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Tangerine Dream

Progressive Electronic

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Tangerine Dream Hyperborea album cover
3.48 | 267 ratings | 22 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No Mans Land (9:08)
2. Hyperborea (8:31)
3. Cinnamon Road (3:54)
4. Sphinx Lightning (20:01)

Total Time: 41:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Edgar Froese / ?
- Christoph Franke / ?
- Johannes Schmoelling / ?

Note: The actual instrumentation is not available at this moment

Releases information

Artwork: Monique Froese

LP Virgin ‎- V2292 (1983, Europe)

CD Virgin ‎- CDV 2292 (1985, UK)
CD Virgin ‎- TAND 4 (1994, Italy) Remastered by Simon Heyworth

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TANGERINE DREAM Hyperborea ratings distribution

(267 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

TANGERINE DREAM Hyperborea reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by richardh
3 stars Tangerine Dream's last release on the Virgin record label and a good one at that.This is a real slow burner of an album.The first time I heard it I was underwhelmed but the subtle ideas come through after a few listens.The first peice 'No Mans Land' is very hypnotic with minimal structure.Not a bad opener.Next up 'Hyperborea' is classic TD with it's dark atmosphere and lush synths.The album is worth getting for this peice alone.'Cinnamon Road' is a cute little ditty that contrasts nicely with the previous track.The album is completed by 'Sphynx Lightning' a lovingly crafted peice of music that is never forced but evolves naturally like teh best TD stuff.Overall as an electronic album this is worth 5stars and must be one of TD's best BUT this is a prog site and will prog fans like this? If you are into 'New Age' music like say Mark Isham then you will love this.If you like instrumental music that is more prog based in style like say Camel then this may leave you cold.I give it 3 stars therefore.
Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As their final work for Virgin, TD delivered in 'Hyperborea' some of their best material during the Schmoelling-era (in my opinion, only second to both 'Tangram' suites). Since 1980, when Johannes Schmoelling joined forces with the Froese/Franke duo, the trio had put a remarkable emphasis on the electronic aspect of their music, while keeping the melodic sensitivity they had been cultivating from the mid 70s onwards. Schmoelling's obsessive penchant for synthesized samplers and rhythm sequences allowed TD to draw themselves stylistically close to the musical patterns of techno-pop that was so popular and recurrent in the FM airwaves of Great Britain, Continental Europe and North America's West Coast in the early 80s. But of course, TD still managed to keep their own touch of sophistication and eerie inventiveness through all this process of modernization. Three of the four tracks comprised here exceed the 8 minute duration, and show a high level of musical creativity and a clever use of keyboard textures. The only 4- minute track is "Cinnamon Road", a catchy exercise on danceable, nice technopop: it actually fills the purpose of giving a fresh air of lighthearted stuff among the more solemn remaining repertoire. 'No Man's Land' kicks off the album in a most energetic way, with an African-like massive drum sequence synchronized with a Pan's flute sampling - something odd for TD patterns, since their albums usually kick off with languid opening motifs. The ethnic drive of 'No Man's Land' is handled with not too many variations, managing to avoid monotony, evocating some kind of ritualistic dance instead. The title track incarnates the most mysterious and pompous part of the album, both captivating and melancholy, as if it were an intimate look towards the heavens (Hyperborea is the celestial superior world in the Ancient Greek mythology): the two motifs that are linked in this track are based on simple, yet effective chord progressions translated into lush and eerie synth layers that at times almost seem to "whisper" to the listener's ears. Finally, the 20- minute suite 'Sphinx Lightning' fluidly recapitulates the mystic spirit of 'Hyperborea', the ethnic flavours of 'No Man's Land', the inscrutable synthetic paraphernalia of their 74-76 albums, and the symphonic elegance of 'Force Majeure', all throughout its five sections. Of course, the synth interplay and sound production forbid the band to look back to their old days so they may focus on their present orientation: yet, it's inevitable to refer to those albums aforementioned when listening to his piece. My overall balance is quite positive, somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, actually closer to 4.

