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Tangerine Dream - Force Majeure CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.00 | 487 ratings

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5 stars What's that? You say that the planet is about to be destroyed to make way for an interstellar expressway, and I'm only allowed to bring ONE Tangerine Dream disc to Tralfamadore? Bummer.... Guess I'll have to learn to live without all my other TD CDs.... Do they have good pizza there?

If (perish the thought!) I were to be limited to a single recording from Tangerine Dream, FORCE MAJEURE would soon make the cut. Why does this 1979 release stand above its brethren in my esteem? Well, I've always been a big fan of band founder Edgar Froese's lead guitar work (indeed, when I saw the group live sometime in the early 90s, his axe-work was a definite highlight), and there is more guitar on FORCE MAJEURE than on most TD albums. Though guitar is not a mainstay of TD's synthesizer-dominated sound, it imparts a vital human element and extra level of interest when it appears, and Froese is a subtle master of the instrument. Add to the equation the inclusion of a living, breathing, adept drummer in Klaus Krieger, plus some of the strongest writing yet from Froese and Franke, and you have a truly superlative session from these stalwart psychedelic synth sorcerers.

Each of the disc's three tracks is quite strong. The opening title piece is the longest, and starts off in a scary fashion, yet never sticks to a single mood or theme for too long. "Force Majeure" is as brilliant, cinematic, and varied a suite as any in TD's accomplished oeuvre, and, frankly, my all-time favourite composition from the band. There are sections of impressive power via soaring lead, contrasted with others of uplifting splendor, all woven together in a splendid whole. Krieger's drums are a particularly welcome and effective addition here.

The second and shortest track, "Cloudburst Flight," is also a winner. This one features a lovely, sensitive acoustic guitar opening section, that melds into a tour de force of driving synths, drums, and almost frantic lead, before ending on a very peaceful and evocatively beautiful note. The music well suits the title -- one can easily imagine a sudden, powerful storm that vents its fury upon a summer day, before it rolls away to leave the earth refreshed, and the air clear and clean. Brilliant!

The final number, "Through Metamorphic Rocks," is another longer suite, and pure vintage TD that delves through varied moods and soundscapes. There is more great lead guitar and drums, in a majestic opening section that segues into real horror soundtrack territory, replete with a synthesized night-black, hell-bound train, a gibbering madman (demon?), and howling wolves -- or could that be the baying of Cerberus? (I had this one playing last Halloween night -- shudder!)

FORCE MAJEURE is a terrific Tangerine Dream album, and quite simply their best, for my money. The material is superb, and the inclusion of drums and generous amounts of Froese's guitar makes this perhaps the most accessible TD disc for "mainstream" prog fans. A masterpiece of psychedelic progressive rock, without question -- highly recommended, indeed! On to Tralfamadore!

Peter | 5/5 |


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