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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Hyperborea 2008

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Edgar Froese sabotages a great album and destroys Franke's work on percussions

1 No Man's Land 9:43

2 Hyperborea part 1 4:07

3 Hyperborea part 2 4:48

4 Cinnamon Road 3:52

5 Sphinx Lightning 19:12

Eastgate CD 029

(CD/DDL 41:42) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, New Age, Berlin School)

Phew...Honey go get me the gun! Maybe I liked the original version of Hyperborea too much to appreciate fully this new Edgar Froese's sound lift. Virgin's Hyperborea is a hard album. Hard in a good way! Very metallic, its music and ambiences flow in a cold sphere that is also melodic. It was still an era of discoveries and sonic research for the members of the Dream, with Chris Franke in the lead and his simply brilliant percussions. This is what is missing on this HYPERBOREA 2008 reissue. For a story of rights, Edgar Froese sabotages a great album, contrary to the reissue of Tangram 2008, and simply can't make us forget the madness and the creative audacity of Chris Franke in 1983.

From the start, No Man's Land is anemic. A revamped version with a flavorless result. No extra-terrestrial percussions. No! Only an ethereal voice on solitary chords which split a rhythm as null as dull. Everything is sanitized. The bass structure, the drumming sequences, the rhythmic crescendo and the harmonic implausibility are nowhere to be found in this weak reconstruction. And believe me, I had plenty of time to try to get used to it. Still, the music is pretty. Even my Lise finds it beautiful. And that's the problem! From a complex track where Chris Franke's genius was globally recognized, at least in Australia 😉, Edgar turns it into a tribal elevator music. Hyperborea, the title-track, is a good and harmonious dark ballad. Here, it's just a nice ballad seasoned with those effortless and tasteless percussions that Iris Camaa has been shoving between our ears for too long. Furthermore, he puts electronic sounds that really don't add anything special to the track. It's kind of good, because the base itself is, and there is nothing here that justifies a re-release. Even cut in half! To me, it's literally a pure hijacking of creativity. Initially this piece was heavy and catchy. It's the same with Cinnemon Road! Even that voice effect that opens the music fails to dull the performance of the percussions, and even the sitar chords are minimized as much as possible. Muted percussion with underwater-tinged sound effects try to revamp its momentum, but the mellotron choruses remind us of a mass sanitization. Sphinx Lightning? The masterpiece of the original work maintains its equivalence on this 2008 edition. More percussions, more sound effects and a slightly enhanced rhythm add a dimension that is very listenable. It's almost as if it were Redshift taking over this long odyssey with its attractive ambivalences. Heavier, even more violent, Sphinx Lightning nevertheless keeps its scattered sweetnesses that make it a superb piece that modulated the structures of the giant Poland. And the guitar in the middle...yes, a beautiful rendition that should have been the equivalent of the track played in concert. But not in studio! Still, I love listening to both versions back-to-back.

Unless Edgar is in debt, I don't understand HYPERBOREA 2008. He's taking a swing at Chris Franke and Johannes Schmoelling, but that's his conscience. In the end it's good. In fact, everything Edgar does is beautiful, but not necessarily good at an artistic level. It sounds like he is desperate to reach a wider audience, dabbling in New Age and even, oh horror, in Easy Listening if not in Muzak. But young Tangerine Dream audience, I just hope that all his reissues of the old avaricious fox will make the interest to discover the roots of a revolutionary trio only increase. After all Edgar can do 3 stones at once....

Sylvain Lupari (October 27th, 2008) *****

Available at Groove nl

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