Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Tangerine Dream Phaedra album cover
4.16 | 905 ratings | 76 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Phaedra (17:35)
2. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares (9:43)
3. Movements Of A Visionary (7:57)
4. Sequent C' (2:20)

Total Time: 37:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Edgar Froese / organ, Mellotron, bass, guitar, Synthi A & VCS3 synths, producer
- Christopher Franke / Synthi A, Moog & VCS3 synths, keyboards
- Peter Baumann / organ, electric piano, Synthi A & VCS3 synths, flute

Releases information

Artwork: Edgar Froese

LP Virgin ‎- V 2010 (1974, UK)
LP Virgin ‎- 87 761-270 (1974, Germany)

CD Virgin ‎- CDV 2010 (1985, UK)
CD Virgin ‎- TAND 5 (1995, Europe) Remastered in HD by Simon Heyworth

From TD website: This album's name derives from Greek mythology and it was the »opener« for the band's international career in May 73. For most of the sequences, the Moog sequencer was used for the first time on a Rock & Pop record.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry


TANGERINE DREAM Phaedra ratings distribution

(905 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (11%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

TANGERINE DREAM Phaedra reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars What can be said here but its simply TANGERINE DREAM at their best. Recorded with their best line-up (Froese, Franke and Baumann) TANGERINE DREAM create a symphonic masterpeice sure to please all fans of head music. Songs are slow and very spacey in delivery giving the listener a deep need to journey off this planet with them. "Phaedra" represents a milestone really in electronic music history as flutes and guitars were overlayed onto the electronic passages creating a "new sound". Sound effects were carefully chosen and cleverly support the feeling of the music. This is a great recording to relax to and is best understood in dark lighting with perhaps the stars of the evening sky being your only source of light.
Review by Watcheroftheskies
5 stars I said it before, they lead music revolutions before their time. Does "Ambient Techno" sound familiar? This is an excellent prog album. You can't even sum up how sublime this album is in words only listening will tell of it's magnificence. I own well over 1500+ CDs and somehow this CD makes it off my many shelves and into my CD player often. Probably because it is mind-blowingly awesome.

Phaedra, the first track is haunting and at the same time incredibly beautiful and exciting. The second track, Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares, is a wonderful piece as well capturing the haunting overtones in the first track with some very compelling and well constructed synth effects. The beginning sounds allmost like homunculi, whispering to their evil masters in the dark forest taunting your dreams. This leads up to the very gorgeous third track Movements of a visionary where you have 2 synths in syncopation with each other to create an almost inhuman rhythm that takes your mind to other places. The final track is quite short and is a somber repose to the album, haunting and dreamy.

This is another excellent album by TD and it not only defines their next approach to their sound in this era, I belive it redefines electronic music altogether.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Add another halfstar. If you were to draw a straight line in between the Zeit-Atem period albums and the Ricochet-Stratosfear albums this one would stand a third of the way and Rubycon wouls stand at the second third of the way. The major difference between Atem and Phaedra (other than their fight with the great Ohr label and their signing to Virgin Records ) is that the sounds produced here are more structured , more symphonic (or less nightmarish if you please) and that there are times at which theire is a semblence of a ruthm track. This is an absolute major album both historically and artistically. For anybody who has doubt about this being prog (Í'm speaking here of the younger generation who did not live this 70's discovering album by album these groundbreaking soundscapes and hailing Froese & Co. as musical adventurers - Indiana Jones at Sonic Temple of Heaven) , imagine that all these sounds of birds and waves that you ear, were made with almost prototype synths and all of those albums were revolutionary - therefore progressive by essence.
Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Sometime back around 1974-75, I read an article in Circus (remember that rock mag?) about German rock. The piece opened up a new realm of progressive rock for me, and I soon purchased excellent albums by Teutonic acts like Can, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul II, and Nektar (the latter were, of course, not Germans, but simply based in Germany). The writer of the article described the sound of Tangerine Dream as "music that melts," and intrigued, I bought a copy of PHAEDRA.

At first I really didn't know what to make of what I heard (my initial reaction to Can's FUTURE DAYS was much the same). The music of the German keyboard trio was very spacey, laid back, and, for me, somewhat boring. A confirmed convert to prog via pioneering and dynamic bands like Yes, ELP, Crimson, and Genesis (my then favourite), I found myself waiting for something to "happen" as I listened to my new TD album. Soon, however, with the lights out, the incense burning, and headphones on, I developed an enthusiastic appreciation for this often lovely -- yet at times scary -- "music that melts." (I still find that phrase to be a very apt descriptor of the output of the trio's golden 74-79 era.)

As other reviewers have noted, PHAEDRA was a product of TD's classic lineup of Froese, Franke and Baumann, and by this time synth technology (and, presumably, the instruments owned by the band) had nicely caught up to the group's ambitious new direction in electronic music. For my tastes, PHAEDRA is the first truly great TD recording, where the available tools are finally "up to the task" of what is being attempted -- and so successfully attained. (I have a copy of the earlier GREEN DESERT, but quite frankly find it to be boring and rather dated in its sound: full of faux "wind" noises, and the kind of cheesy early synth chirps, bleeps and primitive "ray gun" effects that you hear on old "B-grade," late-night sci-fi reruns. "Plan 9 from Outer Space," anyone?)

PHAEDRA is an important, influential and fully-realized masterpiece of early electronic prog. It's the perfect backdrop for reading (science-fiction, fantasy, or horror, naturally), dozing, loving, or just contemplating the arcane mysteries of the lava lamp. Please don't be put off if it doesn't immediately grab you! Turn it up, turn out the lights, close your eyes (don't try this in your car!) and drift gently away to a past future time, as envisioned by three German synth visionaries of the early 70s. Essential stuff!

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Tangerine Dream - First off let me add I am self admittedly a BIG Virgin Years fan. Although I have had heard earlier works like Atem and Alpha Centauri my knowledge of those is limited and hopefully, time permitting, I will add to my Pink Years collection in due course. What I did pick up was that the Pink Years were more untenable and ambiant in nature except Electronic Meditation. Anyhow Phaedra the first of the Virgin year releases is made up of four tracks all of which are stunning in their composition.It is not hard to see why the majority of the reviewers gives this album 4 or 5 stars.The Franke/Froese/Baumann combination releasing TD's best albums in the 70's,Phaedra IMO was the watershed album for TD to release more structured ' defineable' sound, so it has almost a pioneering like characteristic to it. It was a breakthrough work that many other bands around that time had not managed to achieve. Phaedra the title track is a masterpiece so is ' Movements of a Visionary'.This great work by TD acted as the catalyst for many many fine albums to follow by the band up until just before their last 2 Virgin Year releases.
Review by Proghead
5 stars Drastic change in sound for the band, after a move to Virgin Records. The album "Green Desert", allegedly recorded between the time the band was with Ohr and with Virgin, did not surface until 1986 (but because of all the '80s digital add-ons to that album, I find that really suspicious, and wonder how much of that was really recorded in 73)? I guess the reason why "Green Desert" was shelved for 13 years was because of the COSMIC JOKERS, a little project consisting of late night jam sessions with the likes of Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching, Jürgen Dollase, Dieter Dierks, and Harald Großkopf, in which these sessions were released behind their backs and with no royalties paid (this especially pissed off Klaus Schulze, as he started filing lawsuits against Rolf Ulrich Kaiser, head of Ohr, who just changed the name to Kosmische Musik). Schulze would rather wish everyone forget about the COSMIC JOKERS. Edgar Froese stayed out of this, and once said he refused to be a part of Kaiser's "cosmic circus". To be fair, the COSMIC JOKERS albums are very much worth looking in to, and I highly recommend them to those who enjoy ASH RA TEMPEL, Schulze, or early TANGERINE DREAM, for that matter (which should come as no surprise there), start with their self-entitled offering or "Galactic Supermarket" first.

In England, Atem was a favorite with radio DJ John Peel (who I understand just passed away recently) and named it 1973 "Import of the Year". That was enough to get Richard Branson interested in the group and have them signed to his Virgin label. So TANGERINE DREAM went to England and recorded "Phaedra". They totally moved away from the experimental space sound of their Ohr albums and let the synthesizers take center stage, rather than just electronic effects. It also helps that the band finally got a hold of a modular Moog. This album also marked the beginning of the "sequencer- era", which would last until the 1980s, because this is where they started experimenting with sequencers. There is also a minimalist feel to the album, making me wonder how much Terry Riley they've listened to. But this still didn't prevent the album from having that sinister, otherworldly atmosphere, as the side-length title track only proves. "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" is truly Edgar Froese's time to shine, as it consists of almost nothing but Mellotron. He made no bones about being a big fan of the instrument (and also admitted he stopped using the instrument by the end of the 1970s once polyphonic synths started playing a bigger role in their music), and it also explains why his second solo offering, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale is about 80% Mellotron. "Movement of a Visionary" returns to the sequencer method, with this synth pattern, which "Sequent C." is a bunch of overdubbed flutes, all courtesy of Peter Baumann. Surprisingly this album became a huge success, and it obviously establish them as one of the big name electronic acts here. This is truly an essential album for all electronic fans.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unlike the first albums, Zeit and Alpha Centauri, this record has beat and is quite less monotonous or linear. The structure is a bit more elaborated, and there are many mellotron parts. As it is the case for all the early Tangerine Dream albums, there are several scary psychedelic moods that make those albums not convenient for parties. There are even some acoustic instruments like flute, which express well what is desolation and solitude.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars the time

This is the earliest Tangs album I have, on a rather well worn vinyl copy too! Having listened to a number of other albums by the band though, I have to say that it is hard to differentiate chronologically between a lot their albums. At the risk of upsetting die-hard fans of the band, the one thing they do not seem to do much is progress. Perversely for prog, this is not music which demands the full attention of the listener. It is ideal to have on while reading etc., as background music.

As with much of Tangerine Dream's work, "Phadrea" sits on the peripheries of prog rock, in the Electronic/New Age direction. The music slowly paints textures and landscapes, the pace never rising above sedate, this band never "rock out". Forget the strong melodic tendencies of Genesis, the metal based incessant rock of Dream Theater, or the intricate complexities of Spock's Beard, "Phadrea" is arguably not very musical at all. The sounds the band create are best described as washes or waves, which flow over the listener. Those who have experienced Rick Wakeman's new age period will have a fair idea what to expect, although even that appears more structured than much of the output of Tangerine Dream.

The music is synthesiser based, the sounds the band created at the time of the album's release being strikingly unique, indeed futuristic. Those listening to the album for the first time now will probably consider it to be "of its time", since what was futuristic then may well sound dated now. That said, it is surprising how the repeated electronic motifs the Tangs use as the basis for some sections of their music, particularly the slightly more upbeat and structured sections, can be found pretty much intact on what is now known as trance music. The driving dance backbeat may be absent, but the tape loop style repetition of a series of notes is what trance is all about. The Tangs were doing this 30 years before it became hip.

