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Tangerine Dream

Tangerine Dream
September 27, 2010, 05:32:56 PM
I just listened to both Phaedra and Rubycon for the first time several days ago, and have played both a number of times since.  I had heard good things about this band, and they delivered on some level.  But...

Isn't this music the easiest of 'easy listening'?  There are beautiful passages, but there is nothing really going on in the music; like a butterfly flitting about, or the sun glistening over a rippling pond on a fall afternoon.  Such are the images evoked here, and while these are truly things of pleasure, I cannot help but question if, in some way, this music is something from which I should turn, despite a strange desire to sit and hide in the warm glow of its ambiguity.

Phaedra is very nice once it picks up in the middle, but I can't shake the feeling that this music simply isn't as good as it could be.  Phaedra begins with a promise of greatness, but never quite seems to get off its feet.  Briefly, nine minutes in, I glimpse the structure of an unknown world; I get the sense that the music could go on forever, and it must, for only through such perpetuity would it achieve its goals.  Then it ends, seemingly unresolved.  The music remains a snippet, a two-dimensional shade of a some vast and sprawling infinity.

All of this is compounded by the dated aesthetics.  That cosmic sense for which I longed-- was that all a farce?  Merely a new-agy aspiration?  Unfortunately I am left to wonder such things.

Re: Tangerine Dream
September 27, 2010, 10:54:45 PM
interesting oppinion, maybe I have felt something similar many years ago about this music and these albums (between some others, always electronic & ambient)

just consider if titles like "misterious semblance at the strand of nightmare" give you any clue related to how you reatc when you listen to these albums.

Re: Tangerine Dream
January 30, 2015, 09:01:33 AM
A very interesting opinion indeed.

Actually it would seem that ambient often does lack the type of forcefulness the average metal-listener seeks, and likewise metal lacks the subtle textural element found in ambient electronic. Where their territories cross over if at all is in the atmospheres hinted at through both on a level beyond common perception. May it become known to both in time.

And may Herr Froese rest peacefully in Valhalla as the visionary and synth-god that he undoubtedly was!

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 24, 2015, 10:45:36 AM
I must disargree here, atleast in the Rubycon case. I think it is very well structured and progresses in a thought-through way, just like the best death and black metal. If you look at the Stratosfear album it is even more "forceful-sounding" with its distinctive melodies and percussion. Or am I wrong?

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 25, 2015, 10:42:43 AM
I dare say, you are not wrong Spinal! From around the point of creating Phaedra and onwards for a few albums they achieved a synergy of these two directions i.e. semi-narrative type structure and droning obscure atmospheric sound-textures such as can be found on an album like Zeit.

But whereas in metal riffing this takes the form of a jigsaw puzzle, Tangerine Dream employ their narrative moreso like a collage or painting in the style of impressionism i.e. somewhat still abstracted by atmosphere. And the moments of intensity are indeed there for those whom develop the perceptual ear (perhaps more readily identifiable to listeners of black metal than death metal, again because of the emphasis on manipulating atmosphere).

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 26, 2015, 03:08:21 PM
Good points... I have a question about Stratosfear. When revisiting this album the other day it made me think about the percussive elements I mentioned earlieR. The rhythm elements, are they not melodies? It's like TD uses the  melodies with more of a looped and "forceful" character as rhythm. Maybe this is obvius (or plainly wrong), but atleast it made me think.

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 27, 2015, 07:45:18 AM
I suppose instruments of melody can take on a percussive effect at times just like percussive instruments can be tuned a certain way to create certain pitches (depending on a given composition, this could at times lend itself to melody).

Of course when it comes to electronic music this is even more the case, as the medium itself is all about manipulating what sounds real, and hence being better suited to 'otherworldly' type music than the replication of acoustic sound. But really, it all depends.

As for Stratosphere, well it's got a fair bit more of that murky, billowy, cosmic atmosphere stripped away than previous albums. I do still like it (as I remember) but haven't visited in the longest of times. Yes, looping and sequences became more pronounced, conveying the ever-familiar effect of audible momentum/movement while at other times suddenly giving rise to expansive senses of distance (which could further give rise to one's foot reaching at non-existent brake-pedals). Cover design and artwork is among some of the most creative I have seen. While to it's detriment, synths started taking on that cheesy proto-80s aesthetic a bit.

