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Tangerine Dream - Le Parc CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

2.81 | 149 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 90

After almost a hundred reviews on Progarchives, I finally decided to review an album of Tangerine Dream. However, my real intentions were very far of doing so right now. Anyway, when I decided to start reviewing Tangerine Dream's albums, it never crossed my mind start with this album, "Le Parc". The normal thing to do would be to start by their debut studio album "Electronic Meditation" released in 1970, by their fifth studio album "Phaedra" released in 1974, by their sixth studio album "Rubycon" released in 1975 or by their debut live album "Ricochet" released in 1975. The last three albums mentioned by me, are in general considered the best and most important albums of the very vast and interesting career of Tangerine Dream. So, definitely, never begin with "Le Parc". This is even more evident, to me, because those three albums represented my introduction to the group and to the progressive electronic music too.

So, why to start with "Le Parc"? In reality, there's only one reason, Tiegarten Park in Berlin. Why? It's very simple. Some time ago, it was decided by a group of friends of mine, we usually do an annual trip together, that our next trip would be Berlin. Then, while I was planning that trip, I saw the name of Tiegarten Park on the map and suddenly it comes to my mind "Le Parc" of Tangerine Dream, because the album has a track with the same name dedicated to that park. It was very curious, because in the past, when we did two other trips to London and Paris, the names of Hyde Park in London and Le Bois de Boulogne in Paris, despite being also the names of two other tracks of the album, never came to my mind, then. So and somehow, this is a truly and unexpected review. Anyway, here it is, just right now.

So, after these initial considerations let's write some lines about Tangerine Dream. Tangerine Dream was a group formed in Berlin by guitarist Edgar Froese, keyboardist Conrad Schnitzler and percussionist Klaus Schulze. They were among the earliest conscious explorers of a new musical universe opened by electronic instruments. Tangerine Dream's music was born as a psychedelic journey in the heavens, and aided by new electronic keyboards, transformed into a contemplative survey of the universe. By borrowing from impressionistic painting, which the meeting between Edgar Froese and Salvador Dali was very influential and inspiring to Froese to pursue a more experimental direction, with his music, from ecclesiastic music, from the minimalist avant-garde and from Eastern transcendental philosophy. Tangerine Dream invented the "kosmische musik", one of the most influential musical genres of all times.

About "Le Parc", it's the twenty-first studio album of Tangerine Dream and was released in 1985. It's actually a conceptual album with nine tracks. As its name indicates, all the nine tracks attempt to capture the moods of various city parks from around the world. So we have "Bois De Boulogne" in Paris, "Central Park" in New York, "Gaudi Park" Guell Garden in Barcelona, "Tiergarten" in Berlin, "Zen Garden" Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, "Le Parc" Streethawk in Los Angeles, "Hyde Park" in London, "The Cliffs Of Sidney" in Sydney and "Yellowstone Park" in Rock Mountains.

The tracks on "Le Parc" are shorter and more compact than usual on Tangerine Dream's albums and the focus is on the mood generated by the cities where the parks are located. On "Le Parc", the simple rhythmic accents keep time with economical and compact keyboard works that issues the scale, so that the plate as a balanced collection of thoughtful, may apply instrumentals, short for conditions of the electronic genre. All I can say is that it works fine as background music as to pay it any attention at all reveals how gossamer-thin and insubstantial it actually is. So, if you feel uptight or stressed, just put this CD on your player and after 45 minutes you'll still feel relaxed again. But play it at the maximum volume. The title track "Le Parc" was used as the theme for the short lived U.S. television series "Street Hawk". "Yellowstone Park" includes a vocal theme sung by Clare Torry, the lady known because Pink Floyd's "Great Gig In The Sky" from their album "The Dark Side Of The Moon". As complementary information, "Le Parc" marked Tangerine Dream's last studio release with Johannes Schmoelling. He left the group in 1985 after eleven studio albums inside the band. In my opinion, "Tangram", "Exit" and "Hyperborea" are his best contributions to the band.

Conclusion: As I wrote before, "Le Parc" is a non consensual album of Tangerine Dream, because is very popish and is far from their initial musical path. This is a very commercial album with shorter tracks and very melodic tendencies, which to me sounds like small vignettes to short films. Well maybe that's the case, since the titles are from places all over the world. It seems to me as something you expect to here as a soundtrack to some BBC's great nature films, in the same vein of some works from Vangelis. So friends of early Tangerine Dream, where the music was filled around noises and long sweeping synthesizers themes, don't go here. For friends of later Vangelis, try it out, because it might fit your taste. "Le Parc" is interesting for those who appreciate the accessible mainstream oriented electronic music.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |


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