While there are four tracks in total, with the title track occupying the whole of one side of the LP, there's little to differentiate the tracks. If you enjoy one of them, you'll enjoy them all.

This review is written from a very pragmatic view point and probably fails to capture the emotion and atmosphere of the music. For me, "Phadrea" is a highly enjoyable album, but it is important that those unfamiliar with what Tangerine Dream are all about, are aware of their distinctive approach to their music.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Phaedra" starts with a fabulous mysterious abstract wall of sound, allowing one to feel of floating in the outer space among the star constellations. Soon quiet sequencer loops start to create the rhythm and later this pulsing grows stronger. I must admit that I'm not a big adorer of the aesthetics related to this solution, as sometimes it sounds like there is not much progression occurring on the track. Some parts also sounded familiar for me from their following release "Rubycon". After ten minutes the song moves to much better direction, as the sequencers fade out, and musical landscape morphs to a big dreamy hazy mist. This element of the musical palette of this group is something I truly respect. Also the second track "Mysterious Semblance at The Strand of Nightmares" follows this style of not being much fenced with mechanical rhythms. The name of the track is very descriptive, and for those having Mellotron-fetish the listening of this track is possibly mandatory. "Movements of A Visionary" starts with magical whispers which lead the listener to another world of sequencer rhythmic realm with distant voices and dramatic organ chords. This shorter run of the similar theme of the title track works here better. The album closer "Sequent C'" is short but very, very beautiful and melancholic musical vision. Robert Fripp's solo soundscapes of the 1990's sound quite similar to this composition.

Thought the title track isn't the most wonderful piece of music I have heard, this is still very interesting and beautiful meditative record, which I would warmly recommend to anybody interested of relaxing and thoughtful vintage ambient-like music.

Review by Fitzcarraldo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was TANGERINE DREAM's first album for Virgin Records, and the group's first major success. When it was released in 1974 the novel electronic sound aroused curiosity in the music Press and amongst music lovers, especially fans of Progressive Rock. As far as the often-tuneless electronic soundscapes of artists in the electronic genre go, this album is surprisingly accessible. In those days this sound was exciting and fresh, and the album was a hit in many countries.

The atmospheric sounds on this album were created primarily using Mellotron, electric organ, electric piano and analogue synthesizers (including the then novel Modular Moog). Flute and bass were used too, but mesmerising electronic sounds are the predominant feature (although the haunting, overdubbed flute on 'Sequent C' is notable). There are a wide variety of electronic sounds: hypnotic, pulsing sequencer; ebbing and flowing swooshes that sometimes sound like waves on the shore; droning; warbling; hissing; cawing sounds like seagulls; whistling sounds like song birds. Some say the tracks sound eerie or have a desolate feel, but I don't get the creeps or feel gloomy at all. A sound clip of school children at play is used at the beginning of 'Mysterious Semblance At The Stand Of Nightmares'. 'Movements Of A Visionary', with its hissing and high-pitched noises, does sound a bit spooky initially I suppose, as does the floating flute on 'Sequent C'. The overall effect of the album, though, is very relaxing, particularly if one is mellow.

I'm not a huge fan of the electronic genre, although I do have a few albums and enjoy them. If you only want to buy one example then, in my opinion, this seminal album is the one to get. It really is extremely pleasing and works very well either in the background or as something for chilling out. Some of the solo albums of EDGAR FROESE and former member KLAUS SCHULZE have a very improvisational feel to them but, to me, "Phaedra" feels more crafted and streamlined.

As to the rating, I'm in a quandary. Until a year ago when I bought the CD I had completely forgotten I used to own the LP thirty years ago, so that might indicate the music is not memorable. However, I'm enjoying the CD and, in terms solely of the content, would classify it as at least a 4-star album (Excellent addition to any progressive music collection). Given the album's historical importance and the fact that I think it is the best example of this type of music, I also feel I should classify it as a 5-star album (Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music). Anyway, I think I'll be conservative and settle for 4 stars, as there are several other albums I would take to that desert island before this one. Nevertheless, if you're a newcomer to electronic 'space music' you can't do better than this one in my opinion, and I doubt you'd regret owning it. Even the understated cover art, painted by EDGAR FROESE, is pleasing and appropriate. Highly recommended.

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars In general I write tons of reviews about symphonic prog but in fact I should write more about electronic music because I love this genre since the mid-Seventies. My electronic taste is only restricted to Seventies albums by Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Neuronium and Synergy and I am delighted about Cosmic Hoffmann and a bunch of new electronic bands like Free System Project, Red Shift, Airsculpture, Return To The Origin and Rudy Adrian, obviously inspired by ... Phaedra!

For me this album is on the same innovative and exciting level as A Farewell To Kings by Rush, El Patio by Triana and Santana his eponymous debut LP. Listening to Phaedra I try to imagine how mindblowing it must have been when the electronic aficionados heard it for the first time: four compositions (between 2 and 17 minutes) with unique aural landscapes featuring ominous Mellotron layers (wonderful violin-Mellotron waves in Mysterious Semblance..), pulsating sequencers, weird and spacey synthesizer sounds, some psychedelic sounding Farfisa organ (in Movements Of Visionary) and amazing interplay between the three keyboard players Franke, Froese and Baumann. OK, it's not everybody's cup of tea, many would say "boring" but I prefer to describe it as "hypnotizing" and "compelling".

For me it's unique music that still succeeds to generate lots of excitement!

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Well, now I really fear for my life! Only a reviewer here casted a vote like mine. Despite the importance of the record in the evolution of the whole prog movement in general and in the german scene in particular, I cannot say this is my cup of tea. I agree that there is a dreamy and a completely new "spacey" mood all over it. There is also a wonderful and massive use of "vintage" keyboards. It is not enough, for me, though. I don't think more listenings will work, I understand it clearly now.

It's more like a sort of experiment for ears useful to enlarge the usual restrict horizons. Maybe it's because I still have to acquire the taste. Maybe. It's a new musical and prog experience. Never tried before. A prog symphony suspended between forward and backward. A concert of minds that had to be a mystical adventure in a cathedral, as Tangerine Dream did at their time, impressing the audience. Perhaps that should be the best way to introduce correctly those like me.

The repetitive pattern is hypnotizing, at the risk of being "boring". Risk partially avoided by the continuous variations and upgrades of the musical level as we listeners were floating in the empyreal. It becomes a sort of limbo for me when I cannot decipher the complex plot builded by the visionars Froese, Baumann and Franke.

Suggesting, for sure and even spectral, but extremely hard listening.

Review by Prognut
5 stars After a great deal of consideration, regarding which album I would like to review to commemorate my first 100 reviews in our favorite progressive music web site, I have decided on this one, one of my favorites of all times!!

A mind-blowing piece of art!! Which has aged like one of the best wines and after 30+ years' sounds and "taste" even better.

First are foremost, I have to say that frankly I do not think that I can write a much better review than some the ones before me; so, I am not going to drive you insane with more on that; I will not either, attempt to convinced you on any way possible to get this album (yes!,. right..); on the other hand if you would like to obtain a copy of this album then, please by all means, go for it!! I have seen online copies going for as low as $8, can you believe it! Less than half of what a B. Spears, Madonna or M. Jackson albums cost nowadays, no wonder why our society is so artistically and financially screwed right now, honestly I believe than somehow we need to spiral up and not down!! At least on what we refer as MUSIC.

Electronic music and kruatrock in general IMHO are one of the most underrated genres in progressive music, and that may have been the reason why all around this genre (Electronic) has been rather financially successful and "mainstream" (right! Like Zeit.), nevertheless it remains at the disguise of many people progressive in all the sense, and I do believe strongly that especially electronic-progressive is an acquired taste, kind of the same with fusion!! Now be clear about this, I am not talking about "new age stuff"! Electronic music as a type of art once it melts in you, with or without, the poison of your choice is rather rewarding.

PHAEDRA is one of those albums that flows naturally over 37+ minutes, and let you at the end wishing for more! Layer after layer of synth (Moog, melotron and what not.), guitar and even flute, this is a wet dream for a connoisseur of progressive music, that shows the essence of what the Berlin-School will and had become, just an absolutely essential stuff!!

I give this album 5 stars mainly because, in part it marks a swift point in what electronic music did become and in doing so became a pivotal piece of music history (at least in what progressive music refers to.) that even the best current bands in the electronic scene, consider as a constant fuel of inspiration; but also, because in THIS GENRE stands as a really MASTERPIECE all around!!! Just another album from TD IMHO deserves however a 5 stars rating, and that will be also the mind-blowing "Force Majeure". But almost anything they did between 1970- 1980 (including the live stuff.) will get 4 or 41/2 stars in my book, amazing and spectacular 10 years.

So, if you are serious about Progressive Music, or you are just starting to digest electronic-progressive music, do your self a favor this Christmas, and buy for $8 a copy of this amazing piece of art.

Review by Neu!mann
5 stars The Prog Archives review guidelines caution against indiscriminate abuse of the 5-star rating, but honestly: how could a recording of this magnitude not be credited as essential listening, even if only from a purely historical perspective? Tangerine Dream would go on to make better albums: compare this one to something like "Ricochet", the band's first (quasi) live recording, released only two short years later but showing a remarkable leap forward in sophistication and style. But none would have the immediate impact or lasting influence of this breakthrough 1972 effort, which almost single-handedly lifted serious electronic music out of the avant-garde ghetto into the rarified air of the rock music charts.

In retrospect it might be hard to appreciate exactly how popular the album once was, or why it should have been so successful. The stone-age synthetic rhythms can sound woefully antiquated to modern ears spoiled by more than three decades of subsequent technological progress. Listen closely to the 17+ minute title track, and at one point you can actually hear the sequencer tuning gradually coming unglued, cueing a quick fade to safer atonal territory.

Primitive or not, the album still managed to almost crack the Top 10 in a crowded UK marketplace, selling more than a million copies in that country alone: quite an accomplishment for a trio of Germans operating well outside the already wide-open musical terrain of the early '70s. Maybe audiences, like musicians at the time, were simply more adventurous then than now: try to imagine something equally as radical enjoying the same sort of mainstream success in our own (mostly) toothless consumer-entertainment culture.

As with any new language, musical or otherwise, the voice has to emerge before a vocabulary can be established. This was the album on which Tangerine Dream found its voice, and with only a little mental arithmetic it's still possible to recapture the exhilaration of hearing, as if for the first time, what must have seemed like an entirely new plateau of musical evolution.

