• Sylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Blue Dawn (2006)

Updated: Oct 8

“The music here makes me think that Edgar should have always composed his music on a bus in route of the US' desert”

1 Where Dreams are Large and Airy 6:19

2 Riding the Wind 4:35

3 Thunderheads 7:25

4 Eagle's Crest 5:34

5 Food for the Gods 8:21

6 Without a bad Conscience 6:00

7 Cardamom Route 5:00

8 A World Away from Gagaland 7:03

9 Native Companions 4:11

10 Blue Dawn 7:00

Eastgate 010 CD

(CD 61:51) (V.F.) (E-Rock)

Getting a new Tangerine Dream album is always something special. Imagine, for almost 50 years that this band exists (this review was first written in French in May 2006). Fifty years that Edgar Froese walks with various accomplices to sign the music of Tangerine Dream. On stage and in studio. And in 50 years, things have happened. Like my neighbor would say, water is flowing under the bridges! And it's a Kyoto-style story that outlines the main lines of this BLUE DAWN. This time the story revolves around 6 compositions by Ralf Wadephul. Compositions that Edgar has reworked in his own style, in addition to the 4 ones that belong to him. The music was composed on the bus when the Dream was on their North American tour in 1988. We are treated to a diversified album, which ranges from good electronic rock to structures typical of the musical visions of the post Optical Race years. There is Easy Listening and New Age, not to mention the very progressive structure of the title-track. In short, a nice 62 minutes of correct EM.

Where Dreams are Large and Airy is that kind of melodic track that has become commonplace to the Dream's repertoire since their overuse in the Melrose years. A synth software puts a melody played on a romantic harpsichord form against balanced by a kind of mandolin. The effects and pastiches of the 80's also abound on this track which lies on an artificial rhythmic structure conceived in a mesh of riffs, sequences and bass sequences bind to manual percussions. Typical TD sound of the Melrose years here. Riding the Wind is out of tune and turns out to be a great track. A sequence waddles like a desire on the end of a rope for sinfuls, while percussions come to pound this structure which lives for the moment of a few sweeps of sound and vocal effects. The track amplifies its cadence at each turn of its harmonic clock to end in the harsh and incisive solos of Edgar. A hell of a good title that displays a fascinating obsession to give us chills. Thunderheads imposes a circular rhythm figure with boxed percussion and its flow infeasible for any drummer, unless you are an octopus. Following this rhythm, our ears sweep the sonic horizons and welcome a soft melodic phase injected by a fake guitar and its riffs suspended to artificial meows. I would have spent more minutes in Riding the Wind than here, even if some good rowdy effects make my Bang & Olufsen roar. Eagle's Crest is one of Ralf Wadephul's compositions and offers a rhythm adjusted to a pendulum effect of the percussions and a good creeping bass line. The union gives a melancholic structure that Edgar nourishes with good solos. The music returns to its electronic sources with a layer of spectral voices which covers a good play of percussions. It seems to me that it goes beyond 88. But hey, when Edgar comes back with his solos, it's actually 220 Volts. Food for the Gods begins with a good sibylline synth line to which is grafted an absent choir and astral sparkles. This line splits up to generate a heavy suspended cluster with an intensity that is very New Age. An acoustic guitar, with a slight Mexican accent, extends a ballad that goes far beyond its new structure sewn of tender emotions on a non-rhythm hovering in one of the good New Age tracks that I love to hear sometimes. A good composition by Wadephul here which also served to the soundtrack of Dead Solid Perfect.

It's hard to believe that the lively but soulless rhythm of Without a bad Conscience was composed on a bus in September 88. It's a too rhythmic track where everything turns too much ok in what looks like a session of Dalinotopia. It must be said on the other hand that the percussions and the percussive effects which support this layer of synth without emotion are remarkably effective. Cardamom Route offers a good, a fairly melodious electronic rock with a good guitar, its riffs and its acoustic vision compared to a synth in melody mode. Although good and surprisingly captivating, the percussions do quite an episodic job in this ballad which is a rock who does not want to know anything about his style. In the end, I would say it's good and already we can feel the breath of Linda Spa's saxophones in the arrangements. Lively drums and synth in digital mode, A World Away from Gagaland falls into that category of track hastily constructed to fill a hole in a Tangerine Dream album. Everything is false and everything is too much in this title which does not deserve its 7 minutes and dusts. At this level, the sequence of alternating keys at a moderate speed gives Native Companions more punch. The guitar sounds more real with a bluesy soul and easily competes with the synth-keyboard. There's just this passionless choir that's out of place here. But then again, we are a long way from the end of 80's. A rumble and chords drifting like a wreck on the sea sets a sinister tone to the introduction of the title-track. An astonishing synth line acts as a coral with a strong cinematographic presence where a guitar makes roar its line of fire which seems to sink, if we trust the oceanographic sounds which roll in our ears. The theme of the guitar is taken up by a synth, directing Bleu Dawn towards a big electronic rock linked to a solid rhythmic ride. There is a little moment of distraction that reminds me so much of Pink Floyd. A strobe line watches all around this movement which sets off again furiously and now guided by an incredible guitar. It might be written by Ralf Wadephul, but it's solidly set to music by Edgar Froese whose fury for life is just phenomenal. And on this track, as in the whole of BLUE DAWN of which I can't say anything bad. Bah… there are indeed 2 or 3 titles, but the rest is so too good!

Sylvain Lupari (October 7th, 2020) ***¾**

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