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars I remember seeing one of Tom Cruise's early film called Risky Business and remember wanting to see it for the soundtrack full of TD . Well the film was apt enough (I was twenty or so and those kind of movies spoke to me at the time as my parents were leaving us the house as they went globe-trotting for three or four weeks periods) , but I remember being slightly deceived by the soundtrack. Well the music seemed to come out of this album , I am probably mistaken for the actual facts but not in the spirit of the statement.

I had not heard this until last week when I borrowed it from the library , but I would like to thank both Progarchives and the library for giving me the urge to discover this and for giving me the chance to fill that urge very cheaply as I would not have been fullfilled by it (but somehow , I knew that before borrowing it).

There are much better TD records than this . This is still a normal TD album especially for what was to come , but compared with earlier albums , this should be avoided . Hence the 2 stars rating.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This record has many sequenced parts. Cinnamon road is a funny sequenced bass synth track with a simple melodic keyboards sound, although a bit repetitive. Sphinx lightning is a long, sometimes floating sometimes sequenced track with drums, and it is rather relaxing. No man's land is unique, nervous and full of clinical noises. Finally, one of the best TD tracks: Hyperborea. Wow: relaxing, keyboards are very subtle and refined. Keyboards are both floating and sequenced, with some drum parts.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album started with beautiful drones painting a large, clam and cold space, but I was not very pleased as the programmed electronic drum loops appeared. The ability to digest these depends mainly on person's taste for aesthetics I think. After listening for some time I started to get used to them, but some other even more irritating sounds emerged after these, and "No Man's Land" started to sound too much of the music used in old computer games. There were some funny patterns sounding Caribbean drums in the middle of the song though, but the programmed bass loop and the following themes start sound like an Axel Foley theme. This shouldn't be a surprise, as Tangerine Dream did lots of movie soundtracks during their career, especially at the 1980's. The first track ended dynamically to some funny congas. The second track was the title tune, having good melodies and a peaceful feeling, and now with much prettier sounds than the first track. The front cover's picture fits the atmospheres of this song exceptionally. As the theme with chords sounding of some bells arrives, a strong association of Vangelis is born. In the middle of the track some arctic winds bring forth another theme, following the style and quality of the beginning. The name of the third track "Cinnamon Road" suggest to some exotic influences, which can be heard on the melody clearly. This music reminds me of the works by Kitaro which I had heard as a kid. Sadly this could also be the music for a bonus level of some coin-up game of late 1980's, and this performance too was too difficult to bring down to a proper composed ending. Dramatic chords open the final and longest track on the album, called "Sphinx Lightning". There are some familiar echoes resembling their "Rubycon" album to be heard here. This is a quite pleasing track, though I'm not very fond of the drum loops. The later part is an ethereal, new age oriented beautiful sequence.

It's interesting to try something progressive out from the exotic 1980's. Though the two shorter tracks out of the four weren't very good, the two longer one's were much better, and they make this as an interesting album at some level, though not essential I think.

Review by russellk
4 stars Half a great album.

This album is cold, hyper-cold. Chilling in its clarity, the band chop up sounds into miniscule blips and arrange them in mind-bendingly complex ways. If their previous music was gently falling snow, this is hail rattling on the roof. I find the first three tracks individually magnificent, an encouraging return to form for the Dreamsters. However, the final, side-long track, 'Sphinx Lightning', is very stale. TANGERINE DREAM somnambulance.

'No Man's Land' kicks off the album in fine style. Sadly neglected, I hear in this landmark track the precursor to the blipbeat techno 'pioneered' by AUTECHRE ten years later. TD abandon the dreadful programmed drums of previous albums and instead opt for world sounds: Caribbean-style steel drums, sitar and a host of chattering polyrhythmic sounds cut across by plaintive bird-call synths. Possibly, along with 'Cloudburst Flight', the very best thing they ever did. I'm absolutely addicted to it.

The title track is by contrast a sombre, sparse affair, suggesting a calm night in the sub-zero Arctic. Yes, the drum machine is back, but it's smothered in a layer of ice, reduced to deep thuds and rumbles. Gorgeous tunes drift across the bleak synths, melancholic enough to melt the most frozen heart. FROESE smears some liquid guitar over the second part of the track: why he was so sparing with this instrument, issuing entire albums with no guitar at all, is beyond me, given the splendid way he uses it. Funny, isn't it, how the band were at their most evocative when they weren't writing soundtracks.

