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Tangerine Dream - Tyranny Of Beauty CD (album) cover

TYRANNY OF BEAUTY

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

2.80 | 62 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Between the years of 1992 ' 1996, Tangerine Dream was a four-some which consisted of Edgar Froese founder of the group, Jerome Froese his son, Linda Spa saxophonist, keyboardist and conductor, and Zlatco Perica guitarist. It is with this line up, and a few other musicians, Gerald Gradwohl, Mark Hornby and Gisela Kloetzer, that Tangerine Dream would record their 51st studio album, Tyranny of Beauty, released in 1995.

Starting off with 'Catwalk', we get a European sound with a constant up tempo beat which is somewhat subdued and a nice melody. There are some vocal effects done with a synthesizer. A Spanish style acoustic guitar plays a nice solo in the middle. 'Birdwatcher's Dream' starts with atmospheric synths and a guitar fanfare establishes a melody. Percussion starts abruptly as a beat is established with chord changes that are marked with a thick sound. This track departs from the usual formula of the previous track and tries for a more complex rhythm and melody and it is driven by the guitar until the 3 minute mark when it settles into a rhythmic pattern. However, changing themes and patterns keep things interesting and the addition of the guest musicians provides a much fuller sound than in some previous albums.

'Little Blonde in the Park of Attractions' is based off of a synthesized piano melody established at the first of the track. There are some nice vocal effects in there too that sound similar to the 'Enigma' sound. This one has more of a softer feel that leans toward ambient. 'Living in a Fountain Pen' continues with the same feel as the previous at first, but then a strumming guitar directs the beat and breaks up the monotony a bit. Hand drums are used this time around too. A separate acoustic guitar plays a counter melody, then a saxophone comes in and takes over. Next an electric guitar solo follows and the drums seem organic at this point as they are more interesting now and not following a programmed pattern.

'Stratosfear 1995' is a re-imagining of the TD staple. This time it seems to be done as a full band mixed with the electronics. It's an interesting take on the original that actually builds on it. 'Bride in Cold Tears' moves the album in a slightly different direction with a more romantic feel, a more melodic turn and a smoother delivery.

'Haze of Fame' is the longest track at over 8 minutes. It starts with an electric guitar solo supported by airy synths and no percussion. When the percussion does come in after a minute, it is at a medium-slow tempo. This track also features a romantic sax melody. It tends to teeter dangerously close to a new age sound, and you start to forget that this is an electronica album.

The title track 'Tyranny of Beauty' comes next. This track continues the slower, more pensive side of TD. This one is a bit better than the last track in that it isn't so new age sounding, but it still stays close to an accessible sound and is more driven by guitar in the middle, but gets too repetitive before it ends. The last track listed is 'Largo' which is a cover of the popular Handel processional melody from 'Xerxes'. You'll probably recognize it when you hear it. If you doubted the 2nd half of this album was new age, you'll be more certain that it is now as it could just as well be Kenny G playing the sax. Bleah! This is followed by a hidden unlisted track named 'Quasar'. This is a relatively shorter track placed here to end the album on a higher note with an upbeat track. Even the electronic melody is better that anything else on this side of the album.

At first, during the first 5 tracks on this album, it seems like a marked improvement that was helped with the additional personnel, and at times harkened back to a slightly more progressive sound from yesteryear, but the 2nd half of the album quickly declines in quality as it inches closer and closer to that inevitable new age sound. With half of the album being great and the 2nd half just being mediocre or less, this ends up as another 3 star album.

TCat | 3/5 |

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