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ALPHA CENTAURI

Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic


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Tangerine Dream Alpha Centauri album cover
3.53 | 240 ratings | 29 reviews | 17% 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
The first electronic space album in history.

Lyrics

Search TANGERINE DREAM Alpha Centauri lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Edgar Froese / guitar, bass, organ, coffee machine
- Christoph Franke / percussion, Lotos flute, piano harp, zither, VCS 3 synth
- Steve Schroeder / Hammond and Farfasia organ
- Udo Dennenbourg / flute, words
- Roland Paulick / VCS 3 synth

Releases information

LP Castle EMS 346

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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Thief: Original SoundtrackThief: Original Soundtrack
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TANGERINE DREAM Alpha Centauri ratings distribution


3.53
(240 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
17%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (30%)
30%
Collectors/fans only (9%)
9%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

TANGERINE DREAM Alpha Centauri reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#32419) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
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.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#32420) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, August 23, 2004

Review by Watcheroftheskies
PROG REVIEWER
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!

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Send comments to Watcheroftheskies (BETA) | Report this review (#32421) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 05, 2004

Review by Proghead
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Send comments to Proghead (BETA) | Report this review (#32422) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2004

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

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#32424) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005

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.

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#32429) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Content Development & Krautrock Team
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.

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Send comments to philippe (BETA) | Report this review (#39655) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, July 17, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
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 Göethe). 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.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#149599) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 08, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#168192) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, April 20, 2008

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2008

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.

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Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Monday, June 08, 2009

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
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.

(((22)))

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Posted Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Alpha Centauri kicks off the electronic Tangerine Dream experimentations. It's stunning how artists could get a record deal for this kind of impossibly hermetic and - frankly - self-centred doodling. Long live the 70s, people dared to take risks back then, regardless of commercial potential. The result is the first album in a long series of excellent Tangerine Dream releases.

Countless attempts have been made to describe the music created in their early: cosmic, abstract, eerie,... It all fits the bill. I'd say it sounds just like the artwork: dark, spooky, frightening, harsh, and totally out there. Next to the experimental electronic sounds, Udo Dennenbourrs flutes should sure be mentionned. They are added in seemingly random fashion and mostly in horminic and acoustic dissonance with the remainder of the music. I'm not sure if the result is an entire success and even after 20 years with this record I have difficulty making sense of them. Anyways, no other TD album would have (live) dissonant flutes such as this.

As with Zeit and Atem, a lot of patience is demanded from the listener in order to connect the eerie sounds and dissonance into something that makes sense. The groove and melody that made later Tangerine Dream albums popular are still absent and make this a tough listen. So don't be surprised if it takes you 20 years to get it, but a stunning work this sure is.

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Posted Thursday, September 03, 2009

Review by stefro
PROG REVIEWER
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

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Posted Monday, March 15, 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.

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Posted Monday, July 12, 2010

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
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.

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Posted Monday, February 07, 2011

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
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.

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Posted Friday, February 24, 2012

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Italian Prog Specialist
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.

//LinusW

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Send comments to LinusW (BETA) | Report this review (#930289) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, March 15, 2013

Latest members reviews

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 05, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Their second album is one I first heard in '87. At the time I wasn't that keen on it, but now I just love it to bits. It has dated very well in that Bowie kind of way (sounding rubbish in the Eighties, ok in the 90's and great now). Alpha Centauri sounds like a haunted house from the 1920's! Ve ... (read more)

Report this review (#208858) | Posted by Dobermensch | Thursday, March 26, 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 Fantômas | Friday, April 01, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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