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Tangerine Dream - Phaedra CD (album) cover

PHAEDRA

Tangerine Dream

 

Progressive Electronic

4.17 | 777 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

R-A-N-M-A
4 stars Phaedra is an album I've been intending to get for the past year. I've been spoiled by the ease, cost and speed of iTunes. So I'll only resort to ordering in a hard copy if I absolutely have to. I believe however, that in the case of Phaedra, the extra effort and expense has not been wasted. All the music resources I've checked name Phaedra as one of Tangerine Dream's seminal releases. It is a dark and textural listening experience like most of the other work I have heard from the same time period. It isn't devoid of life like the earlier Zeit, but I don't feel it's quite as fully assembled as their single track follow up album Rubycon.

The title track Phaedra, strongly resembles Rubycon. It obviously does a few things differently but the style is identical. The first half sounds like the more energetic parts of Rubycon, with thumping sequencers and towering synth awash with mellotron and dissonant sound protrusions. The second half resembles the last five minutes or so of Rubycon. The mellotron becomes the main attraction overlaid with outstretched synth effects. It is considerably sparser than the first half. If I may be brash, the very last minute passes from artsy to well, fartsy. It is near silence with sound of children playing barely audible. Supposedly it is part of the artistic vision, but I'm not quite sure what it has to add. It's just a personal quibble really and certainly no something which would keep me from listening to it. Phaedra is an excellent track.

The next track is the also very good: Mysterious Semblance at The Strand of Nightmares. A title I'm quite frankly a bit stumped with; no matter. This is a heavy mellotron solo modified with soaring synthesizer effects. It is a great track for anyone who loves the big sound of an analog synthesizer. There are only a few sequenced bits and a few brief breaks in the mellotron. It is ambient, and at a few instances Zeit-like in a good way and never quite so demure.

Movements of a Visionary, isn't terribly musical to begin with. It has an expansive and interesting selection of sound effects; the most interesting of which I would describe as yelled whispers. As the main rhythmic sequencer line comes in the track takes a more familiar direction. There are some excellent sequences to be had, but I actually find the scattershot introduction to be a little more ear-catching.

Sequent C is the shortest and most ambient track on the album. It is quite gentle, but still somewhat dark. There isn't so much that can really be said about it. You just have to hear it.

Phaedra is an exploratory album. There are many different sounds and textures. I think in a way it serves as a prelude to Rubycon. Tangerine Dream heard the things they liked, or were at least more interested in working with and really fleshed them out for the follow up. As a tour of the capabilities of the synthesizers of the time I feel it's essential, but as far as a whole musical work it doesn't quite match Rubycon. I give it four stars out of five. I highly recommend it, but wouldn't yell at you if you didn't have it.

R-A-N-M-A | 4/5 |

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