TANGERINE DREAM: Le Parc (1985)
“Different certainly, Le Parc is nevertheless a beautiful opus filled with beautiful ballads at once cute and well put on rhythm”
1 Bois de Boulogne 5:07 2 Central Park 3:37 3 Gaudi Park 5:10 4 Tiergarten 4:28 5 Zen Garden 3:07 6 Le Parc (L.A.- Streethawk) 2:56 7 Hyde Park 3:50 8 The Cliffs of Sydney 5:20 9 Yellowstone Park 6:10 10 Streethawk (Radio Remix) 3:04 EREACD1027 (42:49) (V.F.)
(Melodic and rhythmic EM)
Ah…LE PARC! After mature reflections, it's not a bad album. At the time it was like accepting a new love vision offered by our beloved. Yet, we were happy like that! We have loved these long musical coitus with surprising musical changes that spiced an abusive listening, but amply justified by so much creativity. But our lover with strings of diamonds has decided of something else! And as all good lover that was conquered before all these possibilities, and last visions, one acquiesces. And, oh surprise, we find that not so bad, and we end up loving this new way of doing things. Except on the sly, our beloved just laid the canvas for our future relationship. No more long romp, place to short harmonious exchanges! For many fans of Tangerine Dream, LE PARC represents the end of an era. Firstly, this is the last studio album of the most electric and electronic trio of the multiple band phases. Secondly, it's the album that also marks a major turning point in the career of the legendary trio who will henceforth approach more concise and harmonious compositions. And history will show that the Dream would leave long and complex musical trips of the Berlin School to quietly weave into the American electronic model; the New Age or a kind of electronic rock that would lack as much souls than scale. Tertio, it's the end of the Virgin years! To explain this change of direction, Edgar Froese said: “Tangerine Dream is like breathing -- the first 12 or 13 years was breathing out and the other decade is breathing in. The simple concept is the inside and outside world. It's more complicated if you go into it but breathing in means that by the natural aspect of breathing, it's inside and not spacey. It's not macrocosm, its microcosm.” And that's a bit of the ideology behind LE PARC; 9 tracks for 9 parks that have seduced and inspired Chris Franke, Edgar Froese and Johannes Schmoelling. This transitional album of the Dream has had several editions and remasterings. A cat would lose her little ones! This last (and ultimate?) Edition of Esoteric Recordings offers a better definition of the sequences and percussions that are the cornerstone of LE PARC, thus cutting the rhythms more clearly without altering the beautiful melodies in it. In addition, this version offers StreetHawk Radio Remix (Le Parc) in a commercial format with a heavier and more nervous rhythm which targets a much younger audience.
Bois de Boulogne begins this virtual musical journey with a sober rhythm embroidered by a good mesh of sequences and percussions with heterogeneous tones. The rhythm is fluid, sensual at the limit, with a good bass line pulsation which resonates roughly around the harmonies of a synth that strew its breezes in multicolored tones, sometimes fluty and sometimes austere. With its percussions slamming like castanets on acid and its hasty bass line running down a busy street, Central Park has thrown many fans off balance. The music is rock with curt chords and a superb keyboard which dispatches its keys with lightness, bringing a confusing melodious aspect in this violent rhythmic context which is a little like the image of its city. It's a great track when we listen it at high volume. Gaudi Park is striking with its tam-tam percussions that alternate its strikes in a surreal organic musical fauna. The sequences are magical. Twirling like scissors in a melodious mist, they draw a harmonic rhythmic pattern all in nuance. Melodious synth layers with solo forms envelop this tempo enriched with chorus and sound effects of all kinds (we are even entitled to some icy winks of the Poland era), embroidering the outlines of a ballad that melts into the beauty and the melancholy of Tiergarten and its piano chords lounging in the babble of cherubim. The rhythm increases all in musicality under these piano notes that accept the caresses of a synth whistling under a radiant sun. Another beautiful melody that matures very well with the years. Without a precise rhythm, Zen Garden exudes traditional Chinese values. The pinched chords of what sounds like a koto float lightly in the wake of powerful pulsations and resonant echoes. Lascivious and astral choruses along with silver mists blow a kind of appeasement on a title that stands out with a dramatic theatrical approach. The title track lands with velocity on another beautiful mesh of percussions and sequences. The rhythm is fascinating and takes another tangent with another line of sequences, more limpid, which ripples with frenzy under the caresses of a very harmonic synth. It's a very catchy title that finds its richness with a panoply of percussive sound effects (by far the strength of LE PARC) and which has become the musical emblem of a cult TV show as well as the single of the album.
Hyde Park is a stroke of genius. The intro is fed by percussions with strange heterogeneous tones, tracing the pattern of a melodic rhythm that skips stubbornly. And over a short period of time, the German trio managed to build a superb title to the royal intonations with this cherubic rhythm that increases its intensity and its hypnotic grip on a melody in constant evolution. Superb and stoic ... to the England style. After samplings of seagulls, The Cliffs Of Sydney continues with a tempo supported by good rolling percussions and a synth with light violins effects. The approach is very cinematic, and the rhythm is heavy, even dark, with resonant chords jumping in the silver mists of a synth that extends its harmonic layers on a melodious rhythmic rising. Yellowstone Park is of an infinite beauty. This beautiful ballad starts with fluty breezes that mislead their lamentations in the discord of an orchestra that adjusts its horns and strings. A sweet melodious line is hatching out. Like a ticking, she drummed up her weakened chords that are grafted on the heavy hammering of the percussions, weaving a heavy and suggestive rhythm that the sweet voice of Clare Torry caresses of her warm sensual lamentations. The symbiosis of voice and synth is sublime, and the set offers a very beautiful suggestive ballad that freezes between our eardrums a heavy and slow melody. Its journey stigmatizes a listening as amazed as dreamy eyes contemplating images that capture the spirit and beauty of this beautiful park with a thousand treasures.
Different certainly, LE PARC is nonetheless a very good album full of beautiful little ballads both cute and well clocked. On the other hand, we are very far from the long titles with evolving structures and the still surprising endings. But it's the will of Edgar and LE PARC marks the beginning of a new era for Tangerine Dream where equipment and technologies seem to want to dictate the artistic direction of the band. In the end, this is the last interesting opus from the German trio who will also start a European and North American tour of an exceptional quality with Paul Haslinger instead of Johannes Schmoelling. But that too is another story. Oops, I was going to forget ... LE PARC has become one of my favorite Tangerine Dream album over the years.
Sylvain Lupari (October 29th, 2006) ****½*