Tangerine Dream – In Search of Hades: The Virgin Recordings 1973 – 1979 – UMC/ Virgin

Tangerine Dream produced some of the craziest, most concise music ever created touching upon sublimity just as it does exhilaration. As far as musical experiences go immerse worlds of sound overlap with a weird sense of dishevelled time. In other words, the intensity delivered can be electrifying in the extreme, reaching beyond what others were achieving in similar fields as electronic music continued apace. Suitably then comes this huge undertaking as the albums they recorded for Virgin Records between 1973 and 1979 are neatly packaged into this remarkable box set. ‘Phaedra’, ‘Rubycon’, ‘Ricochet’, ‘Stratosfear’, ‘Encore’, ‘Cyclone’ and ‘Force Majeure’ are all present, with some tracks being newly remastered in stereo by Steven Wilson breathing a spark of fresh life. Opening via the 1974 release of the blistering, sequencer-driven sounds of Phaedra filling seventeen plus minutes of sheer brutal reality like no other – it was incidentally recorded during November 1973 at The Manor in Shipton-on-Cherwell, England featuring the line-up of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christopher Franke. Resolving on the same album into the haunting beauty of Sequent ‘C’ is quite spectacular achieving an otherworldliness unique to synthesized sound. Again you can hear the echoes of influence transcend time. Perhaps one of the most arresting things about all this is the contrast with what else was occurring in the world of music throughout the timeframe as the albums were released. All sorts of tempting extras are also added to the experience with concert, documentary and more only compounding the bliss. But purely in terms of what transmits from the speaker to your soul a good proportion of the music contained is simply to be located somewhere else and out there.

As the decade gathered pace emphasis was placed upon more melodic reflections as motifs figured in amongst the sweeping landscapes of atmospherically rich notation. You may, like me, prefer the earlier years escaping the more rigid structures of rhythm as they explored the atmospheric expanse, predating and subsequently influencing what came after. Some of the new from their live performances from that era still sound as tantalisingly bizarre and exciting now as then.

Release: June 14


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