TANGERINE DREAM: Oasis (1997)
“At the end, this Oasis is much better than its shy reception from critics”
1 Flashflood 7:00
2 Zion 5:43
3 Reflections 5:08
4 Cliff Dwellers 5:06
5 Waterborne 7:20
6 Cedar Breaks 5:08
7 Summer Storm 6:06
8 Hopi Mesa Heart 5:53
9 Chia Maroon 4:10
TDI Music TDI CD008
(CD 51:34) (V.F.) (Sequencer-based E-Rock)
The music, and especially the video, of Canyon Dreams was a commercial success for Miramar in 1986. The music was composed by Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Paul Haslinger and was even nominated for a Grammy in the best new age album section. Ten years later, Edgar teamed up again with photographer Gary Warriner to compose, with his son Jerome, the music for what would become OASIS. This time, the commercial success never flirted with the first collaboration. This can be explained by the fact that the music is very far from the New Age paths, except for Cedar Breaks, to offer a solid electronic rock whose bases were heard on the fiery 220 Volt Live. First released on Miramar, OASIS was made available to the European market on the TDI label during the Dream's 1997 tour in Eastern Europe. The critical reception being very mixed, I first confronted OASIS with my ears filled with suspicion. Attitude as unfounded as the lukewarmness of the critics! With the exception of Cedar Breaks, my ears were confronted with solid electronic rock without artifices, nor those noisy irritants that end up making the listening unbearable. OK, the emotionless vocal layers are still present, but they are less insistent and are sometimes great like in Cliff Dwellers. Moreover, the music is entirely performed by synthesizers and sequencers. No drum machines, no saxophones. If the music is based on albums from Rockoon to Goblin's Club, we also find essences that remind us of the glorious 70's of Tangerine Dream.
In short, an excellent surprise that starts with Flashflood. After a usual opening to the genre, the sequencer makes beat a line of rhythm which flickers by drawing ascending circles. The synth layers that fill the scene have a mysterious and dramatic tendency, while a very good play of percussions and percussive effects tie in with an evolving structure that becomes a powerful electronic rock framing a melodic earworm approach. It's very close to Goblin's Club with easy but effective arrangements. Zion follows with a steady beat built in a series of oscillations that flit from left to right. The percussions set the tone for some good e-rock with more ethereal voice layers while the sequencer play awakens memories as far back as Phaedra. The hazy echo effect of the percussions coupled with the absent voices adds a spectral dimension to the music that stretches its charms a bit too long. Reflections needs about 100 seconds before offering a rhythmic structure that rises and falls from invisible peaks under nice mellotron chants. If this track is uneventful, while having a slight flavor of electronic country, Cliff Dwellers is a great track with a heavy and catchy rhythmic structure and a percussion play, including percussive effects, as seductive as in Flashflood. The music has a distant link to a Native American tribal essence with a fascinating electro-pop-rock vision. The voices layers are also more interesting here with a distant scent of Native American specters. This is another track that flirts with the Franke, Froese and Baumann period.
We recall of Waterborne to have heard it from various Tangerine Dream's 1992 North American tour's recordings. You can hear bits of it on the 3 Phases video. It is less violent and more melodic on OASIS. Cedar Breaks is an ambient ballad. A lunar ballad filled with those orchestral mellotron layers that give you chills. Summer Storm follows with the essence of electronic rock that energized the North American tour of 1992 and which 220 Volt Live is filled from beginning to end. We are in the Flashflood, Cliff Dwellers and Waterborne genre. The percussions, especially those effects that thunder like heat thunders, and that minimalist melody hung on the sequencer are highly seductive elements. Hopi Mesa Heart's music has a nice Native American tribal essence with shamanic rattlings over more tribal-like percussions. Its rhythm is static before diving into a short atmospheric phase, which makes sense in the video, before returning with a more animated structure. Bonus track on the second CD edition of OASIS, Chia Maroon offers a fiery rock typical of Jerome Froese's remixes in his Dream Mixes series. For an additional track, it's a very big one that adds to the perception that finally this OASIS is much better than its shy reception from critics.
Sylvain Lupari (May 5th, 2022) ***½**