TANGERINE DREAM: Goblins Club (1996)
Updated: Jan 29
“It's definitely one of the best albums of the post-Franke period”
1 Towards the Evening Star 6:16
2 At Darwin's Motel 7:22
3 On Crane's Passage 4:28
4 Rising Haul in Silence 7:33
5 United Goblins Parade 5:44
6 Lamb with Radar Eyes 8:39
7 Elf June and the Midnight Patrol 4:40
8 Sad Merlin's Sunday 10:50
8 Fort Worth Runway One 6:42
(CD 55:32) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, New Age)
Heat Robinson was to be the title of this GOBLINS CLUB. Completed when Tangerine Dream's contracts with Miramar and Virgin in Europe were over, GOBLINS CLUB was released on the Castle label before becoming the very first album to be released on Edgar Froese and Co's new label, Tangerine Dream International (TDI). I might as well tell you right off the bat that I'm not particularly fond of this more commercial than creative period of Edgar's flagship. The proliferation of albums and compilations has diluted the creativity that used to come back for an album here and there. I loved this GOBLINS CLUB though! There are evolving tracks with impressive percussions patterns, inspiring guitars and catchy melodies. That said, the music offered here has nothing to do with the Virgin and Jive years, although there are some influences well hidden everywhere. Except that this CD is clearly superior to the albums of the Miramar and Private Music periods. An excellent album with mysterious openings and unexpected developments, giving a more addictive touch to the music. The guitars, played mainly by Gerald Gradwohl and Mark Hornby who also played on some Miramar albums, add a lot of passion and emotion to GOBLINS CLUB which is definitely the most interesting post-Franke album.
At Darwin's Motel opens like old TD. With glistening sequences that glisten like a waterfall in an accelerated speed. Chords adorn this lively movement as well as bass-sequence pulses and finally percussions. It's like just before the orgasm...The rhythm changes its skin to become a good mid-tempo with keyboard riffs that introduce a heavy rhythm and a fascinating false voice singing a Berber homily. Fluid with ostinato passages, the rhythm is catchy and drowned under an avalanche of synth layers that join the old TD repertoire. A very good track! On Crane's Passage offers a mysterious opening worthy of an Indiana Jones movie. The structure deviates towards an electronic rock designed for guitar solos that sometimes sound like synth or saxophone. The guitar, which is very rock, is the only point of interest of this track with very good solos. Real percussions would have put us on the back! Whereas it is the percussion playing that makes Rising Haul in Silence interesting, as well as its guitar solos. A good track with good arrangements that make our ears addictive, especially during the more mysterious passages. The melody is evolutive and survives many mutations while keeping this little something that hooks our interest. The opening of United Goblins Parade tries to give us a good dose of chills with these artificial voices that wrap a delicate opening strummed by a dreamy acoustic guitar. This is the beginning of these false voices that will imbue the Dream universe for years to come. Here it goes well, but as soon as the track mutates into a ballad it's like too much. I like this atmospheric blur that encircles the music, as well as this great guitar solo that makes its core radiate.
Lamb with Radar Eyes breaks away from its nebulous introduction to offer a rhythm as nervous as its box-beat percussions. The track is quite lively with changes in rhythmic and harmonic directions that require a few listens before you say; finally, "this is a good track!" The guitar solo is quite poignant while giving another tangent to Lamb with Radar Eyes of which the synth melody over a quavering membrane quietly weaves its earworm. We move to Elf June and the Midnight Patrol. The orchestral arrangements and layers of seraphic vocals that surround its slow procession give it a succulent bucolic texture from the days when philharmonic style ruled the land of kings. It goes down quite well. Note that on the Australian edition of GOBLINS CLUB, on Evolving Disks, released a year later, Elf June and the Midnight Patrol is replaced by Fort Worth Runway One, a track composed by Edgar and Linda Spa. A rather cold electronic rock, even with a crescendo effect that doesn't lead to much. In fact, Fort Worth Runway One is a track that is out of the creative context of GOBLINS CLUB and is more like those on the albums Tyranny of Beauty and Turn of the Tides. If you really want it, TDI reissued the album in 2004 with shortened versions of Forth Worth Runway One and of the excellent Sad Merlin's Sunday as well as a new mix of At Darwin's Motel. Notice to collectors who will have to have a lot of money in their pockets in order to follow everything that comes out of the TDI factory. Sad Merlin's Sunday is a superb track whose multiple skin changes during the transitions as much rhythmic as harmonic give these damn shivers. Its opening offers a dreamy acoustic guitar whose airy harmonies reflect a little the sadness of Merlin. A thread of voice hums on the last seconds of this guitar which confronts its nostalgia with percussive elements near the 2nd minute. A synth wave throws an aura of nebulosity on these effects, increasing this theatrical threat that took hold of Sad Merlin's Sunday of which the first phase of electronic rhythm is caressed by flute jets and percussions carved on an anvil and then...The synth gives us chills with a splendid melody that will survive the appearances of both ballad and electronic rock styles always surrounded by good arrangements, including very good tribal percussion, which make this track an excellent success.
GOBLINS CLUB is an astonishing realization which definitively cuts the bridges with the Miramar period. What jumps out to ears is the absence of Linda Spa's saxophone. And we owe it to Jerome Froese who worked on this album since dad Froese was working on the 5CD box set, The Dream Roots Collection. Melodious and rhythmic, it is definitely one of the best albums of the post-Franke period.
Sylvain Lupari (January 28th, 2022) *****
Available at Groove nl