows a strong influence from Saucerful of Secrets-era Pink Floyd, but the band's own unique character is beginning to show. This is especially apparent in the structure of the album; the two tracks on the first side are a refinement of their previous approach, in which full band instrumentation is deployed (including some wonderful flute work on Comas Sola) with synthesisers used mainly to provide background texture, whilst on the epic title track the opposite approach is used - there, the synthesisers are truly the stars of the show, whilst the other instruments add flavour here and there but are ultimately sidelined.

Whilst the first half of the album fulfils the potential shown by the band's past, the second half outlines an ambitious vision of the band's future, which would be followed up on the excellent Zeit. So, a transitional album, but an excellent one nonetheless. Four stars.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars 6/10

"Alpha Centauri" is an immature but still very original start for Tangerine Dream's pink years.

After "Electronic Meditation", Froese found himself with a completely new line-up, and with completely different ideas that will turn out to be quite innovating: "Alpha Centauri" was the resulting album, one of the very first LPs of Electronic music, parallel to the landmark Klaus Schulze album "Irrlicht". AC is one of those albums where it's historical importance proceeds the music itself; considering as a matter of fact only the music itself of the album, you'll find that Tangerine Dream really are still in their immature phase, even though the atmosphere they created here is priceless and very unique.

"Alpha Centauri" was the first TD album featuring synthesizers and spacey sounds. This though was really Froese experimenting new things and playing with his toys, but among the innocuous sounds still lies an atmosphere that is impressively unique of only this album. It's rough production and sound contribute also in building "Alpha Centauri"s originality, but the massive presence of flutes, organs, and even vocals, give fault to it's appearance of being a little embryonic; overall, though, it's still very peculiar music-wise, especially for that time. Tangerine Dream's main objective, even with following albums, seems to be to make the listener close his eyes and make him feel either like he's plunged into space or into some abstract field. Here we have the first attempt in recreating space, and even though not as effective and credible as later albums ( for instance because of the vocals at the end of the title track), it succeeds in some ways, and it is a good record for relaxing and zoning out completely.

"The three songs of the LP are structured climactically length- wise: "Sunrise On The Thrid System" is a brief, organ-based intro that sets the tone, while "Flying Collisions Of The Sola" starts with one of the coolest, spaciest synth effects you'll hear in any Tangerine Dream album, one of those sounds that truly convinces you you're in deep space. But after the first section, the organ comes back in, and the magical mood is partially lost because of that. This last addition seems to bring the atmosphere down to earth again, evoking still moments such as a sunrise (like the first track). "Alpha Centauri" though is another story, with it's epic 22 minutes: it brings you in places you'd never even imagine, thanks to it's very specific and detailed atmosphere; here, there is nothing else but space surrounding you, and it is really the first time of the album that you feel like that for a long period of time. Like it was mentioned, though, the vocals that come in at about the end of the song really seem like a superfluous and absolutely unnecessary addition to the music.

"Alpha Centauri" is overall an enjoyable, but immature LP still, that has some great experimentation which will be essential for the creating of following albums by the band, and also by other Progressive Electronic bands.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Coming to you live from the cold, beautiful vastness of space, Alpha Centauri is quite a treat to this reviewer. Far removed from the busy, robotic rhythmic discipline, loops and often more abstract, cleaner electronic soundscapes later in their career, this is hauntingly evocative rather than the more unabashedly cerebral efforts to come.

Effectively some sort of space ambient with robust psychedelic leanings, the pace is rather slow for the most part. A multitude of keyboard sounds and sustained, clear guitar-notes alternately drone past with planetary deliberation and dignity, shoot out like rays of light or swirl together in shifting nebulas for a short while before they dissipate into silence. Add to this the epic grandeur of the towering, sustained keyboard-chords and a bit of truly bombastic percussion combined with the warbling, swooshing and almost watery electronic effects clashing with the sparse and airy arrangements and it makes for a wonderful sci-fi journey to the edge of the universe. As many have noted, it is all a bit eerie and cold at first. The very sounds used (often with a harsh, hissy edge, sharp, icy bite, crisp clarity or echoing depth) do not provide for a warm sonic embrace either.

Yet all is not what it seems. Serving as a sort of fragile melodic anchor and a bit of fleeting earthly flair you find some beautiful, harmonically detached flute-work hovering above the music, adding a touch of flesh and blood to the proceedings. And the excitement and pulse within the amazing drum work (booming, rollicking, almost primal) on Fly and Collision of Comas Sola lends some fire and muscle to the prevailing etherealness. And although the music is structurally loose and somewhat incorporeal, moving about and evolving with a will of its own, I find it often comes together in beautiful, serendipitous little "conclusions" that are almost joyous.

