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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Tangerine Dream Alpha Centauri (1971)

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

A little musical gem that follows the random paths of a nascent EM

1 Sunrise in the Third System 4:20

2 Fly and Collision of Comas Sola 13:03

3 Alpha Centauri 22:00

LP ORH OMM 56012

Castle CD: ESMCD346

(CD 39:23) (V.F.)

(Electronic, Krautrock, Experimental)

I've been talking about ME, space music for a long time. Well, here is the very first opus of atmospheric electronic music and of spacemusic; ALPHA CENTAURI. After the experimental Electronic Meditation, Tangerine Dream is amputated of 2 members: Conrad Schnitzler and Klaus Schulze. Edgar Froese does not give up and continues his exploration of sounds and its ambiguities. He recruited Chris Franke and Steve Schroeder in turn to reform the Dream. The new trio introduces the first measures of the VCS 3 synth, which Pink Floyd will use on Dark Side of the Moon a few years later. More structured than Electronic Meditation, ALPHA CENTAURI is distinguished by a more thorough approach on organs, that Froese and company had the opportunity to experiment with for three weeks, just before embarking on the superb musical adventure of Tangerine Dream.

Distant guitar chords set the stage for Sunrise in the Third System. A dull buzzing sound wraps around this intro where the organs float in an atmosphere that is both mephistic and celestial. Floating and spatial movement, Sunrise in the Third System wanders in cerebral limbo with a morphic sweetness. The sonic experimentation becomes more complex with the intro of Fly and Collision of Comas Sola. Caustic oscillations bite the eardrums, twirling in imperfect circles and leaving a sonic powder that buries the opening bars of timid guitar chords and of a shivering organ. As the cacophonous intensity diminishes, one is gripped by a traditional melodic approach with a more ethereal, albeit heavy, organ accompanied by a dreamy flute. Under cosmic thunders, the movement becomes more rocking with a superb performance by Franke who rolls out his skins with fury, not obstructing Udo Dennenbourg's flute at any point. One of the first good structured pieces of TD that tangles between the atmospheres of Pink Floyd's Ummagumma and its own Green Desert. The title-track is a sublime blend of EM and prog rock. Floating cymbals introduce an eclectic but intense sound fauna, plunging the listener into the curious musical world of Floyd on Saucerful of Secrets, VCS 3 synthesizer in plus. A sound universe that shines under a beautiful use of the flute and celestial choirs, in a dark and atonal cosmos, a bit like if an aurora borealis could make sound its permutations. A little musical gem for the hardcore progressive music lovers that follows the random paths of a nascent EM.

Sylvain Lupari (May 30th, 2009) *****

Available at Groove nl

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