DANGER IN DREAM: Entrance (2001)
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
“If you only have one EM album that sounds like the best of TD, it's the only one”
1 Stratus 4 15:51
2 Underwater Connections 8:50
3 Conversation 17:39
4 Tyrell's Vision 19:33
5 Free Tibet! 1:36
(DDL 63:31) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School)
If you only had one electronic music (EM) album that would sound like the best of Tangerine Dream, say between Logos and Poland, to get, Danger in Dream's ENTRANCE would be that album. Forget the best of Arcane, Minds in Motion, Chris Franke and even Johannes Schmoelling... ENTRANCE is the album! Available and gone since October 2001, this album by the duo Robert Wittek and Alexander Guelfenburg has been rocking the EM planet since its release. The recent resurgence of this Austrian duo, during the album Iconic in the fall of 2019, put the name Danger in Dream back on the agenda of the day. And a few months later, the Austrian duo gave a second life in downloadable format to the mythical ENTRANCE which includes 5 long parts instead of the 17 small fractions on the CD version. This way, it's more convenient for those who want to buy an MP3 version. It's now up to you to seize this opportunity to get the best Tangerine Dream album to be released outside the clutches of Edgar Froese.
The first track, Stratus 4, will not cross the 90th second that you will already notice the harmonic and rhythmic power of this album that has become mythical in the circles of EM. A ground swell tells us that the start is given. The synth pad is powerful and as soon as it starts to agonize, electronic percussions structure the first phase of rhythm which is sustained and driving. Synth riffs begin to chatter, as the sequencer unleashes a handful of sound marbles that get dribbling around in the shadow of a solid pulsating bass line. Two-tone elements mimic metallic percussions, like it could also be percussive dialogue. In short, anything goes in Stratus 4. It's about 15 seconds before the 3 minute mark that a first hazy pad confirms how Danger in Dream is closer to Tangerine Dream than the phonetics of its name. This is the beginning of an incredible sequence where the rhythmic structure undertakes a vast metamorphic operation, as much in its rhythm as in its melodic structures. The synth layers, the hazy orchestrations and especially this sequencer whose tap we forgot to turn off and which pours a stream of sequences that take all shapes, while the percussive elements take all available tones. To hear the sequencer drown our ears, those White Eagle style of metallic percussions, these riffs carrying voices, and this fabulous Teutonic structure of the bass pulsations, everything is made to make us addicted to this splendid title which makes its effect even more in the open air, that is to say through the loudspeakers. It's 12 minutes of pure auditory pleasure when the music lets all the floor to the sequencer and Stratus 4 undertakes a sharper change to take us into the best. A grand finale for a track that is just as grand and that you will listen to again and again. The next track, Underwater Connections takes only 25 seconds before taking you into a real electronic rock hyper driving where the style offered by the duo Robert Wittek and Alexander Guelfenburg, the New Berlin High School, explains itself a little better. The flow is curt and hammered with a mathematical precision by a mesh of electronic percussions, a good pulsing bass-line and electronic effects sewn into riffs, to which is added a robotic vocal line. The synth pads fall with violence, generating melodious passages that melt in the ears. Precise and flashy, this rhythm is as addictive as Stratus 4's. But not for the same reasons.
Conversation follows with a structure that follows in slower mode, and without all the incredible flow of the sequencer, that of Stratus 4 of which the spasmodic texture is more evident here. On the other hand, this minimalist rhythm carved with squeaking sequences is the ideal structure to lay down a number of synth solos and harmonic effects, sometimes symphonic, which go hand in hand with this structure whose bouncing chaos subtly modifies its tonal vision. The longest track on ENTRANCE, Tyrell's Vision offers an opening that fills our arms with goosebumps. It's a heavy, jerky downtempo with percussions that slam like a sonic whip and nano sequences that flow on a superbly tuned conveyor belt, at least in its introduction. If the solos were raining in Conversation, here the emphasis is put on the well fragmented melodies that perfectly fit on this long journey flirting with 20 minutes. The apocalyptic siren calls are as present here as on Conversation but develop with a more dramatic vision. There is a coldness to this track, one would actually think it was set in an ice tunnel, that goes hand in hand with its futuristic vision that synth solos cover with a most striking analog warmth. The sequencer begins a mutation of its tone when it reaches the 9th minute, leading to brief bursts of rhythmic sequences and resulting in a transmutation that approaches Underwater Connections and eventually flows more smoothly. The melodious solos and effects unite their tones in a nostalgic 2nd part that slowly slides into a form of rhythmic chaos that is wrapped in splendid harmonic textures. Brief and precise bursts where the seal of Tangerine Dream is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere... This huge jewel of contemporary EM ends with the short Free Tibet!, an atmospheric track that ends in a big Tibetan gong crash.
Danger in Dream's ENTRANCE is one of the contemporary EM albums to have dislodged one of my unchangeable on my list of my best albums to listen to. And I've been wanting to tell you about this jewel for a long time, which is still one of the albums I listen to as regularly as Poland or Led Zep IV, but I found the exercise rather intimidating. Here it is! It's done, and I hope to have written the essential in order to incite you to listen to this magnificent album without me falling into this exaggeration which too often modifies this perception like when one says that our wife is the most beautiful...
Sylvain Lupari (January 19th, 2022) *****