I suppose, on the whole it could be said that it's the obvious point at which they changed directions (most will say for the worst) while still retaining enough artistic integrity for it to be a good album.

(insert two cent coin)

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 27, 2015, 08:56:14 AM
I'm not familiar with the entire TD output (well, who is?). I've got a 3CD collection of their Virgin albums, reaching from Phaedra up to Cyclone. From what I gathered, this covers their most praised albums, with the exception of Cyclone which seems to seen as a 70s lowmark for the band. I've tried out their earlier stuff also, but it didn't do much for me. While the Phaedra-Rubycon-Richocet triptyk seem to be somewhat above criticism, I really enjoy Stratosfear as well. When it comes to Cyclone.... Bent Cold Sildwalk is a nice little tune, but the rest is progrock going nowhere. Did they do anything more in this vein? How wonderful it would be to see this band doing something more thought-through in the progrock-style! Or, maybe not.

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 27, 2015, 01:10:23 PM
I tend not to like the prog-y direction as much as I do the earlier cosmic atmospheric ambient sound. But as you say, from around Phaedra and onwards to Stratosfear is probably the zenith. Nevertheless those albums falling either side of a given high-point are still good or at least interesting. And any live bootlegs from the early to mid 70s are better still!

 

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 27, 2015, 01:35:46 PM
I will indeed give the earlier material another chance or two. I remember feeling a bit lost when listening to Alpha Centauri for example, but it might just be that I was focusing too much on structure and less on, lets say, atmosphere. "Electronic meditations" felt more like  bland krautrock. I got the feeling that it was more of a spontaneus recording, but that they hadn't reach the genius-y spontaneusness (?) of Richochet.
What's your opinion of these recordings, aquarius? Sorry if I'm bothering you, but I'm on a TD high at the moment!

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 27, 2015, 02:14:11 PM
Everything before and up to Phaedra is experimental essentially, but still quite enjoyable and rewarding on the whole. Electronic Meditation is a bit messy and doesn't really grab me. Alpha Centauri was a huge step forward, way more refined in terms of technical innovations and music structure. It's probably their most unique offering and there are some really special moments in there. Zeit on the other hand is a fantastic drone/ambient album, and thus maintains a fairly narrow spectrum of interest among potential listeners. For some reason, I could never remember Atem...

For live stuff seek out the recording in Berlin Deutschlandhalle 1973, Reims Cathedral 1974 and Soundmill Navigator live at the Philharmonics 1976. All are great, reveal many secrets and would have passed for albums in their own right had hi-fidelity portable recording equipment been as available as it is today.

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 27, 2015, 04:08:02 PM
Oh, I completely forgot Zeit, listening to that record in the right moment/mood/place is quite the experience. I'm not familiar with drone as a genre (if it is a genre), but ambient/drone sounds like the right tag for Zeit. Totally out of this world, really. I've always thought of Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht album as a twin companion to Zeit for some reason. Might be the drone-ishness.

On another note... is this forum almost completely dead?

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 28, 2015, 12:06:35 PM
Not sure about the forum. But yes you are right about the parallel with Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht, made roughly around the same time too (to add a further parallel). The style of these albums seems to have been discovered and created by accident almost, as they bare no clear lineage to the style of more recent works in the 'drone' or 'ambient' genres.

At any rate, such genres can be hard to define, or at least are not as clearly recognisable as metal or rock sub-genres for example. The is partly because of the highly abstracted nature of the 'music', and that they are as much descriptions of techniques which could be used in any genre as they are genres in themselves.

Re: Tangerine Dream
February 28, 2015, 07:05:38 PM
I'm sure it's possible to find information about drone music somewhere, but I tend to distrust sites like allmusic when it comes to exploring genres. What whould be good starting points for exploring this kind of music? I'm not that fond of droning black metal, atleast not the Drudkh-style bands, but I guess it would be possible to make something good out of the metal/drone combination.

I wonder if anybody else takes mental notes or whatever to call it when listening to ambient music? I mean in the sense of mapping out the structures or places this music takes you to, so that you can keep exploring the "world" the music evokes. Some might rather call it emotional reactions, but I find it much more rewarding to try to evoke mental landscapes.