Review by Starette
3 stars Well this is my first taste of anything near-to-techno from the seventies. Would you call this techno? No. Didn't think so. More ambient, ephereal, scary background music to take drugs by. (and no- I'm certainly not encouraging that.) Or look at art by Salvadore Dali or any other awesome surrealist. But, word of warning: don't listen to this album if you have a hangover. It does things to your mind. :/ Yes...I've experienced that. This is a strange album to start my reviewing routine with again, after a year or so of non-reviewing limbo. Because I don't find it particularly enlightening. Apart from the fact its different to anything I've ever heard from the 70s before. Let alone from Germany. Be here we go. Phaedra was the woman in Greek Mythology, wife to Theseus, who fell in love with Hippolytus her step-son and ended up hangin herself. I'm being a good little Classicist and giving you the background to the theme here- but special thanks to my boyfriend who just told me the difference between Phaedra and her mother Phasiphae- who fell in love with a bull and thus produced the minotaur. :) See? There's a REASON why I chose to be a Classicist. ..Too bad my boyfriend seems to be a better Classicist than me.

1) Phaedra: Well this is like a space movie. When I think about it, it's like Edgar, Christoph and Peter got together with their synthesizers and said "Lets SCARE people!". I can't say I've ever been one for space rock but I guess this the closest i'll get to it. This piece seems to put us in something like Space Odyssey 2001 or any other crazy psycological-thriller space movie and say "These are the aliens...and this is the cockpit of their space ship." What it is, essentially, is a constant beat of electronic sounds which develop all the way into slightly frightening background music. Or is it slightly sad? Look out for Edgars bass guitar and mellotron- it's probably the most catchy and it comes and everything else on this album.

2) Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares: Anyone read Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics? Ok- maybe I'm going off topic- but this music certainly sets the theme. This pieces starts off like an ocean. But the synth inbetween the sound of the shore sounds lovely in the harmony between the notes. Too bad all three musicians use synths cause I can't give anyone credit here! Whats that a helicopter I hear? man this is weird...and it goes on too. The end sounds a bit like the start os Led Zeppelins 'No Quarter' thanks to Christophs keyboard and/or moog. And then it just 'bubbles' (and I mean it actually 'bubbles') away...

3) Movements of a Visionary: This starts off with shaky echoes. I can't really say a lot about this track except that it made me say 'Well this DATES it." It uses the same repetitive technique that the last two tracks did but theres something definitely 70s about it. Whereas the other tracks on this album, if you didnt know they came from 1974- you could place them anywhere after 1968. But don't throw eggs at me when i say that this piece isn't even *vaguely* exciting or catchy in the slightest. Background is what it is.

4) Sequent C: This is the most eerie and ambient of all. But it's my favourite :) It's not because it's much shorter than the others but because there is something a helluva lot more melodic as opposed to the other 'lets make scary electronic sounds' tracks. There was also something rather...well..GREEK about this music. Relating to the album title. Full praise to Peter with the spell his flute puts on us. This is the first Tangerine Dream piece I ever heard.

Overall I'm giving this album a three star rating- but really I'd rather give it 2.5 points...somewhere inbetween 2 and 3. This is because it is interesting to listen to. But I have better things to do. What does this album purport to do anyway? It's not to sing along to. It doesn't make good background music for a party...Both these outcomes are because its not melodic. in general anyway. Sometimes it's not even catchy. But it does make good 'thinking' music- when you're along drawing a picture. Or you can close your eyes and imagine its the theme music to an alien movie as I mentioned before. Just try not to have a mental breakdown to it. You never know when THAT could happen.

Review by russellk
4 stars The first ten minutes of this album changed the way we thought about music.

Immediately others began exploring the ambient and techno territories that FROESE, FRANKE and BAUMANN had discovered. JEAN MICHEL JARRE went and bought himself a suite of expensive hardware after hearing this. BRIAN ENO incorporated TD motifs in his own ambient music. The new wavers of the 1980s owe their existence to TANGERINE DREAM: GIORGIO MORODER, HAROLD FALTERMEYER and others ought to be paying the TANG a percentage of their royalties. From the 1990s THE ORB, ORBITAL, APHEX TWIN, AUTECHRE and the like all owe a debt to TANGERINE DREAM, as do the hundreds of lesser trance-exponents who followed.

These first ten minutes pulse with a goosepimply insistence, a constantly changing kaleidoscope of sound courtesy of FRANKE's moog sequencer. Though it sounds somewhat dated now, given what digital sequencers and other equipment can do now, nothing - I mean nothing - like this had been heard before. The nearest analogue I can dredge up is PINK FLOYD's 'On The Run' from the previous year, but that had little of the pure attention-grabbing excitement of this. An ethereal opening, followed by a pulsing noise I can only describe as something like a liquid engine at rest, set the scene for the arrival of the ever-evolving pulse-blip, TANGERINE DREAM's signature sound. It's used here, as in subsequent albums, as the foundation for the gang's instrumental flights of fancy, notably the swirly synth at 3:35. And when the pulse changes at 7 minutes you know you're in the presence of genius.

That said, the rest of the album is more like their 'Pink' years of their first four albums, mostly ambient soundscapes created with mellotron and synth, though even these are somewhat more accessible than the avant-garde drone of 'Zeit'. None of FROESE's soaring guitars, sadly, but they can be found in subsequent releases. These days I consider 'Phaedra' a four-star album, but it is essential listening, if only for the first ten minutes.

A work of art that will be remembered centuries hence.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I read how brilliant this album is on prog archives and a magazine rated it among the best of prog rock albums so naturally I had to taste and see. Unfortunately, the taste was bitter and to this day I just cannot grasp this album, yet I love most prog rock.

Tangerine Dream fail me completely.

I have no interest in their brand of music or their slow meandering wallowing of techno ambience. I can appreciate their influence on ambience and experimental music, in a similar sense to Soft Machine's approach to jazz, however one needs infinite patience to appreciate this and as much as I tried to enjoy this, I found it to be a cosmic brain drain.

Tangerine Dream are certainly progenitors of electronic music and glacial landscape music like no other band. I have a strange affinity for cold, bleak music such as Kraftwerk and Jean Michel Jarre, but it is at least accessible as music, whereas Phaedra feels like filler music for 2001: A Space Odyssey, or background music for the TV show Cosmos. There is no structure to the music, and it labours on minutes and minutes of one note cold stark rhythmless and patternless, almost improvised sessions. At times we have a synth pad that continues and there are no changes or beats and it is totally draining.

The only tracks of note are the excellent sounds of "Sequent C". and to some extent "Movements of a Visionary" is interesting, especially the intro section, and deserves its place as one of the best ambient pieces I have heard. I have the album Stratosfear also, and rate that a lot higher than this so-called masterpiece. Even then TD are an acquired taste and not for the average music listener.

The music is so difficult to absorb, it becomes tiresome and I do not know what it all means. It is so slow moving, at a snail's pace at times, and the changes in substance are so subtle they are hardly noticeable so it very quickly loses the attention span and is absolutely forgettable. Artistically, there is obvious purpose behind the music and some will revel in this, but not me. I was completely lost when I first heard it, and I still can't find more than 2 stars for "Phaedra".

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I've added a half star because of how influencial and significant this album was when it came out in 1974. It really did turn on a world of people to this Electronic genre. There are several Electronic albums I like more than "Phaedra", I mean it's not even my favourite TANGERINE DREAM album, but I hold it in high esteem. This would be the first time they would use sequencers to counter the spacey soundscapes instead of drums.

"Phaedra" was the opening side long track. It opens with spacey sounds that build quickly and then settle in. It's dark. Pulsating sounds come in before 2 minutes. Mellotron washes in a minute later. It continues to be spacey with a rhythm. The intensity rises after 9 1/2 minutes and mellotron comes in at 10 minutes. A calm follows and is interupted by these strange sounds 12 minutes in as mellotron returns. No beat, just beautiful mellotron waves. It gets louder 15 1/2 minutes in. Just after 17 minutes we can hear the faint sound of children playing as the song ends.

"Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" is pretty much Froese playing mellotron with electronics coming and going. The electronics really remind me of PINK FLOYD early. This is my favourite track, it's simply incredible. "Movements Of A Visionary" features a lot of electronic sounds that come and go. A beat arrives before 2 minutes. Lots of spacey sounds and organ follow. A calm 7 1/2 minutes to end it. "Sequent C" features mostly Baumann playing flute that seems to rise and fall.

Obviously a must have for all Prog fans out there. We all could use a little spacey music in our lives.

Review by MovingPictures07
5 stars One of the finest electronic albums ever made and an album that defined history. That cannot be said about many albums of their respective genres, let alone a genre that is often misunderstood: progressive electronic. No other group has pioneered more in the realms of that genre arguably than Tangerine Dream, particularly in their Virgin years, and this album is possibly their most historically groundbreaking.

1. Phaedra: 17 minutes of sheer spooky, mellotron and keyboard-driven insanity. This is near impossible to describe, the sonic textures flowing from sound to sound right in your ears. This is perfect music for studying, relaxing, or meditating! I often like to play this album, and particularly this track, during the winter in the evenings. It is incredibly expressive and this track is simply a journey from beginning to end into a world that Froese and the crew construct for you. Never unexciting! 10/10

2. Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares: Yes, the title says it all. I might even like this song more than the previous title track; and I want it to be played at my funeral. It is perhaps one of the most eerie, beautiful songs I've ever heard in my entire life. This song features even more emotionally-played mellotron than the title track. This is the epitome of head music, a whole world opening up inside of your head as you hear it. This track makes the album a masterpiece alone. You simply have to hear it. Definitely in my top 5 favorite songs of all time. 10+/10

3. Moments of a Visionary: How can you top the previous track? Well, you really can't, but this song does a pretty decent job of following. In contrast to the all-encompassing blanket of warmth that is Semblance, this song starts off immediately as being more distant. It then builds perfectly into an icy journey (or so that's how I vision it) and is another very effective, mood/head song. Very effective, but barely misses the mark of absolute perfection. 9/10

4. Sequent C: A very haunting way to end the album, and also very short. However, it is just as effective as the previous 3, continuing the atmosphere laid out through the entire album yet being as memorable as the ones that came before it. The meticulous and well-written craftsmanship of these songs is amazing, and this is no exception. 9/10

If you think you know everything about music and haven't heard this, get it. However, if you're looking for a certain sound and don't have an open mind, you may not like it, as this music is nothing like Yes, jazz fusion, or prog metal. Of course, if you've read all of this review in this particular sub-genre by this artist, then you must be interested. So there are no exceptions. Buy it now. You won't regret it.

A masterpiece of progressive rock. 10/10

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars Voilà!

This is the first TD album I ever purchased. At the time of release (which means a long, long time ago).

I was absolutely fascinated by these wonderful and magical spacey sounds from the title track. It was something I had never heard at the time (but I was only fifteen).

Of course, there are people who might tell you that this music is quite loose and full of improvisation (but I'll come back on this while reviewing the great ''Ricochet'' album) still, it brought me into some sort of ''second'' state of mind. ''Phaedra'' did the job in '74 and it still has the same attraction to my ears.

This album starts the most brilliant period of the band (that's my HHO) which will last till the wonderful ''Stratosfear''. I guess that if I loved this record so much at the time of release (and I still do), it is because of its relation with one of my Floyd's fave (ASOS of course). A difficult approach, but once you got there: you just belonged there.