Therein lies the true beauty for me. I do not think it is a very dark or eerie album at all. And if it is, it is the deep darkness in a starry sky, and the eeriness of the thoughts of the very emptiness and size of space itself. I hear the wonder of exploration paired with the gnawing fear that this is a journey that might never end. And that is goosebumps-inducingly haunting and beautiful to these ears.

4 stars.


Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1970 was again a turbulent year for Tangerine Dream. A new drummer had to be found after Schulze's exit and later on in the year also organist Conrad Schitzler left to form Kluster. But chances were turning for Froese when meeting with Chris Franke, only 17 at the time but already an established name as a jazz drummer in the original line-up of Agitation Free. The organist seat however remained problematic. One Steve Schroyder joined for the recording of 'Alpha Centauri' in January 1971 but due to his erratic behavior he had already left again by the time the album was released in March 1971. Also one Udo Dennebourg (flute) and Roland Paulyck (synth) joined for the recording session but never toured with TD.

'Alpha Centauri' marks the real start of Tangerine Dream's foray into electronic music; it covers a lot of new ground and is therefore a very representative album of their so-called 'Pink Years'. Pink? Pink must be the very last color that comes to mind when trying to describe this music; besides pitch black I'm rather seeing 'dark fiendish green' and 'sickly violet'. But no, 'Pink Years' simply refers to their Ohr label which sported a pink ear ('Ohr' in German) as the label's symbol.

'Sunrise in the Third System' - We kick off with a wonderful piece for organ, it resembles the track 'Genesis' from their previous album but now with organ and electronic effects in the lead. This time properly recorded onto a state of art 8-track in Dieter Dirks studios in Cologne. Legend has it they spent 3 weeks perfecting the sound of the organ, it's an anecdote that demonstrates how TD's history is intertwined with the development (and sometimes 'taming') of new instruments and pieces of equipment.

'Fly and Collision of Comas Sola' - One of the new toys for the boys was the VCS3 synth that features prominently here. The spirit of Pink Floyd is still strong and just like the second track of the debut, the 'Celestial Voices' part of A Saucerful of Secrets' again forms the basis for a gradually intensifying piece with thundering drums and solo flute. Is this post-rock 20 years before someone thought of that word? I think it is. This is one of my favorites from their 'Pink' era.

'Alpha Centauri' - If the first half of the album was an electronic perfection of their free-form rock past, the next 22 minutes will take us into the future, and while we're there, also into deep alien space. When Chris Franke joined TD, he didn't just bring his skills as a drummer along but also introduced Froese to contemporary composers like Ligeti and Stockhausen. The next album 'Zeit' would fully indulge in those influences but they are already felt strongly here. In fact the entire first 18 minutes are very vanguard, with free-form flute playin dueling against atonal noise from the VCS3 and other sounds processed through modulators, oscillators and echo boxes. What makes it attractive is that after 18 minutes of chromatic discord we are rewarded with 4 minutes of harmonic relief when a celestial choir of voices joins the Hammond organ for a grand finale. Still, it's a difficult piece to get into, fascinating but not exactly appealing.

'Oszillator Planet Concert' - In June 1971, Tangerine Dream performed on the Ossiach festival in Austria, a 10 day festival concentrating on world music but also featuring TD, Weather Report and headlined by Pink Floyd. Only 10 minutes from the TD gig have been released and feature on the 2011 Esoteric reissue of 'Alpha Centauri'. By that time Peter Baumann had already joined so for fans this historic recording is worth checking out. The music is very much in the vein of 'Zeit'

'Ultima Thule parts 1 and 2' - In August 1971 TD released this single, taking them on an interesting trip back to psychedelic rock. It's like a last nod to Pink Floyd's 'Umma Gumma' before they would venture into the bleak emptiness of 'Zeit'. The tracks were previously released on a 2008 compilation and they make for an interesting addition on the 2011 Esoteric reissue. If only to demonstrate how the band was still experimenting with different styles and approaches.

As with 'Zeit' and 'Atem', it will take some patience and indulgence from the listener in order to connect with this trip of eerie sounds, dissonance and spooky atmospheres. The groove and melody that made later Tangerine Dream albums popular is still absent so don't be surprised if it takes you 20 years - if ever - to get it, but in places this is sure a stunning work. 3,5 stars.