'Cinnamon Road' may be the most commercial track they'd done to this point. Short, snappy and with a real melodic hook, it's catchy enough to round off the side with a satisfying finish. I do enjoy the way they've played with the echo on some of the sounds.

The fly in the ointment is the side-long 'Sphinx Lightning'. It has neither the energy nor the presence of the first side, and is merely an exercise in repetition. They must have thought they had this 20-minute track thing down pat, but they missed the mark here. Ugh, those drum loops! I look for evidence of beauty, energy, avant-garde experimentation and pulsing rhythm in a TANGERINE DREAM epic. In my opinion this has none of those qualities. Not entirely bad, just not in the same league as the material on the rest of the album, and not a patch on epics like 'Force Majeure' and 'Magical Meridian'.

This album was their last before they departed from Virgin, heralding a new era of new-age music and soundtracks. I see very little of merit in their 80 or so issues since this album. I'll review a few of them, but in my opinion the essential TANGERINE DREAM period, opened in 1970 by their debut album, ends here.

Review by MovingPictures07
4 stars This is another amazing album from the Tangs, and one that I pull out quite often. Be warned though, this album is most definitely a grower; it takes many listens to sink in and it is easy to feel immediately underwhelmed. Persistence is the key.

1. No Man's Land- This is a really neat and enjoyable song, and I personally love it to death. It has an interesting feel to it which is descriptive of its title, almost a desert-like feel except twisted. I like when the almost oriental keyboard parts come in and complement the keyboards and sequencers that have already been building the atmosphere. This is awesome. 10/10

2. Hyperborea- This one again relies heavily on atmosphere, building slowly throughout like the previous track, except with a darker feel to it than the previous song. Almost reminds me of an underwater scene, except not quite in the same way as any of the songs off of Underwater Sunlight. This is another well-structured song that is perfect for relaxing. 8/10

3. Cinnamon Road- Yay! This is a happy little song that almost borders on techno. Short but sweet, literally. The sparkling keyboards and the main theme are enjoyable and well-composed. 8/10

4. Sphinx Lightning- Here it is, the monster epic. Immediately you can tell this is going to be not an upbeat track, from the spooky, minimalistic introduction. It builds similarly to the first two tracks, taking its time even longer over the course of its 19 minute length (don't give too much full attention to this one!). Believe it or not, it's actually my least favorite on here, but it still is good. It isn't a perfect Tangerine Dream song and works much more effectively when you're not concentrating solely on it (more so than their other works). There can almost be an absence of noise too much at times. Otherwise, it's a good song that has interesting darker and neutral themes to it, expressive in many interesting ways. 7/10

This is another solid addition to your prog collection by Tangerine Dream, but definitely not one of their masterpieces. It is very good, nonetheless. Acquire it if you're into TD's masterpieces and you're thirsting for more, or if you just want some progressive work that complements well while you're studying, relaxing, or doing anything really. It doesn't make a good driving album though, like other TD albums.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This is the last album of a truly golden period. TD have signed some remarkable albums under this label and part of this great period will always been linked with my teens.

Taken this under consideration, the band is again playing a rich synth based electronic music as one could already have experienced in their later releases. The fantastic and spacey mood might well be gone, what remains here is still quite decent work. But (maybe) I 'm biased?

It is also true to say that I don't listen often to this particular work (there are so many other great ones from this band) but once in a while, why not? Like I'm doing tonight after having listened to their good "White Eagle" album.

"Hyperborea" though starts on a lower edge with a too much electro-beat oriented track ("No Man's Land"). But the feeling is totally recovered with the superb title track. "Hyperborea" is such of a great beauty again. How much I love these memorable musical moments! Plain, simple, straight, cold. In one word (or two): bloody enjoyable. My highlight with no hesitation. Another great "Tangerine Dream" piece of music. Should I say masterpiece? I guess so.

It would have been perfect of course if the other tracks were of the same calibre, but the short and repetitive "Cinnamon Red" is breaking the great feel.

