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Tangerine Dream - Force Majeure CD (album) cover

FORCE MAJEURE

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

4.02 | 457 ratings

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Lewian
3 stars On Force Majeure, Tangerine Dream get rid of the singer used on Cyclone, but as a connection with Cyclone, for the second (and last) time in a row they use Klaus Krüger as drummer (he's written with German Umlaut-ue, not sure whether this shows well in progarchives; I was always confused whether the guy's name was Krueger or Krieger but it seems that he made it "Krieger" so that people wouldn't have to use the Umlaut). The album can also be connected to their next effort "Tangram" in that the music is very melodic and tonal; although there are some more mysterious sounding parts (mostly when the drummer takes a break, and toward the end), most of the album tries to be beautiful, peaceful and rather easily listenable.

I decided to write this review in order to add an apparently outlying point of view. I'm surprised to see that pretty much everyone rates this very highly. For me it is clearly inferior to both surrounding albums, Cyclone and Tangram. I'm fine with the addition of drums and the strong use of guitars, spicing up their usual sound a bit. Neither am I per se against going into a more melodic and transparent direction that some people would call "commercial". The thing is, I don't find much attraction in this album from the point of view of composition. The melodies and harmonies are mostly quite bland, there is hardly anything in this album that I find memorable. Before, the focus of the band was much more on sound and atmosphere, but here the focus is more on melody and harmony and structure, in which case composition becomes more important, and in this department they don't deliver. Several parts are played out repetitively to quite some length, but with doing this kind of thing with an almost full rock formation, TD are rather late to the party, and I don't find particularly exciting or special what they do.

To be fair, the instrumental performances are fine and the band's trademark electronic sound and Froese's unique guitar playing still add something special to what otherwise would look a rather aimless endeavour. The title track Force Majeure has a good number of different parts with some less sugary and more interesting sound-oriented interplays, so there is actually some composition going on, but to me the logic of the succession of parts is not so clear and the whole thing seems to be pieced together somewhat arbitrarily. On the other hand, Cloudburst Flight, the opener of side 2, is the most consistent track, and although one could complain about a lack of compositional substance here, this works well creating a peaceful atmosphere in the beginning with some acoustic guitar, from which it then builds up the more intense rock solo part organically to then end again on a peaceful note. Thru Metamorphic Rocks starts in an unmemorable soft rock manner, but then moves to a darker, less melodic, nervous sequencer-driven part that occupies the last 10 minutes. I've got to admit, setting out to review this rather negatively and remembering it as much too repetitive, that this strikes me now as pretty good, with well thought through exciting sound developments to which Krueger thankfully adds in a rather dynamic way instead of flattening things by a straight rhythm. It is also a good contrast to the rest of the album, atmosphere-wise.

So I actually had planned to give this two stars, but I think that the beginning and end of side 2 (which most people like less) in their nice contrast just make it 3. In any case, I still prefer the more risk-taking Cyclone and the more consistent Tangram over this one, which has its moments but also some weaknesses that I can't get around.

Lewian | 3/5 |

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