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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Tangerine Dream Hyperborea (1983)

A pure electro-metallic madness ahead of its time and that will lead to the magnificient Poland

1 No Man’s Land 9:08 2 Hyperborea 8:31 3 Cinnamon Road 3:54 4 Sphinx Lightning 20:01 Virgin CDV 2292

(CD 41:34) (V.F.)

(New Berlin School)

The first time that I heard No Man's Land, I looked like a guy lost in the woods of EM mania. True that I just started my apprenticeship of Tangerine Dream and its digital EM with White Eagle, but No Man's Land! Wow! One has to admit; HYPERBOREA was truly ahead of its time. These chords and keys which sounded just like heterogeneous aboriginal percussions were simply, and still are, awesome. Percussions of a digital tribal world which are dancing in a strange hymn for metal God, help by an odd bass line with a funky fragrance that drops its heavy notes in a ethnic frenzied where flutes and choirs of an intergalactic Amazonia gloat with the rustles of a repressed paranoia. Intense? Absolutely! Delirious? Totally! And the deluge of digital keys continues to furnish a cold jungle of charming tones, making of No Man's Land a hymn to perdition for an icy lost land. Cold and digital, HYPERBOREA assails our ears with an outfit of sounds and of FX that enhance the universe more and more avant-gardism of new Electronic Music.

Always under the spell of its new digital equipment, Tangerine Dream chews its reflections and investigates its sound quests with samplings as well as innovates at the levels of percussions/sequencing to forge rhythms of metal in fusion. But through these instruments with a high content of musical coolness, Tangerine Dream measures out its music with the heat of its feelings and its enthusiasms. Hyperborea, the title-track is the perfect example. It's a soft and intense e-ballad at both nostalgic and uncanny with its layers of mist floating above a slow, tortuous and floating rhythm decorated by twinkling and melodious arpeggios. It's a rhythm which is danceable like two bodies lost in pain with its two measures which progress among pads of mists and superb solos imprinted of a sensual melancholy. A pure jewel! There is nothing else to add. If we are looking for a track that could describe what is really an electronic rock then Cinnamon Road is the one. Lively the rhythm is constant and harmonious. This is a purely a melodious e-rock with its huge guitar/synth riffs and banging percussions that will trace the big rhythmic lines of Le Parc and which suited very well with the New Berlin School melodic beat.

Fleeing the escapades of a celestial anvil, Sphinx Lightning starts with metallic resonances which resound in an acoustic oblivion. A slow tempo settles down on this last long track that Tangerine Dream will offer on a studio album for years. Soft percussions fall and drum in a strange icy universe where the synths forge laments as much spectral as iridescent. Dissonant, the intro remains all the same rather fascinating with its metallic brightness which rub themselves into cosmic gongs and synth breaths that fly over an arid earth, like vultures looking for an exit to a dead world. But little by little, tempo and melody emerge to team up with these opaline spectres that are cooing on movements of percussions, guttural lines of bass and good hopping sequences. The universe of the Dream is deploying with this rhythm built on a slow elaboration that is hiding in a splendid ambient passage stuffed by fluty breaths and notes of a solitary guitar. It's a short wandering passage which quietly goes out of its reveries with a strange synth dialect, while tom-toms take back the road and are thundering with more power, the synth lines are swelling in symbiosis and, such as guitar riffs, the chords fall with power and din, ending HYPERBOREA with strength and fury.

HYPERBOREA or how to survive to an album such as White Eagle! These last two albums of the Dream complete marvellously the trilogy begun with Exit for a more melodious but always experimental EM for that time. This is also the last of a fruitful collaboration with Virgin. HYPERBOREA is also the last of the great TD studio albums where the trio still investigated the long titles with outcomes that were absolutely brilliants. Afterward, set apart Poland, Tangerine Dream will exploit more concise musical themes, locking the genius into a bottle thrown to the sea and which, from time to time, will resurface the moment of a flash of nostalgia.

Sylvain Lupari (May 22nd, 2008) *****

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