Now, the side long "Sphinx Lightning". This is quite a TD format for an album. Some "short" tracks and an epic. To remember the glory days, I guess... It tends to sound like one of their best, it is timed therefore, it has some of those legendary flavours. BUT, at the same time it lacks a bit of everything and these beats are not always welcome to my ears. But again, the magic operates quite well and such peaceful and Far-Eastern sounds like the ones that one can experience at half time are just splendid.

"Sphinx..." is my second fave here and this album surely deserves a solid three stars with no doubt. Another good TD work. As usual.

Review by Peter
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Dating from 1983, Tangerine Dream's HYPERBOREA follows 82's WHITE EAGLE, and is a product of the same mid-period lineup of founders Edgar Froese and Chris Franke, plus newer member Johannes Schmoelling. As with the cover art, the music and sound is similar to that of the prior recording, so if you enjoy early 80s efforts such as the aforementioned WHITE EAGLE, plus its predecessors EXIT and TANGRAM, you should like this.

There are four tracks: opening piece "No Man's Land," at 9:16 in length, is sedate, contemplative and exotic-sounding; evoking images of the Orient. Next up is the title track, which runs to 8:46, and continues the restrained pace, taking us across the trackless tundra to a mythical far northern land ("Hyperborea"), as envisaged by the ancient Greeks. This makes good non-intrusive background music for reading, or it could serve well as ambiance for a leisurely drive through the countryside. It's nice stuff, and the use of some pounding drums along with the usual synths and sequencers imparts enough of the human element to maintain interest. Track 3 is the shortest of the set: at 4:04 "Cinnamon Road" is also the most up-tempo selection here (relative to the rest, that is -- it's still pretty mellow), and would not be out of place on a soundtrack for some documentary about ancient spice routes through the Eastern lands. Look! Here comes a camel caravan now! The closing piece is the big one: at just under 20 minutes, "Sphinx Lightning" has room to stretch out and explore more musical territory, though as the title suggests, the band is sticking with the exotic/eastern/ancient theme, this time taking us to Egypt. Is that lightning actually striking the inscrutable sphinx, or coming from it? Weird! Again, it's nice background music for daydreams and sun-dry flights of fancy. There are some drums, but nothing too "in your face" or scary. The Valley of Kings would seem to be at peace tonight, with the Nile slowly wending its way through this storied cradle of civilization.

Thus, HYPERBOREA, like all TD albums of its era, offers the listener some high-quality electronic background music. Not as freaky as the classic earlier works, nor as structured and sterile as the late 80s and early 90s material, it makes a worthwhile addition to the collection of fans who stuck with the band beyond their 70s heyday. 3 solid stars.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hyperborea, the last Virgin release and a mediocre follow up to puzzling White Eagle, there is a distinct soundtrack theme on Hyperborea especially the title track which in many respects was an indication of a more diluted sound in years to come. " No Mans Land" is the quirkiest and most experimental songs on the album with unusual percussive time signatures. The title track is OK, nothing brilliant but about midway through it does break off into some nice keyboard driven melodies. not unlike the soundtrack album Thief. " Cinamon Road" became a popular short live track but nothing to get too excited about. " Sphinx Lightning" is nineteen minutes of pleasant music which has about four varied moods with some nice string arrangments. Again an average album compared to some of their other works. Overall I would say a good work for completionists only. Just...three stars.
Review by colorofmoney91
3 stars Hyperborea is a much better collection of material than that found on White Eagle, but still maintains the obvious '80s obnoxiousness that is difficult to ignore.

The albums kicks off with "No Man's Land", which is basically a tribal new-age track with some eastern-Asian elements thrown in. There is really no progression in structure, and this track just goes along for 9 minutes with no real purpose. Undoubtedly a weak way to start an album. The title-track, though, is surprisingly high quality for anything by Tangerine Dream at this point. It starts in a dark, windy, atmospheric way not unlike the material on Phaedra, and only manages to get moderately new-age sounding near the end. "Cinnamon Road" features a post-Kraftwerkian type robotic melody and beat. it's not really bad, but it doesn't really stick out or progress at all, and the eastern-Asian elements from the first track also make an appearance here. The final and longest track, "Sphinx Lightning", doesn't really stick out much either. It definitely progresses throughout its duration, but mostly seems like the previous 3 tracks glued together just to make a lengthy run-time.

