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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Tangerine Dream Encore (1977)

Encore is a precious witness of this unique atmosphere of magic that radiated Tangerine Dream's concerts of that time

1 Cherokee Lane (16:19)

2 Monolight (19:54)

3 Coldwater Canyon (18:06)

4 Desert Dream (17:30)

Virgin Records

(CD 71:49) (V.F.)

(Berlin School)

During the 70's, the Tangerine Dream concerts were unique. Because of the delicacy of analog synths and sequencers and most of all the mellotron, the German trio improvised each evening a new show. Yes, the main frame was similar and Tangerine Dream was comfortable in this context that the trio used to tame since 1974. Thus Franke, Froese and Baumann transposed the essences of Stratosfear, and even of Phaedra, in furious rhythms built around electronic percussions and sequencer. These rhythms supported the rage of the synths, keyboards and mellotron, as well as the rather rock approach of Edgar Froese's guitar. ENCORE is the sonic archive and the witness of this furious North American tour, that I had the chance to see in Montreal and which shown that EM was more than an unidentifiable floating music.

A strange metallic and spectral wind raises the sound particles of a gloomy sibylline ambience. The intro of Cherokee Lane plunges into a syncretic sound world where lines of dark old organs float and intertwine in a waltz for wandering souls. They are lost in the waving rhythm of a sweet sequence, scented with the soft layers of Baumann's dreamy mellotron of. Erratic and staggering, the sequencer's keys embrace a tender fluty line and a warm bass line, guiding Cherokee Lane to a violent heavy rhythm, long awaited and highly prized by an audience that remembers the first heaviness of Cherokee Lane's sequencing battle. A heavy rhythm on a strong bass line, Cherokee Lane lets hear a clever fusion of previous albums Rubycon and Phaedra. The synths and the mellotrons boil on swirling and exhilarating rhythms, escaping furious synth and mellotron solos that are harpooned by the tenacity of Franke's sequencing art. The synth screams and makes roll its solos in perfect symbiosis with the mellotron, while Cherokee Lane becomes heavier and die off very slowly under the reflectors of daylight.

Monolight begins with an evasive piano that strays on tunes of Rubycon. This sweet piano, a bit melancholic, is joined by a short passage of mellotron before fading into a hell filled with squeaks and metal rumblings along with screaming synths. It's like being in the psychedelic era of Pink Floyd with Ummagumma. A slight roll of percussions comes out, accompanying keys and synth breaths that shape a splendid melody. A sweet melody that hangs on a sigh to the soul and is lost in the metallic sounds that clash in a heavy din. A melody that will also serve as a springboard for the single ENCORE and a pretext to propel Monolight to a furious movement of the sequencer which becomes surrounded by a heavy bass line and good synth solos charged of apocalyptic ululations. Monolight drifts towards a monumental trio of synths that chants a melody with bold and symphonic solos that circulate and fill the moods, while crossing the sequences of Stratosfear. Monolight continues its melodious road with its rumblings of sulfur and tempers its fury in a piano that hells are gripping with their synthesized shadows.

Cold and resonant chords fall like the last drops of an icy cold autumn rain are opening Coldwater Canyon. Very heavy and psychedelic, Coldwater Canyon is Edgar's track. On a musical structure in constant declivity, and which resembles to a slow and jerky movement of Stratosfear, Edgar lets go his electric madness in a pure improvisation anthem, like a rock star accompanied by his docile crew. Twisted solos, bitten by heavy riffs, and spiral loops fly over a minimalism movement that gradually fades. It's a cutting-edge track that stands out from TD's repertoire with a furious vision of heavy and stormy progressive rock, though the keyboards and the jerky flow of electronic sequences and the percussions are clearly steeped in this phase of progressive electronic genre of Berlin School. Desert Dream ends this double live set with a long atmospheric title that stretches its minutes in a cloud of floating and ambiguous sounds. This opening is very meditative with heterogeneous sounds that float in a dream world. It's pure ambiosonic magic of the analog years that go between our ears. Desert Dream slowly fades with a beautiful mix of electric piano, symphonic synth and a foggy mellotron, bringing the scent of Invisible Limits from Stratosfear.

ENCORE is a precious witness of this unique atmosphere of magic that radiated Tangerine Dream's concerts of that time. Each night was a different musical happening that delighted the fans. From improvisation around the structures of Stratosfear and Phaedra on laser effects which were very effective and enchanting for the time, ENCORE offers unique moments that are always engraved in the memories of the thousands of spectators who were there. I was there!

Sylvain Lupari (August 5th, 2006) ****½*

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