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Tangerine Dream - Electronic Meditation CD (album) cover

ELECTRONIC MEDITATION

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.36 | 314 ratings

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Modrigue
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Journey through a burning Krautrock

3.5 stars

Despite its title and being the first TANGERINE DREAM album, the music of "Electronic Meditation" is neither meditative nor very electronic. Do not expect to find melodic structures, synthesizer sequences or even "kosmische musik" here, the compositions resemble more to a free hallucinated krautrock. At the end of the 60's, Edgar Froese wanted to form a band with the most crazy young artists from Berlin. Then he met drummer Klaus Schulze and experimenter Conrad Schnitzler, and this prestigious trio became the first official line-up of TANGERINE DREAM.

Not initially a planned album, the music was a jam session recorded in 1969. Surprisingly, the band was contacted by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser, the director of the then new Ohr label. At the time, he wanted to spearhead the nascent krautrock movement which has just begun. Later, it's him who imposed the album's inappropriate title and its strange cover. That's how "Electronic Meditation" became the debut album of TANGERINE DREAM and one of the first studio releases of the label.

The booklet contains an esoteric poem which describes the music and tracks names as the journey of a brain from birth to death. Froese's guitar, Schulze's percussions and Schnitzler's cello and violin are supported by experimental sound and tape effects. In addition, two guest musicians were recruited: Jimmy Jackson at organ and Thomas Keyserling at flute.

Not representative of the rest of the record, "Genesis" is a disturbing wild noisy jungle opener. After a very interesting transition sound, the 12 minutes "Journey Through A Burning Brain" starts. The longest and most various passage of the record. Beginning with a calm, aerial organ, it then becomes more rhythmic, ferocious and crazy. The music is on par with the track title.

"Cold Smoke" resembles more to concrete music with its surprising percussions and odd sonorities. The finale is quite chaotic with a wild distorted guitar solo from Froese. "Ashes To Ashes" can be described as ramshackle krautrock blues, with uncommon sound effects over it. The final track, "Resurrection", can be divided in two parts. Dominated by the organ, the first half is mystical and contains backwards vocals of Edgar Froese. The second part is a reprise from the overture "Genesis".

This album proves that TANGERINE DREAM was initially thought as a rock band, inspired by the experimental side of the Floyd. At the same period, the main electronic pioneers were TERRY RILEY, MOTHER MALLARD'S PORTABLE MASTERPIECE CO. and their fellow countrymen POPOL VUH. If you're looking for a genuine "Electronic Meditation", the late 60's / early 70's albums from these musicians are much more suited. After the recording, Klaus Schulze joins ASH RA TEMPEL, Conrad Schnitzler returns to KLUSTER and Edgar Froese will recruit new companions. All three initial TD members will later adopt synthesizers and sequencers to achieve success in the electronic music genre, and the rest is history...

Due to its poor sound recording quality, abrupt changes and absence of musical structure, "Electronic Meditation" is definitely not an accessible record, but certainly not the most experimental or unlistenable ever made. Don't be afraid, if you like the first half of PINK FLOYD's "A Saucerful Of Secrets" or "Ummagumma" studio, you'll surely appreciate this refreshing psychedelic free-rock. Obviously not the album to start with, but well worth a listen if you enjoy early krautrock jams or concrete music.

Modrigue | 3/5 |

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