I can't say I'd recommend this over any of Tangerine Dream's other work besides White Eagle, but as with most music this album is definitely worth a listen at least.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Sometimes an album cover is able to address the listener's mind to a better understanding of the musical environment. Newage fans may know, for example, Mark Isham's "Tibet". The photo on the album cover is able to put your mind in the right state for that music like a Mandala. Hyperborea has the same quality, ,at least for what concerns the title track. It may be not a case that the rhythm of that track is very similar to what Vangelis will do years after on "Antarctica".

The first track "No Man's Land" doesn't have the same impact. it's just a good-but-non- essential electronic song with that repetitive style that's a trademark of Edgar Froese and very 80s in the choice of sounds.

Hyperborea, instead, is more complex and darker. After the rhythmic part mentioned before it changes tempo, goes slower and melodic before the percussions come back in the last minutes but adding sounds instead of rhythm. We can call it newage, but it's quite a masterpiece.

Having mentioned Antarctica I can't not underline that "Cinnamon Red" has more or less the same tempo. Nothing more than a good pop filler.

Now the side-long track: the Tangerine Dream of Phaedra are back. A sequence of sqare- waves is the repetitive base on which the track is developed, and as in the best TD works the changes consist in little variations so that the whole thing has its continuity. Of course there's more melody respect to the old things, we are in the 80s, but this is not a bad thing. The first important change is after 9 minutes, when the square waves stop leaving the music without rhythm. Since now we are back in the icy landscape of the cover sleeve, but we may be in any other place where nature and quietness are ruling. Some string instrument add an oriental touch, like a Tibetan or Chinese valley. The only thing that I don't understand is the track title. I can't find anything in this track that can make me think to a sphinx, even not the famous Egyptian one. The last minutes are dominated by sequenced percussions with some spacey sounds on which an interesting keyboard's chord progression sounds unfortunately too 80s.

It's not Phaedra or Ricochet but it's a good album on which spend some good relaxing time.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is perhaps the best of the studio albums TD released in the 1980s (but it's still not as good as the live Logos). This is also their last album for Virgin and their last really good/great album; there was a drop in quality after Hyperborea. The music presented here both sounds similar to the previous album White Eagle and the the soundtrack work they would become famous for. Of all the Schmoelling-era albums, this one is probably the most consistent.

"No Man's Land" has what sounds like bagpipes at the start. Before long, 1980s era sequencers come in. Later on you hear what sounds like electric steel drums, similar to ELP's "Karn Evil 9" This track builds up with layers of synths getting added. Very rhythmic but also melodic in places. The title track is one of TD's best '80s songs and the highlight of the whole album. It's almost two songs stuck together. Opens with lovely choir-like sounds and gorgeous melodies. Using drum machines here which add rather take away from the music. Later great bell-like sounds on synth doing the melody. This part is electronic symphonic prog at it's finest.

Just before halfway changes to a seemingly slower-paced section with more great melodies and a different drum machine programming. A guitar like solo on synth. Nice tremoloed sequencer and rhythmic drum machine programming towards the end. Finishes on a very symphonic note. "Cinnamon Road" is a very commercial track but also good and memorable. They would never have done anything like this on their 1970s albums. Either real sitar or sitar-like sounds used. If this song had vocals it would probably have been a synth-pop hit.

Even in 1983 artists such as Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield were still releasing 20- minute epics. "Sphinx Lightning" is the side-long track on this album and one of their better '80s moments. At times this reminds me of their late '70s sequencer work. The drum machine programming at the beginning is pretty good. The first few minutes is a bit repetative. Around 3 1/2 minutes is where it gets more '70s sounding while the drum machine gets sped up but also lowered in volume.

Later a synth solos as more drum machines get added to the mix. Eventually the drum machines fade out and everything gets ambient and atmospheric. You hear some synth that sounds like a cross between a harpsichord and an acoustic guitar. Later a melody starts and the sequencers and drum machines come back. I love the mysterious and suspenseful synths starting before 15 minutes. Drum machines get faster and more melodies on synths.

