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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 823 ratings

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4 stars Taken as a whole 'Phaedra' is like some grand synthetic collage, a shapeless musical panorama where structure and orthodoxy have seemingly gone AWOL. And because of that I think this baffled nitwit's attempts at describing the album will ultimately be as futile as trying to describe the individual blades of grass on my garden lawn. Nevertheless...

The epic title-track was clearly inspired by Classical mythology, although it sounds as if it could as easily have come from some far-flung cosmic wasteland as from the realm of the Greek gods. Phaedra, the shameless wife of Theseus king of Athens, tried to seduce her stepson Hippolytus and then planned his destruction when he rejected her. Phaedra in turn hanged herself when her treachery was exposed. For me, the divergent branches of this desolate piece of music represent Phaedra's mental crack-up and the transmigration of her soul to the depths of Tartarus. The music is pervaded with a sense of doom and I can even hear her tormented 'voice' near the end of the piece.

While the title-track is like some long dark odyssey, the paradoxically titled 'Mysterious Semblence at the Strand of Nightmares' is full of light and peace. Edgar Froese's Mellotron saturates its atmosphere with melody while around it hover little bubbles of electronics and wind effects.

From the seeds of its eerie beginnings, 'Movements of a Visionary' grows into the most rhythm-oriented track. Tribal percussive sounds give the track its stability, and when combined with its ethereal organ it sounds like music to accompany some clandestine futuristic ritual.

After this track's dark elemental drive, the calm and mysterious 'Sequent C' has something of the quality of a frivolous dream that brings a feeling of peace and completeness to the album.

seventhsojourn | 4/5 |


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