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Tangerine Dream - Electronic Meditation CD (album) cover

ELECTRONIC MEDITATION

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

3.35 | 323 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Electronic Meditation has a three-part structure: (1) the experimental, anything-goes opening track "Geburt" ("Genesis"); (2) the three-track body of the album, which alternates between atmospheric ambience and guitar-and-drums freakouts; and (3) "Auferstehung" ("Resurrection"), a recap of the ambient portions of the album.

The pattern of interspersing ambient, often keyboard-based passages and freak-and-roll sections is a Krautrock trademark which would be repeated, for example, on the self-titled debuts by Faust (1971), Ash Ra Tempel (1971), and Mythos (1972). The freakout sections on Electronic Meditation are confined to the body of the album, comprising about 28 of the 37-minute runtime: "Reise Durch Ein Brennendes Gehirn" ("Journey Through a Burning Brain"), which closes Side One, and "Kalter Rauch" ("Cold Smoke") and Asche Zu Asche" ("Ashes to Ashes"), the first two tracks on the reverse.

The loose guitar experimentation which opens "Reise Durch Ein Brennendes Gehirn" provides a segue from the free-for-all "Geburt," in which the instruments are used as much for sound effects as for music. But soon "Reise Durch" is in relatively calm ambient territory. The guitars begin to re-assert themselves around 5:30, and after a few minutes they signal the eventuality of a freak & roll section which will begin in earnest about a minute later. Rhythm guitarist Conrad Schnitzler* and drummer Klaus Schulze play a rhythm, but it sounds like they're in a different studio, located on different planet, from lead guitarist Edgar Froese. This situation dissolves into an organ-based resolution around 11:00, which, with a rather abrupt tape splice, is replaced by a similar but distinct organ part playing slow-changing chords, accompanied only by flute filigrees - - in other words, more ambience.

The chillout-followed-by-freakout pattern repeats on "Kalter Rauch," but not on "Asche Zu Asche" which is four minutes of (relatively) laid-back freakout. This is the segue from the body of the record to the two-part final track. "Auferstehung" begins with the organ slowly changing chords, over which there are some spoken-word segments; the second half of the track continues to be ambient, but more atmospheric and less distinct.

In comparison to other early-1970s krautrock, Electronic Meditation is good, although it would soon be surpassed, for example, by the 1972 debuts of Neu! and Mythos; Ash Ra Tempel's Join Inn (1973), and Klaus Schulze's first two albums (Irrlicht (1972) and Cyborg (1973)) - - so I wouldn't call it essential listening for the average prog-rock fan. But its historical importance would be difficult to understate; those other albums might not have existed without Electronic Meditation to point the way.

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*I'm assuming it's Schnitzler here.

patrickq | 3/5 |

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