The trio is embracing all the new technology of the era, but they are unaware of how said technology will ultimately date their future music. While never completely abandoning guitar and analog keyboards, TD in the mid-80s was all about digital synthesizers and drum machines (and soundtracks!) Good but not essential. 3 stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars By 1983, it was difficult for Tangerine Dream to stand out from the crowd. The increasing availability and lower cost of digital and programmable synthesizers allowed just about anyone to create and release an electronic new age album. TD's last album for Virgin shows that they still had some spark left, but were beginning to head down a dangerous path.

No Man's Land begins the album with TD riding the crest of the trendy wave of imitation world music. The song has a bit of an Indian feel, with synths doing a fair imitation of a sitar. It's okay, but really doesn't go anywhere. It makes me want to listen to Brand X's much better Indian imitations of a few years earlier.

Hyperborea is a throwback to the seventies TD, an almost classical themed piece, without the trance rhythm. Nice.

Cinnamon Road is thankfully short. It's an insipid, poppy piece, that might have been a big hit at the time if it included vocals by posers like a moaning nihilist, or a deep voiced woman with a crew cut.

Sphinx Lightning is the best reason to own the album. It's a classic TD styled hypnotic rhytmic piece, with the swirling keyboard interplay that the band was known for almost a decade earlier.

As a mixed bag, this gets 3 stars.

Review by stefro
4 stars With a cursory glance back towards their psychedelic origins, Tangerine Dream's 1983 album 'Hyperborea' is often quoted as one of this key Krautrock group's last great studio albums before the soundtrack work that defined their 1980's output started to take precedence. It would also prove to be the final album Tangerine Dream released on Virgin Records, bringing an end to a fruitful ten-year partnership which had seen the pioneering German group release some of their most acclaimed works, such as their commercial breakthrough album 'Phaedra', the cool electro-psych of 'Rubycon', and the inspired progressive rock of 1978's 'Force Majeure'. So, therefore, it seems apt that the last Virgin album should prove to be one that combines many elements from the group's past, plotting a course through the several evolutionary stages of Tangerine Dream's long career. Flanked, once again, by the talanted duo of Christophe Franke and Johannes Schmoelling, group founder, leader and creative-controller Edgar Froese mines an eclectic balance between future-calling electronica('No Man's Land'), Eastern-inspired psychedelia('Hyperborea') and standard TD synth-and-sequencer-bred sounds('Sphnix Lightning'), creating one of the group's most eclectic sets yet. The real stand-out however is the album-titled sophomore track('Hyperborea'), which blends chiming sitars, slow-burning keyboards and Klaus Schulze-style sound collages to highly-original effect, contrasting the slick 80's TD style nicely with their more avant-garde origins. Fans of both sides of Tangerine Dream's output should find something to satisfy their tastes, though it should be noted that when compared to previous studio albums 'Tangram' and 'White Eagle', 'Hyperborea' sounds remarkably fresher. Though one could not(yet) accuse Froese and company of going stale, 'Hyperborea' is one of the few Tangerine Dream albums that does actually stray from the standard plotted course of slowly-pulsating electric rhythms and keyboard-dominated patterns that defined the group, and it comes as no surprise that the TD trajectory changed dramatically post-1983. Tangerine Dream would, of course, continue long into 21st century, though, despite the occasionally impressive soundtrack piece, the rest of their output failed to match the heights of their earlier material. 'Hyperborea', with it's mix of slick electronics and Eastern-inspired psychedelia, provides a fine overview to one of the major forces in Electronic Krautrock. Fans of both the group and of the genre should find much to admire. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
Review by Modrigue
4 stars Who said 80's electronica wasn't creative?

"Hyperborea" offers a sonic variety rarely heard at this time in terms of electronic music, even in its progressive side. Contrarily to the previous album, "White Eagle", where the overall was rather cold and homogeneous, each track here has a different style and sound. This is due to the improvement of musical technologies, such as samplers.

"No man's land" is quite an unexpected opening. A mixture of oriental, tribal and javanase sonorities, the TANGERINE DREAM way. It sounds like no other composition of the band. Way ahead of its time. This tune must certainly have influenced modern electronic bands such as APHEX TWIN. The title track is a contemplative aerial, new-age slow tune. The soudtrack to watch aurora borealis in northern lands. The catchy "Cinnamon Road" is a nice short sequenced tune with a bit of sitar in it.