The title track is of course overshadowing the second side but there are delicious moments as well available on side B. The best of all is probably the long and ? mysterious '' Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares''. A moving track which is on par with ''Phaedra'': it holds beautiful keyboards moments (but this is the least one can expect of TD): melodic, cold, and impressive. A second highlight.

IMHHO, this is an excellent album. It will lead to great things to come and IMHHO this is a truly innovative album. I just believe that there are not enough reviews for this album here on P.A. Of ''historical'' influence, this album is for sure a must.

I wouldn't rate it as a masterpiece (because of ''Movements'' and ''Sequent'') but four stars are damned legitimate. Better things are still ahead though.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I find progressive electronic music more indescribable than most other forms of music, and this is definitely no exception- it's an art form that almost needs to be heard to be judged at all. Words fall short. Yet reviewing, by nature, is done with words, so I will give it my best. That said, Tangerine Dream's most celebrated work is a dark and gloomy affair, but a masterpiece of the genre in my thin book. The strange thing is, no matter how hard I try to concentrate on it, the hypnotic nature of the music loses me, and suddenly I am drawn back into it and wondering at what point it all shifted- kind of like lying in bed on a sleepless night, thinking of a series of things, only to reach a thought that begs an auditing of the thoughts that led up to terminal one. Again, words fail.

"Phaedra" Somber and meticulous, a repetitive electronic rhythm rises from the musical mist. But that first lead instrument, which sounds like a modulated Mellotron, grabs me each and every time. Bird-like noises surface in the airy, almost bleak landscape of music. The latter half is empty and yet somehow full, full of unseen life- a fullness that resonates from somewhere within.

"Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" Dirge-like and somber, this music is melancholic and reflective, as though depicting a quiet funeral on windswept snowy mountains. Each texture washes over the next like a watercolor masterpiece.

"Movements Of A Visionary" Odd noises abound until the electronic rhythm can fade in. A church organ follows. This is the most difficult to follow despite its relative brevity- perhaps that is due, ironically, to its simplistic nature.

"Sequent C'" This final track offers more despondent tones, bringing the album to an abrupt but meditative conclusion.

Review by Sinusoid
4 stars Boring minimalist background music...or is it?

Tangerine Dream get a ton of kudos from me. Normally this type of music is just unbearable for me to sit through; long mellotron drones, spacey synth effects, studio tampered flute, etcetera, etcetera. It's the type of music to space out to as it takes a lot of willpower and patience to concentrate on the ''music'' (I put music in quotes; to be explained later). Even as I throw four stars at PHAEDRA, I still find it difficult to pay attention to the whole of say ''Mysterious Semblance''.

It's more of an album to be appreciated rather than loved or cuddled. There's rarely a moment that could be considered ''music'' in the traditional sense as most of the pieces convey moods, soundscapes and abstract ideas as opposed to musical notes. If you eliminate the idea of music requiring melodies, meaningful lyrics and structures, it's hard not to appreciate what PHAEDRA is doing.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Too slow, too atmospheric and too repetitive, even given that I can enjoy all of these things when they're not too much. I saw how it worked with all of you (other people reviewing here), so I though, when it's rated so highly, wouldn't it be great album to start with Tangerine Dream ? (The band about which I get to know via analysis of Dream Theater's Octavarium). OK, it has celestial sounds, mostly repeated 4-8 times (4/4 rocks, I mean electro-rocks), sometimes 16 or even 32x with only minor variations. I already found album that I don't like at all (Alpha) and the one that I can enjoy (live, read my review), but this fails to get my attention and not that I hate it. OK, typical rock music also repeats the ideas (chorus/bridge pattern) and prog rock (note the word "rock") has far more pleasant form & has more space to some experimentation (while, again - note the word "while" being still relatively easy to listen) and so on.

2(-), with only better piece being this: Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares, so all my senses tells me that this is music "only-for-fans", strange, this means that almost everyone is fan here.

Explanation: I didn't grow up with this music, so I have to judge them by my rational, adult mind and also I'm not keen fan of electronic music, nor find it interesting so much as others. It can be a reason too. First track i really disappointment.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars This pioneering highpoint of the electronic genre will ultimately be a mixed bag for those who did not grow up with, or have had prior exposure to its vintage sound. While certainly not bad, when one ignores Phaedra's legacy and reputation the end result is a sort of psychedelic noodling, droning away in the background of the room being too abstract to enjoy taken by itself.

For those of you who exploring this band, be prepared for long, slow, tepid atmopherics with little in the way of craftsmanship or direction. The layered synthesizers of Phaedra will appeal only to the most esoteric of listeners. While most songs have their good sections (such as the hellish drone occuring at the 8 minute mark in the title track), the majority of this album feels improvised; I did not get the impression that I was listening to songs, rather the drugged-up experimentation of three guys in front of keyboards. Their tone sometimes captures one's imagination, but is mostly morose and unappealing-- even funerary at times.

Approaching this album objectively is challenging for any reviewer, given its years of high critical praise... but it's my honest opinion that it is entirely overrated. It takes a special set of ears to find much to enjoy here, and I feel that most new listeners will be better served by easing into the abstract tapestries of Tangerine Dream through more-- dare I say-- conventional prog bands, many of whom feature more thoughtful compositions and musicianship than I heard throughout Phaedra. Therefore, I proudly give Phaedra the "fans only" rating.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm definitely far from the right person to review a Progressive Electronic album and especially a Tangerine Dream such. Still, if you liked the ratings and comments that I've been making in the past it would feel unfair of me to hold back my personal opinion of music that is outside my so called comfort zone. It is with these words that I let the first sounds of Phaedra to, once again, wash over me in all their glory!

Seeing that most of the previous reviews have covered the background story of how and why this particular release has achieved the classic status that it holds today, allow me to skip right to my views on the material itself. The title track is a dark and atmospheric piece that is dominated by a sequencer sound with underlying keyboard buildups throughout almost 2/3 of the track while the final part works as an ambient-like outro with only the synthesizer sounds keeping the flow up until the end. This composition is undoubtedly an important statement in the world of electronic music since it manages to create certain patterns and textures that manage to keep the listeners attention all thorough the 17 minutes of the the track with a well structured music pattern delivered all thought the piece. This is something that I've previously heard on the first two Klaus Schulze albums (Irrlicht and Cyborg), but while those music experiments relied on a minimalistic approach Tangerine Dream actually showed how a complete suite soaked in electronic sounds could be achieved.

Even though the title-track is a marvelous execution of an idea that has been in the works ever since the dawn of the electronica genre I'm afraid that the final product is far from being flawless. The transitions between different sections of the composition have yet not been mastered by the band since their goals obviously lay elsewhere. This is especially apparent during the 10th minute of the performance where the sequencer sounds fade out rather abruptly leaving a lot of hollow ground behind them. This is something that Tangerine Dream would perfect with the release of the two followup albums Rubycon and Ricochet.

Side two of the record is where the band pretty much said -- "We have already achieved our goals on the side one of the album and so why not just add a few experiments here in order to prolong the experience?". This is at least how I feel when listening to these 21 minutes worth of electronic music. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares is the most interesting piece out of the bunch even though it comes off sounding a lot like something that Klaus Schulze had already perfected by this stage of his career. Movements Of A Visionary is another sequencer experiment that doesn't manage to cover any new ground over the course of the mere 8 minutes and instead comes off as just a directionless jam that fades out into obscurity and never leaves a lasting impression on me. The final 2 minute Sequent C' is memorable for Peter Baumann's flute even though I actually had to read it before acknowledging the flute sounds that are incorporated here. This is definitely a filler track if I ever heard one.

It's difficult to rate Phaedra by the usual standards since it generally comes off sounding like electronica fans only release to the unexperienced ears while the indulged ones bound down into submission whenever the title is even mentioned. Technically I should consider this an excellent addition to any prog rock collection based solely on the reputation that this album has already established for itself. Still I find Phaedra to be a hard cookie to crumble, especially considering that Tangerine Dream's output would improve even more with the followup releases. Therefore it's merely a good, but non-essential piece of music that should be explored just like a trip to a museum where you get to admire the early take on the formula that we now almost take for granted.

**** star songs: Phaedra (16:48) Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares (10:45)

*** star songs: Movements Of A Visionary (7:58) Sequent C' (2:17)

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars The popularity of the work in the especially 70's might always be high in a long activity of Tangerine Dream and the announced album. Complete album in their work groups. Or, directionality to decide to some degree as construction and the prototype of the music character might have been especially established in the line of Froese-Franke-Baumann.

Flow that derives from music character that he was influenced as matter for Edger Froese to decide music character of initial Tangerine Dream and root perhaps. And, the situation in which meeting and the progressive music in an initial activity with Klaus Schulze are gradually devoted oneself. And, it proposes and the realization concerning the directionality of music by Chris Franke. These will be able to be caught as establishment and evolution concerning the music character that the group gradually did.

The music character gradually converted from the part of Rock that is the root for Edger Froese might be remarkable in the work in the especially 70's. It is clarified by the joining of above-mentioned Chris Franke and Peter Baumann.

Edger Froese made remarks on the music character of Tangerine Dream at this time. "We discovered the rhythm with the synthesizer" This remark will have been proof to understand the music character that had to be done especially before and behind the music character of this album enough.

The music character at this time of them indeed demonstrates the taste of a synthesizer and an analog sequence enough. The sequencer that evolved back became possible to express the sound of the level that almost one it. Musical instruments to introduce were main currents at the time of 1973 announced the album. theyThe ability of Mellotron is demonstrated enough and, of course, expands width to this album for the expression of the album.

In addition, musical instruments to introduce to actually make the music character at which the introduction and they of musical instruments at that time had aimed an embodiment might have had to be drawn out to its maximum. It is said that work to combine the performances by an analog sequence as some phrases was done in this album. It is a flow of a space anacatesthesia that rules the whole of the album as a result. Or, it succeeds in giving the construction of a peculiar rhythm by coming in succession of the sequence. There might be a part where it agrees with the remark of above-mentioned Edger Froese to some degree.

"Phaedra" is an album announced for the first time after Tangerin Dream transfers the register to the Virgin label. The gold record has been acquired in seven countries in the world. Or, the result in 15th place has been left for the chart in all Britain. The popularity of this great achievement and the album might be brilliant. However, often, their music characters at this time also have the opinion made for thought to be reflected a little. Therefore, it might often have given a difficult impression and the impression of the ambiguity. Of course, "Phaedra" of this album name means the woman transmitted to Greek myths. However, music to make them make it to the embodiment especially aiming might be very high-quality as the work at this time. It is a simple ambient and doesn't stay minimal. It is likely to be able to catch exactly as a synthetic music of the relation to Krautrock and the quality. At that time, the music that they had given with this album was very novel.

