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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Machu Picchu (2012)

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Even if the melodies seem cold and calculated, Machu Picchu is a nice album which has its numerous winks of eye at the great years of the Dream

1 Caminos del Inca 10:00

2 Machu Picchu 5:32

3 Adios a Cusco 8:09

4 Tayta Inti 7:26

5 Rio Urubamba 5:57

6 La Piedra Intihuatana 8:14

Eastgate 056 CupDisc

(CD 45:16) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, Berlin School)

According to the press guide, MACHU PICCHU is a very personal work that Edgar Froese has been cherishing since 2002. The work reached its creative climax following the death of John Peel, famous British radio disc jockey at the BBC, who was one of the first journalists to believe in the potential of progressive and electronic music in the 60's, including Tangerine Dream. It's in Peru, near the sacred Inca site of Machu Picchu that John Peel breathed his last, thus explaining a title and an album which is somewhat confusing. Confusion because nothing let sweats any tribute to John Peel. The music being very far from the embryonic years of the Dream and the atmosphere that surrounds MACHU PICCHU has nothing to do with the influences of an Inca world. But is it good? Hmm… I think so… and here's why! MACHU PICCHU is a dream come true! It's the reincarnation of Edgar in the musical temples of Tangerine Dream. Really can I hear you say? Yes! But there is a but… there is always a but with Edgar! Supported on a sequenced canvases which weaves galloping and oscillating rhythms of the Stuntman and Pinnacles years and embroidered in sober and calculated melodies in the coldness of its angelic synths, MACHU PICCHU is a surprising journey through the labyrinthine meanders and antipodes of the mythical German group. Surprisingly, Edgar has woven some superb sequencing patterns with variable rhythms that synths with worn-out melodies, in an imagination dried up by too many productions, cover with a melodic coldness reminiscent of the Miramar and TDI years.

Like a finger touching the surface of the water to draw shimmering waves, a note falls and awakens the lamentations of a synth whose breaths crystallize weak scattered chords. It feels like a Tangerine Dream musical lake where the timeless sweetness of Legend caresses our ears. A bass line lets escape its chords which float in suspension, awakening memories of Flashpoint, while undulating synth vapors cajole their hesitation. These chords line up and form a fluid sequenced movement which undulates under a thoughtful melody, leading Caminos del Inca to its first sequencer moves. A brief moment of revolt before the gentle rhythm resumes its rights which will be violated here and there by brief interludes that Edgar sprinkles with a poetic ethereal approach which gets transposed to the title-track. By far the weakest track on this last Cup Disc, Machu Picchu sits on sober slamming percussions and melodic chords with the Eastgate stamps that a whistling synth envelops in a bland northern melody. Even if the length is relatively short, listening to it is long and boring. It's the only stain on MACHU PICCHU which shows a momentum of creativity with Adios a Cusco, a title dedicated to John Peel, and its bed of sequences whose oscillating crystalline keys are dancing a frenetic duet and rock a progressive rhythm. A soft and ethereal melody impregnated with silk breaths is tying to the rhythm and its electronic drifts. Tayta Inti is heavier and darker. Its percussions shake nervous sequences with interrupted flow while the synths and its iridescent spectra are singing a bewitching nocturnal melody. Like all the titles on this mini-disc, the rhythm is broken by interludes, either ambient or floating, before it springs back with a little more enthusiasm. If the synths seem lacking in air (or melody), the sequences are always bubbling. A bit intriguing, Rio Urubamba presents a good harmonious approach with a romantic and nostalgic synth blowing its disarray on a bed of sequences dancing in a disorder spiral. It really is a very beautiful title! La Piedra Intihuatana concludes this last Cup-Disc with a galloping rhythm which walks with a spurred gait on a good melodious approach woven in the shade of a synth always so melancholy but nourished with a thin line of hope. The pace is minimalist and sustained before striking a quiet atmospheric disturbance where the hesitation of floating arpeggios offers a good ambient moment, as it flows everywhere on this long 45-minute's romance which is MACHU PICCHU.

Still according to the legends that Eastgate tries to forge around our dear Edgar, MACHU PICCHU was supposed to stay in the vaults of the old fox. It's his wife Bianca who would have encouraged our controversial eclectic character to put this album within the reach of his fans as she thought it was so good. And I have to admit that the advice was wise. MACHU PICCHU is a very good album. There are plenty of nods to the great years of the Dream. If the melodies seem cold and calculated, the play of sequences forgives this small gap with superb lines of a hundred shapes and rhythms. In fact, it is an album that combines the rhythms and melodies of the empirical years of Dream with the lighter and cold ones of the Miramar and TDI years.

Sylvain Lupari (June 15th, 2012) *****

Available at Groove nl

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