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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 824 ratings

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4 stars A little background: This is another in the "Invisible Touch" series of reviews. No, not because of the eponymous Genesis album (though it was one of the reviews) but because of the accidental contact on a touch screen of the "quick rating" feature. I have accepted the accidents as challenges in the past and attached reviews to the ratings, but have admittedly procrastinated on this one. And that is due to my rather recent (within the last 5 years of the date of this review) dive into the world of Kosmische Music.

My understanding of this niche of the progressive music world was for many years limited to Kraftwerk's Autobahn. Many years later I attempted to expand that by adding The Man Machine. This did not go well. It was not until I happened upon a second hand copy of Stratosphere that I truly embraced electronic music. It was not long after that I sought the remainder of Tangerine Dream's Virgin era and earlier albums. Phaedra being the original Virgin album is somewhat of a transition from the astral/ambient spaciousness of Zeit and Atem, to the more orchestral synthesis approach of the following 3 albums. The commonality in all these albums is that as a listener I was required to take a more passive listening approach in relation to the technical listening that I was used to. And that was a good thing. I have seen descriptions like "slow moving" or complaints that it was "difficult to find the essence of the music". It occurred to me that there is something here that is not to be sought out, but to just be passively immersive with. In that regard I have found in Phaedra a sort of music that I was able to relax with in a way that even with the softest symphonic or acoustic music I could not. There is something so transcendent about the arpeggiated sequence in the title track that clears my mind of the sediment of the day, even as that arpeggio is eerily modulated upward in chromatic steps. And while this is something I will frequently use to lull myself to sleep (oh, that is definitely a good thing), it also has enough use of overlays of Mellotron, organ swells and sound effects to be interesting during those waking hours.

I am sure there are many out there that would consider these sounds to be dated and lose their allure in antiquity. Count me amongst those that find the warmth of these analog instruments to be very appealing. I used to scoff at the idea that there was something deeper in the sound of classic synthesis, making the argument that modern sampling could duplicate anything. That is just not the case. And the art of turning these complex analog machines into progenitors of the ethereal is a true art form. And Phaedra, while not the pinnacle of that creativity, is certainly a step in that direction.

Tapfret | 4/5 |


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