After these flawless heterogeneous compositions, the record finishes with its long suite, "Sphinx Lightning". The first part also differs from the rest of the album, as it weaves a dark, pulsating, hypnotic theme. Irresistible, this pre-trance passage is again visionary. At this point, we may wonder if we have here the perfect 80's TD album. Unfortunately not, the end part is rather flat and much less inspired than everything that came before. In terms of musicality, "Sphinx Lightning" does not stand comparison with their previous suite, "Mojave Plan".

"Hyperborea" is a sonic delight, always surprising the listener. One of the best and most inventive album from 80's TANGERINE DREAM, and an essential stop for electronica fans.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Tangerine Dream's stint at Virgin had seen them transition from the psychedelic electronic pioneers of their early days to the sleek, technologically advanced unit poised to absolutely glut the market with material over the course of the 1980s, particularly through their soundtrack efforts. All snark aside, though, this is one of the better Tangerine Dream albums of the 1980s; like Exit and Thief, it's very much a product of their new post-transition sound, but it's one of the more gorgeous and intricate examples of it, and the production standards have hold up well to this very day. A fascinating electronic trip, with a mysterious, awe-inspiring atmosphere - like the soundtrack to a documentary about a lost civilisation that never existed.
Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tangerine Dream's "Hyperborea" sits nicely at the end of their Virgin Years period as an example of how the band had developed into a solid three piece outfit now that Schmoelling had joined. Tangerine Dream are now using percussion in a much more pronounced manner than the earlier years.

I read that the title "refers to the mythological land beyond the cold North wind, an earthly paradise of eternal sunshine. In Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophical book Hyperborea is named as the second earth race after the so called Polaric race, followed by the Lemurian, Atlantis and Aric race." It certainly opens with glacial landscapes with icy slabs of synth and electronic bird calls. No Man's Land is an intriguing piece of music that builds slowly into beautiful organic atmospheres. Schmoelling said in an interview "the title No Man's Land was influenced by the film 'Gandhi' and its brilliant soundtrack." Having seen that epic I can concur that there is a mystical quality to the music that is well suited.

Hyperborea is an atmospheric piece with an otherworldly vibe, with soothing synths layered over each other. It may get you hyped or bored but it will generate some strong emotions.

Cinnamon Road is very uplifting and a charming diversion for TD. The keyboards sparkle and shimmer with some very pretty synth lines. It is a high point for the album and one of TD's best works.

Sphinx Lightning is too long and does not encompass enough variation to sustain it for my tastes. It is sparse and minimalistic, then builds gradually into an ethereal epic. I prefer TD in short bursts or at least not wallowing on one idea for too long. However it shows the experimental side of the band and they were moving into a new phase rarely to traverse into such territory again.

Overall this is a decent TD adventure and like a lot of their releases will create images in your head that are deeply personal and difficult to explain. They are certainly a diverse group and one of the best for electro sympho addicts.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Having owned only an infinitesimal amount of TD's discography comparatively speaking, I'm not really sure where to place this among its predecessors and contemporaries. However, Hyperborea stands out in the band's 80s oeuvre primarily because of the Eastern flavor of opening track No Man's Land. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1918790) | Posted by Elioglossia | Monday, April 30, 2018 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Hyperboring! Tangerine Dream on autopilot. Not as New Wave as White Eagle, this album sees Tangerine Dream applying their by-now standard 80s formula, which involves endless repetition of drum loops, simplistic chord progressions, and synth sequences. All is not lost - the second half of the titl ... (read more)

Report this review (#1704129) | Posted by Walkscore | Tuesday, March 21, 2017 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Hyperborea is one of the very few albums by TD that I enjoy listening to from beginning to end. I have almost the entire Discography by TD in my collection - if only for the odd piece on most albums, leaving me to wade through wast quantities of boring filler material. Yes, it takes quite an ... (read more)

Report this review (#870005) | Posted by BORA | Sunday, December 2, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my favorite TD albums! This album is from what I consider to be the best period of TD from 1979-1983. With the addition of J. Schmoelling their music is more rhythmic and this one has a stronger beat as there is more emphasis on the precussion. I find this is a much more enjoyable album ... (read more)

Report this review (#74895) | Posted by freebird | Thursday, April 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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