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Tangerine Dream - The Island Of The Fay CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.58 | 47 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Now, the White Eagle has crossed the Rubycon and entered the Stratosfear. Edgar Froese - RIP

The Prog universe took a different turn today, directly the result of Edgar Froese untimely death in Vienna. His passing was duly noted in headlines around the world, a vanguard pioneer of electronic music that stretched the boundaries of rock music, as well as defining soundtracks for a wide variety of artistic endeavors, from film to vernissage. On a personal note, my 37 strong TD album collection went from current to legendary status with his departure, so any revisit from now on will be a reverential pleasure that will undoubtedly alter my perception of an already highly evocative style of music. What made TD so delightful as an audiophile is that the style simply encouraged alternate perceptions each and every time one would listen to the same album, conveying different moods and reactions that depended on such triggers as time of day or season, mobile or inert, at work or at play.

When grounded by a 100 album and counting career, spanning nearly half a century, it would be kind of useless to compare the various eras, some still very contentious with hard-core fans (such as the 90s output) but I believe that Edgar had completed the 'cycle' and returned to his classical period glory in the last few years before his unfortunate exit. In particularly brilliant fashion, Edgar released in 2011, a couple of scintillating albums "The Angel of the West Wind", which I have already reviewed as well the object of this exercise "The Edgar Allan Poe- The Island of Fay", both are worthy of the loftiest praise and form part of Froese's 'the Eastgate's Sonic poem series' project. Back in form with grandiose melodies, breathless sequenced arrangements and an organic pulse, the electronic soundscapes paint vivid mental pictures, highly individualistic readings that are always a unique interface between artist and fan.

"Marmontel Riding on a Clef" is a remarkable opener that highlights low-end volcanic eruptions with sweeping overhead melodies, where the fusion of the mechanical and the quixotic gently coaxes you to sit back comfortably, close your eyes and wander away into the deepest recesses of your own mind. It is all effortless and ethereal.

The athletic "Breath Kissing Matter's Mouth" is an idealistic affair , sweeping layers of doom gliding over hypnotic percussive swells and an ostinato sequence that makes for ardent listening, one of the finest TD pieces ever. This amazing contrast between simple and complex, muscular and celestial is what makes TD so utterly enjoyable even after multiple returns. Keyboard maestro Thorsten Quaeschning has been a positive foil for Froese to reignite some old-school Tangerine Dream stylistics, mainly by incorporating the legendary mellotron into the mix, hence providing a sense a grandiose reverence to the arrangement.

The rather romantic-laced melancholia of "Beauty of Magic Antagonism" offers a different take on the previous pieces, closer to ab 'acoustic' TD tune, deliberately simple and yet wraithlike, mystifyingly misty and still audacious. The mood is ornate and palatial, a trait that went perhaps missing during the 'tame' 90's and is splattered all over this release.

The 11 minute epic "Fay Bewitching the Moon" revels in a decidedly more cinematographic manner, almost symphonic electronica for the early part, until the strapping sequencers kick in with their thunderous pulse. Quivering synthesizer overlays carpet the platform for a phantom violin solo from Hoshiko Yamane, littered with Iris Camaa's luxuriant percussion, this piece certainly hearkens back to the glory days of yore.

"Cycle of Eternity" keeps the whirlwind blowing, another elliptical loop melody that arches out into the stratosphere, conveying both spirituality and perpetual bliss, without any artifice or conformism. There is a delectable groove here, free flowing and natural, not content to be mere background music which TD never was nor should ever be. The violin again leads the procession nicely.

This is followed by three 9 minute (or so) pieces that simply seal the deal in terms of the album's success. The now ominous sounding "Death in the Shadow" is a shattering piece, just that 'cimbalom' patch alone is enough to seduce me but throw in some ghostly choir echoes and I am completely rapt in utter enjoyment!

"Moment of Floating Into the Light" suggests even more gentle adventure and sweeping drama, a tightly woven slice of magnificent sounds and mysterious horizons. A lovely guitar phrasing comes screeching through the clouds, reminding us that he was quite an accomplished guitarist as well.

The creepy melodrama of "Darkness Veiling the Night" , a lovely Quaeschning composition , slithers through the tiny cracks like some soporific gas, echoed metronome percussion merging with liquid guitar licks and sizzling sparkles of sound frizzing the airwaves, this is the quintessential modern electronica that breathes organically, unrushed, universal and mind-numbingly gorgeous. It all sounds so metallic, so forlorn and desperate, the mellotron in particular causing all the damage, helped along by some piano assertiveness. Ridiculously delicious!

The rock music community all over the world, as well as the film industry is in shock at the passing of a huge pioneer, a genial Prussian who led synthesizers into battle at a time when Elvis was still ruling the waves, expanding his seminal craft in parallel with millions of minds who luxuriated in the Tangerine Dream as listeners and fans. Herr Froese, you live on eternally in your music, "Endlich zusammen"!

5 clemetine reveries

tszirmay | 5/5 |


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