"Phaedra" starts by repeating of the ambient and the sequencer and constructing the rhythm. Sound of decoration with upper register in close relation to loop of rhythm that flows quietly. Or, the rhythm that the sequence gives freely changes the pitch and unites the flow enough. Sequence in close relation to melody of synthesizer of solemnity. The response and motion is used properly well and one space is created. Part where rhythm was emphasized. The repetition progresses while showing various respects. Construction and the progress of the sound in which the kaleidoscope is reminiscent might be splendid. Rhythm by operation of pitch and construction of melody. The abilities of musical instruments by the analogue are satisfactorily indeed demonstrated. It rushes into the part where the sound of nature is recollected after the rhythm by the sequence becomes interrupted. Coming in succession of sound of decoration with diversity in close relation to chaotic development. Or, Mellotron that gives a complete melody might be perfect.

As for "Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares", the melody of Mellotron and Organ gives the listener the impression of the solemnity. Characteristics of musical instruments are demonstrated and the construction of the sound piled up excludes an extra impression completely. The flow that they are made to complete the progress of almost complete melody and Chord while giving the impression of the solemnity and to progress might be good. The characteristic of all keyboards is demonstrated enough. It is decided by the obbligati that the melody and Mellotron that will give a classic impression before long give. A mysterious sequence that often appears also expands the width of the tune.

A vocal sequence moves freely in "Movements Of A Visionary". The metallic sound twines gradually as a little enchantment part and a space sound progressing at the same time. Part of sequence that gives priority to part where the upper register was considered and is repeated. Or, when the melody of the organ twines, the tune enumerates the speed. The melody of the gaga rhythm and the organ remarkably shows the directionality at which they had exactly aimed. And, it is partial of coming in succession by the sound of the decoration to demonstrate an analog characteristic enough. A chaotic flow shows various respects repeating dismantlement and restructuring. The composition for which it appeals enough to aural of the listener might be splendid.

In "Sequent C'"an ambient element by a hard melody is feature. This tune is a tune by the name of Peter Baumann. The melody with a beautiful flute gives the listener an acoustic impression. The flow constructed by making good use of the Delay effect will give the listener a mysterious sense.

Especially, it might be an album that boasts of a complete perfection in the work in the 70's that they announced. And, the listener thinks about this album and "Rubycon" as a pair.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars With Phaedra the Krautrock is gone as well as any acoustic effort, apart some remaining flute notes from Baumann. This is probably the first TD album which totally deserves the label of "Progressive Electronic". There's much of Edgar Froese's side projects. I see a clear parallel between Phaedra and his solo work "Aqua".

This side long track lives of repetitions and changes of pitch. Like in other long TD pieces, it seems that 5 minutes is the limit over that a change in the structure is obliged. In this case the tempo is a little faster and the sound is darker. The major chords of the first 5 minutes are now minor and also the spacey noises are full of tension, specially when the tempo increases (at minute 10, of course) then suddenly stops to leave room to a psychedelic spacey section. The keyboard mood of the last minutes is dark but the spacey sensation is able to mitigate it. The only bad thing that I see in this suite is the sudden end of the keyboards part which leaves some children's voices close the track.

"Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" is an unusually structured piece. I mean that a so melodic piece is not usual for Tangerine Dream. The helicopter and the windy sound interrupt the quiet mood for a while, but this track is maybe a precursor of NewAge. Great if you are in the right mood.

"Movements of a Visionary" starts with unstructured space noises that after less than two minutes acquire a rhythm first, then a sort of electronic theme, quite similar to the one of Phaedra completes the starting phase. I have to say that I like this track more than the most famous Phaedra. It contains more things in half the time even being very similar in the structure.

"Sequent C'" is an excellent closer. Only two minutes, but very evocative.

The first totally electronic act of TD after their first psychedelic period is still one of their most acclaimed albums. Not yet a masterpiece for me but surely an excellent addition.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars Phaedra is the album that got Tangerine Dream recognized, and it should be obvious why after listening to it.

The atmosphere that Tangerine Dream is able to create on Phaedra is amazing: cold, snowy, alienated, lonely, enigmatic. The synthesized choir sounds caried by the rough wind, bleak pulsing, and sounds of possibly arctic birds echoing through the soundscape on this album. Though the tracks all have a enigmatic feel coated with spatial loneliness, the sound is very full. The mellotron is very prominent here among the other electronics, so fans of symphonic progressive rock should find much to enjoy here.There are individual tracks on this album, but the similarity in feel on the tracks make everything seem like a big suite.

If you're looking for a great starter-point for becoming a Tangerine Dream fan, this is most likely the best choice. Highly recommended.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Tangerine Dream underwent an incredible transformation on their move to Virgin Records, producing this classic album which heralds a new synthesiser-dominated style for them. Cold, ethereal, and ghostly throughout, Phaedra is one of the spookiest electronic albums out there, with wailing mellotrons, mysterious flute, and heavy use of sequencers creating a thick miasma from which sonic shapes emerge and fade away. The album shows some influence from ex-member Klaus Schulze's Cyborg, which was recorded some months before, but whilst Schulze preceded Tangerine Dream into these electronic realms, Tangerine Dream forge ahead into unexplored territory as soon as they enter. Another five star classic, their best since Zeit.
Review by SaltyJon
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There is no genre I'm familiar with for which the infamous quote "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture" by...well, whoever you believe said it (I personally like to think Zappa) holds more true for me than (progressive) electronic music. Most often, for the groups I enjoy most, all conventions of song writing and structure are thrown out in favor of sequences, textures and epic length. Tangerine Dream's music is a prime example of this sort of music. There is no chorus, no verse, no refrain...what there IS is slowly changing patterns on sequencers, textures from mellotrons, sound from Moog, organ, etc. No words here, just patterns which can practically hypnotize listeners if they allow it.

Phaedra is the first released Tangerine Dream album to follow the band's infamous "Pink years," also known as the era when they experimented with sound, made more "avant-garde" electronic music, also known as the era of the group which many think is horrible (I, on the other hand, think those four first albums to be among the strongest of the band's career). Phaedra is also the group's first on a major label, with a major label's money, so we see the group expanding their arsenal of instruments, not to mention updating their music to have a more consistently structured sound.

The music on this album and its successor, Rubycon, is still very compelling and pleasing, but for me it lacks some of the adventurous spirit of the first four albums. For me, the band peaked two albums prior to this one (the absolutely stunning Zeit), but at least the first six albums are all wonderful. Four (and a half) stars from me for this one, as it's a consistently pleasing experience to listen to.

Review by seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Taken as a whole 'Phaedra' is like some grand synthetic collage, a shapeless musical panorama where structure and orthodoxy have seemingly gone AWOL. And because of that I think this baffled nitwit's attempts at describing the album will ultimately be as futile as trying to describe the individual blades of grass on my garden lawn. Nevertheless...

The epic title-track was clearly inspired by Classical mythology, although it sounds as if it could as easily have come from some far-flung cosmic wasteland as from the realm of the Greek gods. Phaedra, the shameless wife of Theseus king of Athens, tried to seduce her stepson Hippolytus and then planned his destruction when he rejected her. Phaedra in turn hanged herself when her treachery was exposed. For me, the divergent branches of this desolate piece of music represent Phaedra's mental crack-up and the transmigration of her soul to the depths of Tartarus. The music is pervaded with a sense of doom and I can even hear her tormented 'voice' near the end of the piece.

While the title-track is like some long dark odyssey, the paradoxically titled 'Mysterious Semblence at the Strand of Nightmares' is full of light and peace. Edgar Froese's Mellotron saturates its atmosphere with melody while around it hover little bubbles of electronics and wind effects.

From the seeds of its eerie beginnings, 'Movements of a Visionary' grows into the most rhythm-oriented track. Tribal percussive sounds give the track its stability, and when combined with its ethereal organ it sounds like music to accompany some clandestine futuristic ritual.

After this track's dark elemental drive, the calm and mysterious 'Sequent C' has something of the quality of a frivolous dream that brings a feeling of peace and completeness to the album.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 8/10

"Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's zenit: a visionary work of art, that borrows new ideas, but focuses on creating new ones that still sound modern today.

With the Pink years behind their backs, Tangerine Dream with "Phaedra" have started not only a whole new period of their career, but also showed the world how to make Electronic music. "Phaedra" still is an exemplar album in terms of Progressive Electronic and Ambient, if it's not the band's masterpiece (perhaps considering instead "Rubycon" or even a previous album), it is in any way an album that helped shape certain forms of music that today we find all over the place.

One of the main reasons why "Phaedra" is now a classic is because of Tangerine Dream's bold and innovating insert of sequencers, thus, the album's technical qualities, including the wonderful production, are pretty modern sounding for 1974. It's still though your Tangerine Dream album that is heavily dependent from the Pink years, with abundant sonic abstractions and brave new experiments that can't be found in no other band's music.So it's not only about the new equipment: Egar Froese loves to bring back, as if it were a toy just re discovered from the attic, more primitive instruments he used in his earlier works, like the mellotron, the organ, and even a guitar. Noticeable VCS3s also fluctuate around in many moments. Altogether, using the most popular and best new insruments for Electronic music, Tangerine Dream with "Phaedra" create a well organized pack of pulses and noises, generated by some of the visionary musicians of the seventies.

Thematically, there is a big difference compared to albums like "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit" or "Atem": while these mentioned albums liked to have space as a concept stimulator, "Phaedra" focuses more on abstractions, journey into minds and into psyches, instead of distant planets and stars. Structure-wise, though, "Phaedra" will be highly familiar, especially for whoever listened to "Atem", prior to this 1974 release. Length-wise the LP is built anti- climactically, with the longest song being the first and the songs after that getting progressively shorter. It is a formula the band liked to use back in the day, no question.

The sixteen minute title track that starts the album manages somehow to not be the complete center of the whole LP: The synths are metallic bubbles that eventually evaporate into crisp, misty atmospheres, it's a masterful, versatile track that can be creepy as well as touching. "Mysterious Semblances On the Strands Of Nightmares" goes towards a more juvenile direction, with a sample of kids screaming echoing throughout, and with a shy organ keeping the mood. The creepiest episode comes after that, "Movements Of A Visionary", fluctuating echoes of sudden synth sounds that really gives a twist to this album, until it eventually cools down in the crispy atmospheres that surrounded "Phaedra". "Sequence C" is a really short track that doesn't get enough time to deliver the same things the other ones do, even though it has great promise.

"Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's zenit, even though only a small tad superior to albums like "Atem" and "Zeit", both in my opinion great classics. With the use of some familiar formulas, the band brings to the table wonderfully modern sounding sounds. Essential listening for whoever is into Electronic music and Progressive as well, due to the influence this album had given to that genre later on.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Phaedra' - Tangerine Dream (8/10)

There's little doubt nowadays that Tangerine Dream was one of the true pioneers of the now ubiquitous electronic music genre. Although I was first introduced to this band through the majestic "Rubycon", "Phaedra" was the record that really saw Tangerine Dream breaking out to a broader audience. Though I have no doubt that this is a great piece of music, I do find it surprising that this forty minute block of space-sound would have sparked any brand of mainstream attention. While not necessarily challenging to listen to and digest, Tangerine Dream's approach is incredibly ambient. Surely enough, its lax structure and meditative sound may leave listeners in the dust. Given the right mood however, Tangerine Dream delivers one of its best trips on "Phaedra".

