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Tangerine Dream - Zeit CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.66 | 378 ratings

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2 stars Tangerine Dream's 'Zeit' is going to be a difficult album to review in any sensible manner, so please bare with me! Released in 1972, as a double album no-less, we have four tracks of inpenetrable droning soundscape that are utterly devoid of melody, rhythm, structure or anything else that might help the listener find something to latch on-to. And this is pretty much the point of the album. So really in reviewing 'Zeit' you have to ask yourself a more fundamental question about the nature of music. What is "music" and how can we possible review an album like 'zeit' when regarding music in the traditional sense?

As I've mentioned in a couple of my other PA reviews I studied music at university - specifically music production and engineering. One of the modules we took was entitled "colloquia in electroacoustic music" which really was a bunch of us sitting around with our professor discussing experimental electronic music all the way from the 60's through to the 90's. We covered some pretty outlandish pieces of music, including the ultimate piece of non-music, John Cage's '4.33'. But during those classes we never covered Tangerine Dream's 'Zeit'. And that was a shame. I would love to know what my former music professor thought about this album. But as it stands I can only base my review on my own thoughts and opinions.

So, does music exist for entertainment, for artisty, for both or for neither? Is music just for the artist? Does it matter if a piece of music makes any money? Fundamentally what is music? Is music simply a collection of raw sounds arranged into a specific order, as is the case in musique concrete? What should music mean, and to who? It depends on your definition of music. There is a science behind music - scales, harmonies, tuning, frequency, ADSR, timbre, melody. All of these things can be modeled mathematically, unlike another art form such as poetry.

However, what is presented on Tangerine Dream's 'Zeit' is an attempt to exclude as much as possible anything which resembles traditional music. There are no rhythms or melodies, so therefore you cannot really judge the album on that critera except to say there are none-of-the-above. I suppose the only way to make sense of 'Zeit' it is to ask yourself "how does this make me feel?". Afterall, that might be the most fundamental question any piece of music should raise in a listener.

My own answer to that question is pretty negative. I think I understand what TD were aiming for in 'Zeit', and clearly for some listeners they have succeeded. But quite simply I get very little, if any, enjoyment from these four recordings, and they don't make me think of anything much beyond "when will this be over?". I only get, on average, about three hours a day to listen to music so I have to be picky about what I buy and what I listen to. I can't imagine picking up my deluxe copy of 'Zeit' and taking it for a spin more than about once a year, just to remind myself what its all about. And for that reason I have to be pretty negative in my rating. 2-stars is about right for this one, for me. Its clever in its own way, but I'd definitely try before you buy.

AndyJ | 2/5 |


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