TANGERINE DREAM: Cyclone (1978)
“Honestly! I think that Cyclone is very underrated if one considers that the half of its time is very in the 70's Tangerine Dream style”
1 Bent Cold Sidewalk (13:00)
2 Rising Runner Missed by Endless Sender (4:55)
3 Madrigal Meridian (20:32)
CD Virgin 7-91011-2
(CD 38:27) (V.F.)
(Progressive & Electronic Rock)
What is nice about writing a review about a cd like CYCLONE is that you have the chance to write the head with clear ideas. The head rested by the 28 years later when it was understood that it was an incident of course. I imagine the reception it has received when it was first released in 1978. And for good reason ... Ayoye !! After Peter Baumann's departure, Chris Franke and Edgar Froese had to calm fan's worries. They decided to take a more progressive bend, with vocals and a real drum. The German duo thought of expanding the audience of Tangerine Dream. Poor them! It seems that they rather triggered a wave of shock and panic among the press and fans that gave a taste of vinegar to the Tangerine Dream management. Yet, aside from the voices and the abominable Rising Runner Missed by Endless Sender, which is a big electronic rock pounded by a hyperactive sequencer, CYCLONE is a very nice album, from the technical and musical point of view.
Bent Cold Sidewalk starts with an intro that uses a vocoder. As soon as its last breath goes out, a big rhythm section falls with percussions, keyboards in mode bass strings and Steve Joliffe's voice. Phew! What an entrance, but what a shock especially. So here, I imagine the muzzles of 78 at this first listening. Bent Cold Sidewalk is a long title, as it was by the ton at the time, with a lot of chest and loudness. The rhythm is heavy and is built by a superb game of electronic percussions while the symphonic synths shape nice musical harmonies that intervene as refrains between the vocals of Joliffe. A bit like Yes did it at the time. Except that Joliffe has nothing of a singer like Jon Anderson to carry all this rhythm section. The rhythm breaks to embrace a more ethereal section. We have good moments where his flute is going in duel with the sweet harmonies of the mellotron played by Froese. A great synth solo is heard, and it's supported by a fine hypnotic pulsation and agile cymbals. It's a delightful musical movement where the magic of Tangerine Dream is going in territories as progressive (Genesis) as electronic.
Madrigal Meridian begins like the good old Tangerine Dream of the Baumann era. A superb intro with metallic atmospheres where flickers a key whose echoes is weakened on a pounding of the keyboard. The rhythm undulates and flows under good percussions, symphonic synth layers and bold keys that sound the charge for a raging tempo. A fiery rock with a contagious energy of the synths and of the sequenced rhythms of Chris Franke. Madrigal Meridian becomes an uncontrollable symphony where the undulating and hypnotic rhythm is surrounded by frenzied percussions, a synth with fleeting solos and frenzied chords that flutter on the fruits of a stubborn sequencer. It's a superb title that combines progressive and electronics under the Dante's madness of Froese, both on the synths and his guitar (a superb solo by the way) and the prowess of Franke on the cyclic rhythms of the sequencer without forgetting the Klaus Krieger's drumming and Steve Joliffe's violin. All this rhythmic frenzy tempers and ends in the madrigal heat of an ethereal harpsichord that accompanies the last tones of Steve Joliffe's violin. What a great track! But how many have gone to it at the beginning? Madrigal Meridian is worth the effort of going through the correct and pretty good Bent Cold Sidewalk.
If we consider that Madrigal Meridian exceeds half of CYCLONE time, we must admit that this album is far from being so-so. Obviously after Stratosfear and Encore the shock of a possible change of musical orientation may have scared the ears of fans of the Baumann era or what was left of Tangerine Dream. Except that this album has definitely turned the Baumann page and was going to the Schmoelling era. The most flourishing period of Tangerine Dream. But give CYCLONE another chance and you'll see that, aside from Missing Rising Runner by Endless Sender, it's not so bad. And if the vocals horrify you that much, jump directly to Madrigal Meridian. An unknown work that is as big as what the Dream used to create at that time.
Sylvain Lupari (September 5th, 2006) *****