Being a listener most accustomed to heavier forms of rock and metal, there's no doubt that Tangerine Dream's sound takes some getting used to. Unlike the myriad forms of dance and electronic music that have no doubt spawned from what they helped innovate, Tangerine Dream aims for an incredibly mellowed sound. Melody and even rhythm are left in the cold; texture is the lifeblood of "Phaedra". Best exemplified by the eighteen minute title piece, Tangerine Dream works with sounds slowly and deliberately, taking sweet time to craft and gradually shift electronic sequences. Suffice to say, if I heard this being played in an electronic club nowadays, I'd either pinch myself or be convinced I was the star of a David Lynch film.

True enough, it may sound boring in description, but Tangerine Dream makes it work beautifully, if only due to the wonderful atmosphere and depth of the textures used. Having heard this album's follow-up "Rubycon" first, I'm left with the impression that "Phaedra" is a little less experimental, or 'out there' than what would come for Tangerine Dream. Although Tangerine Dream foster a masterful use of sound and texture on "Phaedra", it does not feel quite distinguished enough from other Tangerine Dream releases for me to call it an all- encompassing masterpiece. Like much of this band's output, it only fits a certain mood for me. Some will likely see "Phaedra" as little more than sonic wallpaper, but there's a meticulous design to what Tangerine Dream has done here that keeps it interesting for many a listen. Check it out!

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I had a very unconventional introduction to this album and Tangerine Dream about fifteen years ago. I was in a doctors studio, about to have a laser procedure on my face performed. I was slowly waiting for the sleeping gas to take effect on me, and in my drowsy state, I noticed on a nearby bookcase a small stereo system and a pile of Tangerine Dream albums. The doctor noticed that I was looking at them, and he asked would I like to listen to one while I was drifting off. Thinking T.Dream were a blissful new-age band, I said yes and he popped `Phaedra' into the CD player. What hit me as I blacked out was very unnerving, frightening and cold alien horror - not a great way to relax in a very uncomfortable state and unfamiliar location! It wasn't until recently that I (confronted my fears?!) ventured back into the world of Tangerine Dream, so better late than never.

The music on `Phaedra' is made up of sinister and moody synthscapes and electronic drones full of depth and mysticism. The album can be divided into two very different halves. The side long title track, originally the first side of the vinyl, is dark and unsettling, to me the kind of music bad dreams are made of. The second side is comprised of more mysterious, floating and ambient pieces that have quite a different tone. Mellotron features heavily throughout the album, and is alternatively beautiful and terrifying.

Truly the music of strange alien worlds, the title track is cold and unearthly. Maddening looped beats, clinical machine-like textures, very metallic and abrasive. There's occasional warmer tones, but they're used very sparingly. Sentry like alarms bring a heightened sense of fear, harsh electronic effects maintain a dizzying sense of panic that drives you to madness. Heavily processed and monotonous bass punches through, leaving you feeling like you're out of breath. There's an unpleasant section full of eerie effects that sounds to me like tortured animals. Awful and jarring. Throughout the track, walls of ghostly Mellotron choirs try to break through. While they should sound comforting, they're really quite haunting and ominous, their darker tones becoming quite oppressive. It threatens to overwhelm the listener, before a sense of relief is brought about by a very abrupt ending. The title track is a very fragmented piece, highly fascinating, but an alarming and creeping piece of space music.

By comparison, `Mysterious Semblance at the Stand of Nightmares' is quite restrained. Immersive waves of Mellotron play a sheltering and uplifting theme, that also sounds hugely mournful and reflective. Backed by bubbling synths, the piece is slightly reminiscent of `Saucerful' era Pink Floyd. There's a much better sense of flow to this one, and it's more cohesive than the previous track. A brief but lovely aquatic soundscape outro in this one too.

`Movements of a Visionary' begins with unnerving alien chatter. Wordless, howling and hissing voices. It's soon joined by skittering glacial synths and looped trance-line beats. The track becomes a blur of phasing organ that's oddly comforting. It has a grand and majestic sound. Not unlike the more avant-garde moments of the early Floyd albums again.

`Sequent `C' is a somber flute piece, full of echo and delay, with low-key synth backing. It is a beautiful and sad piece, projecting desolation and solitude, all perfectly captured in a 2 minute piece. It very much reminds me of the loneliness and mourning sounds on the first Bass Communion album.

I've really grown to think very highly of this album, even though I prefer the slow, floating and more subtle drifting continuous pieces from Klaus Schulze and the early Adelbert von Deyen albums. Those are albums that I really connect and have huge emotional responses with. `Phaedra' is more superficially interesting to listen to, but I doesn't quite reach me as deeply as those other albums. Perhaps the title track is a little too fragmented for me, as it kind of comes across as a bunch of ideas stuck together - all good separate ideas, though - but doesn't really convince me as being a cohesive whole. But the rest of the album is full of shorter and more concise tracks, well-arranged, frequently emotional and, of course, lost in deep space.

In the end, my fascination with Tangerine Dream officially began here, and I've been looking further into their albums based on what impressed me with `Phaedra' ever since. A wonderfully abstract and immersive album.

Review by admireArt
4 stars Phaedra (1974), a four track album, embodies the consolidation and scopes of Tangerine Dream´s unique musical language, in 37:35 minutes, to what became the trademark TD sound which infected mind and soul of a myriad of contemporary (and future) electronic musicians and composers with the hunger for these exact kind of sonic electronic spaces.

The same of course happened to its creators back in 1974. The album is a perfectly balanced display of controlled/experimental electronic music and a personal vision of the possibilities synthesizers offered to music composers not only experimentalists.

What is notable in this case is that in 1974 Tangerine Dream were not the first composers/musicians to use synthetizers but were one of the few to actually juice them up to build an original musical idiom, after 4 (more experimental) studio albums, beyond the use of the new flanged sounds alone or the mere fact of having enough money to buy one of this, then, monster keyboards.

So embrace this ride which will evolute (in less than one year) to masterful levels and of course, as any art style cycle, will eventually fade away, but we still are in 1974.

Few had done what Tangerine Dream did, they became a turning point in world wide electronic music´s history, for real, as far as electronic music composition goes.


Review by obiter
4 stars The quintessential Tangerine Dream experience. Purely electronic, no lyrics, a flow of interlacing sequencer arpeggios.

For the modern ear this is trance/space before it was invented by whoever it is in the 90s has claimed credit for it.

What to do while getting in the mood for this (not in the Glenn Miller or Rush sense): hug kittens and trees and lie outside watching the stars wheel in the sky. I reckon this album is another one for the isolation tank and incense.

Despite some of the sound effects I am reliably informed that no puppies were strangled during the last third of the title track.

Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares reminds me of a few dodgy sci-fi movies where we are meant to be overawed by the passing of some mammoth inter-stellar space craft (or backing the animation of a dying star/decaying planet's orbit: may sound weird but you'll get it if you listen to it). I'm shallow I was suitably awestruck.

Movements of a Visionary has some of those bubbly effects that are the meat and drink of hardened Ozrics fans. I love this but, I'm always yearning for Ed Wynne to take it to the next level.

Sequent C is simply haunting.

Given a choice between Phaedra and Rubycon I'd take Phaedra every time but that's just me. I feel Rubycon is essential and this masterpiece is an excellent addition to any prog collection. But like I say: I'd pick this every time.

Review by Modrigue
4 stars Electronic shamanism

4.5 stars

First studio TANGERINE DREAM album with the Virgin label, "Phaedra" is one the most innovative and important records in the history of electronic music. For the band, it marks the first important use of sequencers, and the beginning of the "golden" years. At this period, the result was ground-breaking and resembled no other disc, even TD's previous albums. Ahead of its time, featuring various atmospheres, the music can be described as meditative and hypnotic, with passages somehow pre-dating trance.

The reason of this major evolution is that Christopher Franke took the opportunity to buy a big moog modular synthesizer, whose former owner was ROLLING STONES' singer Mick Jagger, who didn't know what to do with it. This type of machinery was very complex back then, the band had to learn how to exploit it properly. "Pheadra" adopts the same structure as on the previous opus, "Atem": the 20 minutes title track as the opener, followed by three other shorter compositions. However, just one year after, there is a large gap between the two albums. In fact, this transition period was not sudden, as it included the aborted project "Green Desert" (composed without Baumann and finally reworked in 1986) and especially Froese's first solo effort "Aqua". Nonetheless, you can still perceive the shadow of the Germans' cosmic years... The title track is a dark long trip into the mind. Its spacey liquid intro unveils the first true electronic sequence in TANGERINE DREAM's musical universe. These fast pulsating loops alternate oppressive and suffocating ambiances with smoother and relaxing passages. This part does not feature many variations and is a little repetitive. Then strange birds sounds appear, like those of the beginning of PINK FLOYD's "Echoes Part 2", but different. The final contemplative POPOL VUH-esque part is great and has reminiscences with their recent "kosmische musik" years.

Despite its title, "Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" is not really nightmarish nor frightening. Composed and played by Edgar Froese, this airy slow piece is driven by the mellotron. Contrarily to their previous somber or mysterious tracks, the atmosphere is rather soothing and delicate. "Movements Of A Visionary" is one of the most over-spacey music ever. The electronic sequence and synthesizer layers evoke a cosmic meditative whirling dervishes trance. Mind-blowing! My favourite passage of the record. The disc concludes with the short "Sequent C'", a pretty flute composition by Peter Baumann, evanescent in the universe...

Half "kosmische" and half electronic, half sequenced and half melodic, "Phaedra" is rather unique in TD's discography. The various ambiances forge its personalty. The mixture of sonorities make the result sounds not too dated, the disc ages quite well. The quality is also constant, my only reproach would be that the first part of the title track contains lengthy passages. This album is much more accessible than the previous ones, however I'm not sure to recommend it to TANGERINE DREAM newcomers, as the music is still a bit dark.

1974 was definitely an important year in the development of electronic music. The few other artists to use sequencers at the same period were KRAFTWERK with "Autobahn", and CLUSTER with "Zuckerzeit", however in a different style.

An essential listen for all electronic music lovers. Mesmerizing...

