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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 824 ratings

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3 stars I'm definitely far from the right person to review a Progressive Electronic album and especially a Tangerine Dream such. Still, if you liked the ratings and comments that I've been making in the past it would feel unfair of me to hold back my personal opinion of music that is outside my so called comfort zone. It is with these words that I let the first sounds of Phaedra to, once again, wash over me in all their glory!

Seeing that most of the previous reviews have covered the background story of how and why this particular release has achieved the classic status that it holds today, allow me to skip right to my views on the material itself. The title track is a dark and atmospheric piece that is dominated by a sequencer sound with underlying keyboard buildups throughout almost 2/3 of the track while the final part works as an ambient-like outro with only the synthesizer sounds keeping the flow up until the end. This composition is undoubtedly an important statement in the world of electronic music since it manages to create certain patterns and textures that manage to keep the listeners attention all thorough the 17 minutes of the the track with a well structured music pattern delivered all thought the piece. This is something that I've previously heard on the first two Klaus Schulze albums (Irrlicht and Cyborg), but while those music experiments relied on a minimalistic approach Tangerine Dream actually showed how a complete suite soaked in electronic sounds could be achieved.

Even though the title-track is a marvelous execution of an idea that has been in the works ever since the dawn of the electronica genre I'm afraid that the final product is far from being flawless. The transitions between different sections of the composition have yet not been mastered by the band since their goals obviously lay elsewhere. This is especially apparent during the 10th minute of the performance where the sequencer sounds fade out rather abruptly leaving a lot of hollow ground behind them. This is something that Tangerine Dream would perfect with the release of the two followup albums Rubycon and Ricochet.

Side two of the record is where the band pretty much said -- "We have already achieved our goals on the side one of the album and so why not just add a few experiments here in order to prolong the experience?". This is at least how I feel when listening to these 21 minutes worth of electronic music. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares is the most interesting piece out of the bunch even though it comes off sounding a lot like something that Klaus Schulze had already perfected by this stage of his career. Movements Of A Visionary is another sequencer experiment that doesn't manage to cover any new ground over the course of the mere 8 minutes and instead comes off as just a directionless jam that fades out into obscurity and never leaves a lasting impression on me. The final 2 minute Sequent C' is memorable for Peter Baumann's flute even though I actually had to read it before acknowledging the flute sounds that are incorporated here. This is definitely a filler track if I ever heard one.

It's difficult to rate Phaedra by the usual standards since it generally comes off sounding like electronica fans only release to the unexperienced ears while the indulged ones bound down into submission whenever the title is even mentioned. Technically I should consider this an excellent addition to any prog rock collection based solely on the reputation that this album has already established for itself. Still I find Phaedra to be a hard cookie to crumble, especially considering that Tangerine Dream's output would improve even more with the followup releases. Therefore it's merely a good, but non-essential piece of music that should be explored just like a trip to a museum where you get to admire the early take on the formula that we now almost take for granted.

**** star songs: Phaedra (16:48) Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares (10:45)

*** star songs: Movements Of A Visionary (7:58) Sequent C' (2:17)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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