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Tangerine Dream - Nebulous Dawn (The Early Years) CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.09 | 18 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The beginning of the dream (and music to induce that dream)

This fine 3 CD compilation gathers together pretty much everything from Tangerine Dream's formative period in the very late 1960's and early 1970s. The band's first four albums ("Electronic Meditation", "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit -Largo In 4 Movements" and "Atem" are included in full, each appearing in its original format. The set is rounded out with a couple of rare single A and B sides from the period.

Disc one contains the first two albums in their entirety. "Electronic meditation" must rank as the least Tangs like album of their entire career, being an experimental mumble jumble, completely devoid of synthesisers. The music, if it can be called that, can be variously described as challenging, avant-garde, improvised, even for some magnificent. "Alpha Centauri" sees the band investing in their first synthesiser, but not really exploiting it yet. The synth is used to provide floating spacey sounds over the more conventional guitar and organ. The music remains experimental, especially on the 22 minute title track, but the first signs of the band's true direction are there to be seen.

Disc 2 is devoted entirely to "Zeit, largo in four movements", probably the most divisive album the band has made. Originally a double LP with one track on each side, the four movements forgo any musical form and rely completely on sounds and atmospheres. The versions of the tracks included here appear to be the very slightly abbreviated ones used for the first CD release of the album.

The third disc opens with the A and B sides of the "Ultima Thule" single released in early 1972. While the A-side has appeared on CD before, this is the first time part 2 of this rare single has been available in this format. The main theme for the piece is taken from "Fly and collision of comas sola", a track on "Alpha Centauri". The recording though was new, and features an early appearance of mellotron on a Tangs recording. The sound quality, particularly on part 2 is rather suspect, sounding as if it actually taken from a 7" single.

"Atem", which occupies the bulk of the shorter disc 3, saw the band taking their first steps towards their true destiny. While the style remains avant-garde, drums are used to emphasise a rhythm, and mellotron adds orchestral layers. The resulting sounds are more varied, while remaining devoid of defined melodies.

The other rare single, "Lady Greengrass" and its B-side "Love of mine" close out the set. These are actually recordings by The Ones, a band Edgar Froese was in before he formed Tangerine Dream, this being their only single. The songs are of historical interest only, and of little relevance musically to Tangerine Dream.

In terms of presentation, while this is by no means a lavish affair, it includes of a fine booklet containing an essay on the history of the band during this period, written by David Wells. In summary, this collection offers the definitive introduction to the beginnings of this legendary group.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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