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars 1. "Phaedra" (16:48) if ever there was a perfect electronica companion to Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey," this would be it. Eerie and spacey and forlorn yet powered by the human spirit of hope and adventure, TD put something together here that transcends just listening: this is music is suggestive of worlds and sensual experiences beyond normal imagination--or rather, this music enhances the capacity of imagination. Thought the driving sequences change and shift often throughout the course of "Phaedra" the pace is fairly consistent and insistent; there is no let up on the course into infinity--at least, that is, until 10:20, when it appears that we are waylaid by reaching the Void. (And people express their distaste for Genesis' "The Waiting Room"! This must have really irked them!) Luckily, an angelic force appears two minutes later to rescue us and push away the Faeiries of Kaos. Yet, these angels are not from Heaven, but from the Tao! They're here to tell us that beyond the illusory worlds of space and time there exists the potentiality and reality of Anything and Everything and Nothing! Nice song. (9.5/10)

2. "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" (10:46) opens with what sound like distant street noises as if heard through the bedroom window from a high rise apartment in the middle of a hot, windless summer night. Synth organ enters in a eerie, vampire movie soundtrack kind of way (though also exceedingly close to Tony Banks' intro to "Watcher in the Skies"). The organth floats slowly around the aural soundscape (panning) as flanging and sequenced riffs and synthesized wind noises flit in and around the soundscape. Very somber and depressing. In the sixth minutes signs of life appear in the form of bouncy synths chords and organ arpeggi while the somber organth continues its parade of death through the city streets. Flitting wind gusts (or are they bats?) seem to occasionally join ole Drac as he looks for his latest victim (the humanized chords just before the last minute?) Genius. (9/10)

3. "Movements of a Visionary" (7:58) opens with experimental sounds that seem unnatural without the contributions of electricity. At the end of the second minute a mallet-like sound creates a fast-paced sequence over which organ soon joins. Electric piano later is added while the sequence shifts down an octave or two. (8.5/10) 4. "Sequence in 'C'" (2:17) is peaceful and serene as layers of "wooden flutes" create a pleasant, floating canopy of sheets blowing in the wind. (5/5)

An historic achievement in music and a masterpiece of its genre.

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars A little background: This is another in the "Invisible Touch" series of reviews. No, not because of the eponymous Genesis album (though it was one of the reviews) but because of the accidental contact on a touch screen of the "quick rating" feature. I have accepted the accidents as challenges in the past and attached reviews to the ratings, but have admittedly procrastinated on this one. And that is due to my rather recent (within the last 5 years of the date of this review) dive into the world of Kosmische Music.

My understanding of this niche of the progressive music world was for many years limited to Kraftwerk's Autobahn. Many years later I attempted to expand that by adding The Man Machine. This did not go well. It was not until I happened upon a second hand copy of Stratosphere that I truly embraced electronic music. It was not long after that I sought the remainder of Tangerine Dream's Virgin era and earlier albums. Phaedra being the original Virgin album is somewhat of a transition from the astral/ambient spaciousness of Zeit and Atem, to the more orchestral synthesis approach of the following 3 albums. The commonality in all these albums is that as a listener I was required to take a more passive listening approach in relation to the technical listening that I was used to. And that was a good thing. I have seen descriptions like "slow moving" or complaints that it was "difficult to find the essence of the music". It occurred to me that there is something here that is not to be sought out, but to just be passively immersive with. In that regard I have found in Phaedra a sort of music that I was able to relax with in a way that even with the softest symphonic or acoustic music I could not. There is something so transcendent about the arpeggiated sequence in the title track that clears my mind of the sediment of the day, even as that arpeggio is eerily modulated upward in chromatic steps. And while this is something I will frequently use to lull myself to sleep (oh, that is definitely a good thing), it also has enough use of overlays of Mellotron, organ swells and sound effects to be interesting during those waking hours.

I am sure there are many out there that would consider these sounds to be dated and lose their allure in antiquity. Count me amongst those that find the warmth of these analog instruments to be very appealing. I used to scoff at the idea that there was something deeper in the sound of classic synthesis, making the argument that modern sampling could duplicate anything. That is just not the case. And the art of turning these complex analog machines into progenitors of the ethereal is a true art form. And Phaedra, while not the pinnacle of that creativity, is certainly a step in that direction.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars To me, the best way to listen to this album (and many of the best electronic albums) is when you are not in a hurry, you can empty out everything in your head and you close your eyes and let your mind take you on a journey which is influenced by the music you are listening to. It's like a mental piece of art that your mind is creating and it will be a different experience for everyone that listens because your mind travels to places based on your experiences, no matter how far out there they may be. It is a great experience when you really listen and let your mind go with it.

From the other reviews on this album, it seems like a lot of people do this, and then describe what they felt or experienced. When I read some of them, I think, wow that is a completely different interpretation than what I had of that piece of music. But that is the beauty of it, everyone sees and hears things differently. In reality, electronic music is just sounds made by an artist by manipulating a machine, computer or instrument and sometimes a combination of these. An expert musician knows how to get the sounds and tones out of that machine in the best way possible. Sometimes they are trying to make a specific feeling and other times it is just improvisation. This may make it sound like electronic music is something that anyone could do, but this is far from the case. I have heard much electronic music that sounds completely amateur and just plain bad, and I have heard a lot of it that is beautiful, flowing, harsh or whatever, and it sounds like it is done by a capable artist.

No doubt about the fact that Tangerine Dream's performers are artists, especially on this album. Sounds swirl, cascade, float and drop into the picture with hardly any warning. To a casual listener, there may not be a lot of forward movement or progression in the sound, sometimes even from one track to another. That is why this music demands to be heard by being listened to. Yes it works well for background music for studying or whatever, but it's best use is by really listening to it. You can hear melodies that come to the foreground which to a casual listener may not seem apparent. You hear sounds that create pictures in your mind, repetitive sequences or loops or just random sounds and movement. These work together to paint pictures and moods, albeit mental, but there all the same.

Many people say that this represents a change of sound for TD, and a lot of this is probably because this is the first time the artists featured what would become their sequence driven sound and would also have more structure as a result. Instead of having a more random direction, the music starts to move forward with a purpose. The first track is the 17 minute long title track which is based on an improvisation that was recorded by the band earlier. For a large part, this track is improvisation with direction. Some of the changes in the sound came about by accident through the recording of the piece because of flaws with the musical equipment, but it ended up giving the sound more structure and direction. These flaws would later be used to the artists benefit. This is mostly a free flowing track that has many changes throughout that may be only perceptible by really listening. There are places were rhythm is introduced and then taken away again. You will hear bass in this track and throughout the album which is also done electronically through a Moog Sequencer. Apparently this instrument was very hard to tune and they spent many hours just to get a few minutes of bass sequence.

The 2nd track is "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" and was created only by Edgar and his wife. It was done in one take on the Mellotron. In it, you can hear some semblance of melodies come in and out of the picture and there are many other pleasant sounds and sequences that were all created in that one take. Quite an amazing piece of work for something done without editing. Edgar says this is exactly as it sounded when he played it in the studio the first time. Next is "Movements of a Visionary" which starts out with a series of eerie sounding noises and continues like that for a few minutes. Rhythm is finally introduced and a melody line comes in with a nice organ sound. There really is nothing melodic about it except for the organ which never really picks up a theme, yet sounds melodic anyway. This is mixed in with the rest of the sounds so that you may not pick it out if just casually listening. The last track is a short ambient piece.

Overall, this is a very amazing listening experience. Also, TD was using new equipment at the time unlike anything out there. This was the main driver along with word of mouth, that made this album so successful, even without any radio airplay. It still stands as an essential and historical recording as it will pave the way for electronic music's future. The sound created here appealed to the public back in the day, and even today you can listen to it even without mind altering chemicals in your system and still be taken away by it. This is definitely an essential masterpiece of an album especially when it comes to progressive electronic music and is also on the list of 1001 albums to listen to before you die. It stands up there with the rest of the most influential progressive albums in history and rightfully so. This is why it gets a five star rating.

Review by VianaProghead
5 stars Review Nº 333

Tangerine Dream is unquestionably one of the most influential electronic groups of all time, probably the best of all. Their music has made an immeasurable impact on ambient, new age, techno, trance, and progressive rock, as well as modern film score composition. Founded as a psychedelic rock group in 1967 by Edgar Froese, the group was initially associated with the Krautrock scene through early abstract albums, 1970's 'Electronic Meditation', 1971's 'Alpha Centauri', 1972's 'Zeit' and 1973's 'Atem'. Those albums belong of what is usually called 'The Pink Years'.They pioneered the use of sequencers and synthesizers and was only from 1974 that the classic albums appear like their greatest masterpieces, 1974's, 'Phaedra' and 1975's 'Rubycon' and 'Ricochet', which proved to be commercially successful. They became also prolific film composers. Subsequent albums in the 80's incorporated more digital instrumentation, as well as shorter, more pop oriented compositions than their earlier epics. During the 90's, with some albums they were closer to the forms of dance music that Tangerine Dream has heavily influenced. During the 21st century, the band gradually drifted back toward the sequencer driven sound they had pioneered during the 70's. Tangerine Dream is still active today having released almost 100 studio albums in their lengthy and very prolific career.

So, it was with Tangerine Dream's debut for Virgin is rightfully and deservedly regarded as one of their definitive classics, which everything really began to the band. 'Phaedra' is one of the most important, artistic, and exciting works in the history of the electronic music, a brilliant and compelling summation of Tangerine Dream's early avant- space direction balanced with the synthesizer/sequencer technology just beginning to gain a foothold in non academic circles. 'Phaedra' showed not only that the band's set of equipment obviously had grown a lot bigger and more expensive since their early days, but also that their musical expression had evolved and progressed without losing any of the depth and mysticism of their best works in their first phase. The most noticeable new feature in their sound was the inclusion of complex, sequenced electronic rhythm patterns that slowly evolved and changed shape underneath the atmospheric sounds of Moogs, Mellotrons, flute and lots of various electronic equipments massively used in the future.

'Phaedra' has only four tracks, but all I wrote before came into full bloom on the 17 minute title track that would set a whole new standard for the Tangerine Dream's sound. The minimalism of their first albums was pretty much gone, as the sequenced rhythms provided the band with a rich and fat sound stuffed to the rim with mystical and delightful atmospheres. Given focus by the arpeggiated trance that drifts in and out of the mix, the track progresses through several passages including a few surprisingly melodic keyboard lines and an assortment of eerie Moog and Mellotron effects, gaseous explosions, and windy sirens. Despite the impending chaos, the track sounds more like a carefully composed classical work than an unrestrained piece of noise. The climax of the track comes surprisingly enough after the sequencer has stopped, and makes room for a sinister and incredibly moody part filled with Mellotron, gongs and haunting electronic sounds, building up some of the most fantastic atmospheres ever created by humans. And to add to the feel of beyond and mystery, some distant and faint sounds of children playing can be heard several seconds after the track has ended. It's really an amazing track that would become a standard track in the next future of their music.