Review by Modrigue
4 stars Music to contemplate stellar systems

Whereas their first album, "Electronic Meditation", was rather inspired by the experimental first half of PINK FLOYD's track "A Saucerful of Secrets", this time "Alpha Centauri" is more influenced by its melodic second half. This second effort is the result of important evolutions in TANGERINE ALBUM, on many points.

First of all, Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler have been replaced by organ experimentater Steve Schroyder and young promising ex-AGITATON FREE drummer Christopher Franke. In addition, two guest musicians were recruited: Udo Dennenbourg at flute and Roland Paulick at VCS 3, with Franke. Second, unlike its predecessor, "Alpha Centauri" is planned to be a genuine studio album. Third, the music has now changed from free experimental krautrock to more listenable "kozmische musik". Finally, and the most important, this record is a milestone for TANGERINE ALBUM, as it shows the germans building their own musical identity, apart from other psychedelic freak'n'roll jam bands of the same period. Less rock, wilderness and improvisation, still not very electronic, however more organs, flute and contemplative moments.

The first half of the record is the most accessible, as it is greatly influenced by the magnificient "Celestial Voices" passage from FLOYD's "A Saucerful of Secrets". "Alpha Centauri" is the nearest stellar system from our solar system, and the third most brightest from Earth. The slow "Sunrise In The Third System" opens with a delicate intro, and then becomes mystical with its organ and strange sounds. Beautiful. "Fly And Collision Of Comas Sola" is a reference to the passage near Jupiter of a comet discovered by spanish astronomer Josep Comas i SolÓ November 5th, 1926. This track is longer but in the same vein than its predecessor. The first part represents the fly, with contemplative superimposed guitars, organs and flute patterns. The collision is symbolized by the second part and contains a frenetic drums progression by Franke. The single "Ultima Thule" has reminiscences with this track. These two compositions are pure cosmic classics.

The title track is more difficult to approach and may take several listens to appreciate. A somber, ambient and also experimental 22 minutes long epic. There are plenty of various soundscapes and sound effects, but hardly no melodies, and the organ is less present than on the previous tracks. The middle part can be a bit long, and the composition can sound not very structured. However, it contains some really good passages. Listening to this will let you marooned in the infinity of space. The finale, sounding very POPOL VUH-ish with its mystical organ and choir, is simply great. Overall not very accessible, but showing TANGERINE ALBUM's will to emancipate from their initial floyd-ian roots.

The cover, the title and the music are coherent, the spatial theme is respected. The sound is not always mastered, as this was the first time TANGERINE ALBUM experimentated with synthetizers. However, with this opus, Froese and co. place themselves apart from the krautrock scene, by delivering their first intemporal cosmic soundtrack. More accessible and completely different from "Electronic Meditation", "Alpha Centauri" possesses its own personality and is a mandatory stop for anyone wanting to discover or already into "kozmische musik".

After this record, Steve Schroyder will leave but nonetheless be invited as a guest musician on the next opus, "Zeit". Concerning Christopher Franke, he will stay in the band during 16 years. The dream is just beginning...

Review by Lewian
3 stars After some reformation, this is a milestone in Tangerine Dream's development. It is a very experimental album that most people will find very difficult to access. Much of the album is devoted to spacey sounds without clear structure. Only the end of "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola" has an eruption of drums, otherwise (leaving apart the Ultima Thule single that is a bonus on this issue) the music is not rhythmic but free form. Some jazzy melodic elements are brought in from Udo Dennenbourg's flute, and there are some pastoral organ sounds and some very rare guitar chords, otherwise tonality is left to the side as much as rhythm. In terms of sound experimentation, the album is quite colorful, and more radical than most that was around at the time; its spacey atmosphere with many things flying around is still something special to this day. That said, I don't find myself listening to this album much, and I have a clear preference for the following two albums Zeit and Atem which would explore the territory opened here further. On Alpha Centauri, the musicians seem still to be overwhelmed a bit by their own experimental powers. I think that they try out and play around a bit too much here. The music seems directionless at times and not as consistent as on the following offerings. Alpha Cenaturi is an interesting exploration of what can be done, but feels somewhat immature in its use of all these effects. Of the bonus tracks, I like Oszillator Plant Concert a lot, it seems like a further step in the direction of Zeit. Ultima Thule Part I is some noisy rock dominated by guitar and drums for a change. I wouldn't go to Tangerine Dream for this kind of music. Its Part II combines the space sounds and drums in a way that reminds me of the later Atem, but is better played out there.

