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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Melrose (1990)

Updated: May 10, 2020

Melrose is not that bad, possibly the best of the worst out of TD's American charm tour... But hey! I just forgot 220 Volts here

1 Melrose 5:44

2 Three Bikes in the Sky 5:58

3 Dolls in the Shadow 5:10

4 Yucatan 5:16

5 Electric Lion 8:13

6 Rolling Down Cahuenga 6:43

7 Art of Vision 5:30

8 Desert Train 10:17

9 Cool at Heart 6:09

Private CD | 2078-2-P

(CD 59:00) (V.F.)

(Pinky synth pop and soft e-rock)

It's with MELROSE that Jerome Froese joins his father to become part of Tangerine Dream. On the other hand, this will also be the last album of the short association E. Froese/Haslinger. The latter wanting to continue his career on the American West Coast. History shows that each new Dream album on Private Music opens a new perception when it comes to the musical orientations of Edgar Froese's project. It's a bit like TD is looking for itself. As if Edgar was looking for the miracle recipe to make Tangerine Dream win the jackpot. And we have to admit that with Melrose the goal was almost reached. It's undoubtedly the most attractive, fiercest and most convincing album of the Dream in its American adventure. And the overall result of this album belongs to the fan who must exorcise his previous demons and understand that the Dream of the 70's up to mid 80's is part of the past and will never return. According to this basis we can then admit that Melrose is the best of the worst with 9 titles with an average duration of 7 minutes which are clearly more inspired than on Lily on the Beach.

The title-track is a very FM melody with an ethereal opening where chords dance while dreaming on fine bongo-type percussions whose anemic strikes float in layers of a synth soaked in astral mist. Swaying between its delicate harmonious envelope and its light rhythm, Melrose escapes with a more ferocious rhythm which is unwisely watered by the saxophone of Hubert Waldner. Fans don't know it yet, but bongos, saxophone and uninteresting choirs were to become the cornerstones of Edgar's new compositions, which resolutely aim to charm a new generation of fans. Elements that will never attract me in the TD tone because I like 100 times better the symphonic layers from synths which are significantly richer than a sax. Melrose is an FM title which became the first video extract of Tangerine Dream that I saw on Much Music, the Canadian addiction of MTV. Three Bikes in the Sky somewhat tempers my disappointment with a nice melody built on a bed of dramatic emotions that houses a good guitar solo. I like it. It's super melodious and Edgar is raging on his guitar. Nervous sequences which pound impatiently in horrifying winds, the structure of Dolls in the Shadow is quite interesting, except for a pattern of sequences that anemically drums other bongo-style beat, while electronic percussion plows another rhythmic direction. The approach would have been more interesting if these sequences didn't have the skin of bongo percussions. Good but it looks so much like Yanni. In fact, this album is built on ease. False percussions that snap without enthusiasm, samplings here and there, embarrassed synths, overly tribal sequences, sober orchestrations and professional studio work, MELROSE has forgotten its emotions in the locker room. Each title suggests an inconsistent journey on structures that seek to please everyone and fleeting glory of FM. There are easy passages, like on this Dolls in the Shadow and Yucatan with an empty tribal rhythm and anemic bass. On the other hand, I like Electric Lion and its wild twists, as well as Desert Train and its indomitable structure which recalls that Edgar still has the juice of creativity. In stark contrast, Rolling Down Cahuenga and Art Vision suffer from the same deficiency of redundant rhythms and easy melodies who are looking for bursts of flare, an ear tap to charm MTV and FM stations. By cons I must admit that I like the 2nd part of Art Vision which follows in the footsteps of Cat Scan. Cool at Heart? A rather melancholic title with a soft nostalgia painted on the piano. The last memory of Paul Haslinger?

Once again, I remain strict with a work by Tangerine Dream on the Private Music label by Peter Baumann. At the time I was still hoping for a homecoming from Edgar. With hindsight, I learned to listen to these works, the only source of motivation of which was easy money and the conquest of the American West. There was neither! MELROSE is not that bad. It has good titles, vestiges of a once great band that could regain its means. It's nice, simple and catchy. In the same way as the first 2 albums of Yanni on Private Music which are however much more inspired and inspiring. But we are talking about Tangerine Dream here! A soulless album, apart from Three Bikes in the Sky, which closed the 20th century quite disappointingly.

Sylvain Lupari (June 26th, 2007) *****

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