While the title track takes the cake, there are three other excellent tracks on 'Phaedra'. The second side opens with the nearly 10 minute 'Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares' that reportedly was a pure solo number by Froese. It consists almost entirely of grandiose washes of Mellotrons, but also some spacey electronic sounds. The opening of 'Movements Of A Visionary' seems to improve the voice experiments from their previous album 'Atem'. The rest of the track consists of a warm and comforting organ improvising around the sequenced rhythms that now was one of the band's main trademarks. It's a more experimental piece, using treated voices and whispers to drive its hypnotic arpeggios. The brief piece 'Sequent C'' closes the album in a moody way, a piece of ethereal, floating beauty.

Conclusion: 'Phaedra' is often regarded as a groundbreaking album that was shaped by an experimental sound, with structured sound sequences that present themselves to the listener in an atmosphere space like manner. 'Phaedra' leads in monotone electronics at the beginning directly into the wide world of the universe and knows how to create a monotone trance in cosmically designed sound surfaces. In the further course, the cool unapproachability of the electronics unites with organic looking mellotron inserts, which is accompanied by more rhythmic sound elements. The way into unexplored galaxies is, thus, effectively relaxed. Perhaps even more powerful as a musical landmark now than when it was recorded. 'Phaedra' has proven the test of time. The 70's was a time of music taste and intelligence, really.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
3 stars Tangerine Dream is a band you kinda have to know to understand the legacy of electronic music, and the impact it has had in the modern day culture. I think if groups like Kraftwerk segmented the legacy of electronic dance music to the public, Tangerine Dream segmented the legacy of ambient electronic music. Tangerine Dream's legacy cannot go understated, with them popularizing ambient music, and the German 'kosmische musik' scene to a wider public, much thanks to their signing on Virgin in 1974. I do really like the music of Tangerine Dream (though with how many releases they have it kinda becomes a bit much to walk around in). With that being said, most, myself included, consider their 70s output, more over their Virgin records output, to be some of the best ambient music out there. Personally I prefer their more krautrock and spatial fixes on their Ohr records releases, but what they put out on Virgin is also quite amazing with stuff like Rubycon, Stratosfear, and Force Majeure, some of which contain some of my favorite pieces of TD stuff. However, one Virgin record release that I have disliked for a long time happens to be a fan favorite among many, that being Phaedra Now the keyword here is 'disliked', past tense. Now, after I had relistened to it again, I realized that I was quite missing out on this pretty beautiful ambient working from the band.

I think most, if not all songs on here have a distinct beauty found within the seams, and personally I feel like it is all within the synths. The synths found here, while clearly not in a mainstream or technical peak they hold, still feel like they create a lot of beauty and space within the record, glistening through spacey ambient textures that are as beautiful as they are mysterious. I think it is best showcased in the last song of Sequent 'C'. Despite this song's short length, it contains a ton of beautiful and introspective moods and textures, all utilizing this combination of atmospheric synths and flutes to create this feeling of sadness, and mystery.

You know, for some reason I feel like this type of music and sound TD is going for here kinda reminds me of this recent indie horror game called Signalis. I didn't play the game, I simply just watched a review of it, but I feel like that game, its world, its story, and just the whole atmosphere it contains seems to just fit hand to hand next to Tangerine Dream's brand of ambient music, though I guess since it is a horror game it'd fit a bit more with TD's Ohr stuff since that era's music is a lot darker. The guys who worked on the game are also German, similar to Tangerine Dream themselves. I guess German art really likes sci-fi and space a lot, but I digress.

I think, now, this album is really great, but still after listening to it I still have problems. I think my main issue here is that this album feels like it is in a weird middle half between albums like Zeit and Atem with stuff like Rubycon and Stratosfear, being this weird mashup of the dark TD sounds with the lighter and space driven TD music, and I think that is kinda why I didn't like this album for my first go around as it just never quite stuck well with me, or felt fully realized. It's kinda like Genesis' And Then There Were Three, being this bridge record between Genesis' more pastoral prog days with their 80s pop rock hits, creating this weird mishmash of the two. Phaedra in an extent is like that to me, being this, albeit good, but weird mishmash between the ambient TD and the dark TD.

I am also not that huge on the tracks of Phaedra, and Movements Of A Visionary. Now I think they are pretty good tracks, but if you asked me a few days ago I would probably brush them aside, since then, and even a little still now, they contain quite a bit of muddy filler to get through in my opinion, and they feel like a lot of waiting just to get to those bigger moments, which I wouldn't mind unless they keep those wait times a bit more interesting and coherent with the rest of the music. I think ambient music works best when you make things coherent, and make things fit well within each other. These tracks feel as if they have a bit less to go around for me, and it, sadly, made me not appreciate this album as much as I probably should've.

I think my new appreciation for Phaedra can get me a more open mind to most if not all electronic music genres, and it clearly proves itself to be a great electronic album to enjoy. However, those two tracks do kinda bore me a bit, and it is still in that weird middle divide between the old TD and the one we know today. This is a strange and great record, but still, I am not that big of a fan of it as other people are.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #116! 'Phaedra' is one of the best progressive electronic albums I've ever heard. Unlike Klaus Schulze's (former member of Tangerine Dream) music, I wouldn't categorize this as ambience. This is a whole other level. There are some rythms, but not enough to call each track a song ... (read more)

Report this review (#2930179) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Saturday, June 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 1. Phaedra begins gloomy, for those who don't know; a joyful, cheerful, or almost embellished start for those who know; sound from the abyss, the back to the future sequence is already there, but we will have to wait for the next album; this reverberation associated with the sidereal high sound, thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#2311769) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Like a snow cyborg, cold and robotic: 8/10 I'll be honest: I never liked electronic music. I have always associated it, on its entirety, to EDM - almost like bigotry -, which in turn alienated me from exploring it further. It was a shocker to discover how old and prolific electronic music is, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1741431) | Posted by Luqueasaur | Thursday, July 6, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the TD classics While not as good as Rubycon, this is definitely one of Tangerine Dream's classic albums. Recorded during the time when the mellotron was still one of their prime instruments, and before they discovered drum machines, it has a similar feel to Rubycon and their other mid-70s ... (read more)

Report this review (#1703427) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, March 18, 2017 | Review Permanlink

2 stars "Phaedra" is Tangerine Dream's fifth album and features Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke and Peter Baumann. It was released almost 40 years ago and these men in electronic music were certainly pioneers in their art. The cover picture is blue and quite minimalistic. I was excited to explore this ... (read more)

Report this review (#1042411) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Monday, September 23, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Just a few months ago I thought that the electronic prog was not meant for me: I was wrong! Phaedra is already the fifth record of Tangerine Dream and consists of four songs. One long epic on the first side, and three shorter compositions on the second side. The titletrack starts with some ec ... (read more)

Report this review (#647910) | Posted by the philosopher | Tuesday, March 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 4.5, really. The first time I heard the title track, I was sitting in the darkness, half-drowsy or just awoken, got my Windows Media Player starting the track, and I thought I was in some kind of a warm invisible haze. This is a whole another world, simply different from what's happening on Faust ... (read more)

Report this review (#613990) | Posted by Dayvenkirq | Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a fantastic album to talk about. To many listeners and reviewers it is Tangerine Dream at their best, and there is a lot of consistence to support this statement. But now, in order to perform my review, I must speak about the two things that makes me give it a total five star rating fo ... (read more)

Report this review (#415862) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Tangerine Dreams output from 1974-1979 has been some of the greatest music the world has ever seen, as Phaedra is an amazing starting point for the band, or any one willing to resist the conformity of music. I remember the first time I heard this album...I thought it was complete crap, just n ... (read more)

Report this review (#404042) | Posted by Jazzywoman | Sunday, February 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Phaedra is an album I've been intending to get for the past year. I've been spoiled by the ease, cost and speed of iTunes. So I'll only resort to ordering in a hard copy if I absolutely have to. I believe however, that in the case of Phaedra, the extra effort and expense has not been wasted. All ... (read more)

Report this review (#307143) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Friday, October 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a very, very, very, very atmospheric album. It could be argued in fact that it's too atmospheric for it's own good. But if you ask me, in music, you can never be TOO atmospheric. If there is a problem with this album, it can be pretentious at times and rarely creates that deep emotion t ... (read more)

Report this review (#278246) | Posted by CinemaZebra | Friday, April 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Phaedra is one of Tangerine Dream's best-known records, and not surprisingly so. They were one of the major pioneers of electronic music, along with Jarre, Kraftwerk, and Vangelis, though this album is much more ambient than the ones made by those artists. The title track is a cosmic, psychedel ... (read more)

Report this review (#260880) | Posted by Neurotarkus | Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was a really cool album, although it took me time to get into it. The main reason was that it's very slow and ambient... not that it's a bad thing... but it's hard to focus on when you're doing something else and this is playing in the background (although it does make for good background mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#232852) | Posted by HammerOfPink | Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Phaedra is the album that brought Tangerine Dream to center stage. Although it is their 5th album, it is the first after John Peel's inclusion of Atem into heavy rotation. Phaedra is also the first album with Virgin Records and the backing of this new and influential company paid dividends. ... (read more)

Report this review (#220469) | Posted by tdfloyd | Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars WHY a 5 Stars for Phaedra ... We've been through many activities between 1968 & 2008 , involved in experimental progressive music , bands from different countries , different cultures , a variety of label companies , producers , soloists , ,,, But few of them got the chance to meet w ... (read more)

Report this review (#168402) | Posted by trackstoni | Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can hardly talk about Phaedra, it was the first electro album I ever listened to (then I discovered Kraftwerk, and later, Air). 4 great tracks, from Phaedra to Sequent C'. Nothing's wrong here, it's pure, calm, poetic, timeless music. If you want to escape yourself for a while, have a listen t ... (read more)

Report this review (#163961) | Posted by Zardoz | Saturday, March 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Phaedra is one of the most revolutionary and beautiful collections of music ever conceived, created, and recorded. This album is not only a window into the human subconscious, but an artistic vision of an entire kingdom of people, events, objects, and philosophies. In this collection, th ... (read more)

Report this review (#159435) | Posted by Phaedra | Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My first TD album and it took me some time to see its greatness. Brian eno gave ambient music its name, but TD pioneered the sound. The group formed in Berlin in 1967, their leader founder and only constant member being guitarist Edgar Froese. Inspired by surrealism and the dadaist art movement, ... (read more)

Report this review (#140709) | Posted by Zargus | Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Phaedra was a demigod - Her grandfather was Zeus. Aside from her experience of romantic's just a name. Phaedra is a masterpiece of experimental electronic music. In their best early works, TD music is dominated by sequencers. Historically, that was how a few musicians were able ... (read more)

Report this review (#127905) | Posted by convocation | Sunday, July 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Hypnotic, trance-inducing music. I had heard Tangerine Dream's name thrown around a bit when talking about progressive electronic music, and from what I gathered, they were far different from Kraftwerk. Now, Kraftwerk is currently my favorite progressive electronic band, but at the time I bo ... (read more)

Report this review (#115873) | Posted by Pnoom! | Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of TANGERINE DREAM "Phaedra"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.