I have huge respect for this record and know that it works very well for some. Personally I think of this as useful training for the band before they come up with the real gems.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars After Edgar Froese formed the legendary TANGERINE DREAM all the way back in 1967 it took many personal changes before the classic years of Froese, Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann would release classic albums like 'Phaedra' and 'Rubycon.' With the debut 'Electronic Meditation' Froese initiated the talents of Conrad Schnitzler on cello, violin and addiator and the percussionist talents of Klaus Schulze along with two uncredited musicians: Jimmy Jackson on organ and Thomas Keyserling on flute. Despite TANGERINE DREAM's multi-decade exploration into the world of cutting edge synthesizer technology leading the way and dominating each album in a completely unique way, 'Electronic Meditation' was a complete anomaly in the TG playbook as being the only album that contains no synthesizers but rather was a tripped out jam session that explored the furthest trips achievable through the sounds of the German Krautrock psychedelia and created a wild and rather unpredictable journey through surreal soundscapes. For some way too unfocused but the album was a masterpiece of the unconventional and pioneered the next stage of TANGERINE DREAM for which the band would become more known.

It didn't take long before the lineup on 'Electronic Meditation' started to disintegrate. Conrad Schnitzler left and founded Kluster and Klaus Schulze jumped ship and set out for an equally prolific solo career. Ironically as a trio the band didn't focus on the electronic aspects of music but once apart all embarked on similar journeys of exploring the limits of electronic sound manipulation and in the process would invent the new form of progressive electronic music called the Berlin School or more electronic oriented section of the Krautrock scene. For the second album ALPHA CENTAURI Froese had to start from scratch with a new lineup. This was when a 16-year old Christopher Franke entered the picture and replaced Schulze on the drums along with the adventurous organist Steve Shroyder who would himself only stick around for one album. Also on board were flautist Udo Dennebourg and synthesizer wizard Roland Paulyck. As a quartet TANGERINE DREAM was a completely different band and with all new members minus Froese himself and therefore ALPHA CENTAURI took on a completely different style than its predecessor.

Franke despite being a mere teenager was already quite the accomplished multi-instrumentalist and not only contributed drums and percussion but flute, zither, piano and his newly acquired VCS-3 synthesizer as well which is why ALPHA CENTAURI delved into the bizarre new world of electronic experimentation but this wasn't quite 'Phaedra' yet. This is more of a transition album from the unhinged jamming Krautrock sessions of 'Electronic Meditation' and the inter-dimensional escapism of the synthesized reality of what was to come. ALPHA CENTAURI consisted of only three tracks. Side 1 hosted the short opener 'Sunrise in the Third System' and the longer 'Fly and Collision of Comas Sola,' which took the earliest psychedelic otherworldliness of Pink Floyd space rock and completely left Earth's gravitational pull altogether. While 'Electronic Meditation' was harsh and unforgiving, ALPHA CENTAURI displayed a heavier focus on the melodic flute and a placid introspective mystical organ processions that were accompanied by various bursts of percussive bombast both refined and at times delicate but as a band the focus resulted in a less random radioactive decay affect displayed on the debut.

While the 13-minute "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola' achieved the most structured achievement in the TANGERINE WORLD up to this point, all that flute improvisation and direct energy procession completely disappears on the massive sprawling title track that originally took up the entire second half of the vinyl LP and slowly slithered on for over 22 minutes. The track points towards the direction of where TANGERINE DREAM was heading with a formless drifting of sonic possibilities that float around like seemingly randomly like the gaseous colors of Jupiter's atmospheric turbulence. Heavily fortified with Froese's brand new VCS3 synthesizer sounds, the track also incorporates psychedelic freak folk flute sounds as well as massive cymbal attacks that usurp the traditional role of percussive drive. Eerie otherworldly choral backing vocals haunt the tail end of the piece along with occasional guitar sounds, reverberating organ drones, pulsating synthesizer freak outs and sine wave generators. There was even a coffee machine that was used to create mysterious sounds nestled somewhere in the mix. Some of the rare spoken vocals occur in the German language towards the end.

ALPHA CENTAURI has the distinction of being the very first electronic space album and delivers an entire album's worth of otherworldliness that Pink Floyd initiated with the title track on 'Saucerful of Secrets' but never built upon it thereafter. While ALPHA CENTAURI may have gone too far and too fast for even the burgeoning Krautrock scene, it nevertheless paved the way for the more focused efforts of the following 'Zeit' and the true birth of the Berlin School progressive electronic world of 'Phaedra.' Existing somewhere in between the band's beginning and ultimate classic period, ALPHA CENTAURI is as unique in the TANGERINE DREAM canon as was the debut and an absolutely fascinating display of early progressive electronic engineering splintering away from the context of a rock music paradigm altogether. The album was accompanied by the non-album single 'Ultima Thule' which was a much more accessible slice of psychedelic rock that implemented heavily distorted guitars. Both parts of this track are included on the newer remastered versions but are hardly essential parts to the ALPHA CENTAURI experience as they seem to be trying to keep the band grounded in the more commercial aspects of music which clearly weren't suitable for the band's telescopic cosmic visions. While not the crowning magnum opus of TG's career, ALPHA CENTAURI is still one wild ride through the untamed sound fields of the nascent world of synthesizer explorations.

Review by patrickq
3 stars Tangerine Dream bandleader Edgar Froese made some substantial changes on Alpha Centauri, the group's second album. Most obviously, he replaced both of the other members of the band. But the really significant difference between Alpha Centauri and Electronic Meditation, the group's debut, is that Froese has dispensed with much of the experimentation and all of the freak-and-roll jamming, bequeathing the latter to Ash Ra Tempel and other West German bands.

As a result, Alpha Centauri is not a very daring album, at least not musically - - and somehow that works. The key, I believe, was in recognizing which aspects of Electronic Meditation could be recombined to create a cohesive sound. Alternately, Froese might've seen Tangerine Dream's first album the way I do: a juxtaposition of ambient and freakout jams - - two very different styles. Perhaps he decided against trying to travel two roads at once.*

Although it's definitely minimalist compared to its predecessor, Alpha Centauri still seems overdone in places; the flute and sound effects in the second half of the title track is one such case. But in general, the album is a slight improvement Electronic Meditation, and is a logical bridge between Electronic Meditation and their 1972 double-LP Zeit.


* Interestingly, my (digital) copy of the album contains a bonus track, "Ultima Thule Part 1," which was released as a single in 1971. It uses rock instrumentation, including a drumkit playing a steady beat - - quite different from either of the albums to that point.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #127! Tangerine Dream's second album, 'Alpha Centauri', was probably the most organic they ever sounded. The synths are only background effects and flute, organs, and occasional percussion are in the forefront. Like many of their other albums, 'Alpha Centauri' is prone to long, d ... (read more)

Report this review (#2935721) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Monday, June 26, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One may consider this the truly first Tangerine Dream album, because we have here a kind of music that was to be developed by them in next albums and was to become their mark in musical scenario. Some can call this spacy rock music, and to my point I agree with it. I may say also that this m ... (read more)

Report this review (#415858) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars By the time of their second album, it has become obvious that Tangerine Dream were going away from the Krautrock influences and going with an extremely original and ambient direction, even if the music has not yet been perfected like such later albums as Phaedra and Rubycon. And with Klaus Sc ... (read more)

Report this review (#401304) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Tuesday, February 15, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the first album of progressive rock with a synthesizer, Tangerine dream already noted for his experimental side, will move here in a close atmosphere and the strange, escape assured ... Sunrise in the third system shows the effects of sunthetiseur, already the sound is the Tangerine Dream ... (read more)

Report this review (#230150) | Posted by Discographia | Wednesday, August 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What an incredible recording is this, one of the first cosmic electronic records ever. While this is greatly enjoyable musically for those who appreciate the genre, It has it's historical importance too since the band members introduced the VCS 3 synth in here, while the use of this electronic in ... (read more)

Report this review (#113450) | Posted by samhob | Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Synthesizer and keyboards based album, with the melodies mostly carried by flute and some guitar, but very understated so they don't interfere with the monotonuos voyage that make up the bulk of the material. Very spacy atmospherics that is enjoyed better in the dark than during daylight. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#90860) | Posted by DeathRow | Thursday, September 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is where it all began! This is where Tangerine Dream started a music revolution. Less guitars and drums, more and more synths. But it's not all synths, there's flute, organ, guitar and drums as well, but the synths are starting to take over in Tangerine Dream's music on this album. Klaus Sch ... (read more)

Report this review (#32427) | Posted by | Monday, April 25, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The best album from Tangerine Dream... Alpha Centauri is, probably, my favorite album of all. "Sunrise In The Third System" begins the record in a fine way, with a just AMAZING and trippy keyboard theme. "Fly and Collision of Comas Sola" is the music that I'd like to go on forever... I can stop i ... (read more)

Report this review (#32426) | Posted by Fant˘mas | Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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