TANGERINE DREAM: Particles (2016)
“How sounds the new Tangerine Dream? Very good! Even too good...”
CD 1 (52:28) 1 4:00 pm Session 29:14 2 Stranger Things - Main Theme 5:47 3 Rubycon 17:25 CD 2 (36:25)
1 Mothers of Rain 6:46 2 Power of the Rainbow Serpent 8:16 3 White Eagle 5:42 4 Dolphin Dance 5:16 5 Shadow and Sun 10:23 Eastgate | 077 CD (2 CD 88:53) (V.F.) (Retro & New Berlin School)
Those who follow my chronicles for a long time know to what extent I severely criticized the artistic and creative direction of Edgar Froese's sound vessel. For me, the Tangerine Dream adventure should have stopped with Chris Franke's departure. But Edgar has decided otherwise! There were good albums following this decision and some small changes, so that Edgar became the legend behind Tangerine Dream. The Melrose Years were not that bad. The rest? I always have some difficulty to get adapted to those. The arrival of Thorsten Quaeschning in 2005 was going to change things. This brilliant German musician was the perfect match to Edgar's visions. The Atomic Seasons and the Sonic Poem series were going to regild the sound and artistic envelope of Tangerine Dream. For me, it made no doubt; without wanting to take anything away from Jerome, Thorsten Quaeschning was the solution to Chris Franke's exodus. And the Quantum Years arrived. Ulrich Schnauss was added to Froese, Quaeschning and the cellist Hoshiko Yamane. Sadly, Edgar left us a little time after the release of the very interesting Mala Kunia. The continuation? I was of those who wished that the Tangerine Dream adventure would follow his master in another cosmic address. But here we are! Once again, this magical name will resist times, tides and storms. Peter Baumann withdrew and Edgar's creative vessel found itself in the hands of 2 fantastic musicians and composers as well as this violinist who gives so much texture to the music of the Dream. We looked forward to a first album, especially that the performances in concert of the new trio have made our mouth water. And PARTICLES arrived in the CD boxes at the end of 2016. The first surprise is that it's a double CD which clocks near 89 minutes of music in a continuity of what Edgar had created, be the famous Cup Disc. The second surprise is the place of the recording of 4:00 pm Session; the Dierks-Studios in Pulheim, Germany. This is the same studio where Tangerine Dream had conceived Alpha Centauri some 45 years earlier. So much tell it to you straightaway, 4:00 pm Session is a superb and very successful journey in time. Except for the heavy and jerky rhythm of the sequencer movement, the title dives into these psychedelic atmospheres of the time with a healthy rivalry between instruments, in particular this flute a la Steve Schroyder, which sound exactly, at some nuances near, like those at that time. The rhythm is rambling, letting all the room for some very good ambiospherical moments fed by some nice Mellotron layers. The difference is this transition between the phases of rhythms, and its greedy sequences, and the atmospheres which give us lot of little shivers in the backbone. If that's it the new direction of the Dream, I know thousands of fans who will be delighted! Afterward we are entitled to 2 titles made in the Townend-Studio in Berlin. A third surprise waits for us with a well-done reprise of an electronic anthem which has charmed the ears of the fans of Netflix' Stranger Things series. Stranger Things- Main Theme is in the mold of Near Dark for the ambiences. The rhythm is lively and swirls like a striking spiral. I know the series and the music without the generic credits is rather different at the level of perception. But the Tangerine Dream touch, in particular in the 2nd part, of the Franke, Froese and Baumann years is completely appealing. The remake of Rubycon is the biggest boldness, and surprised, of this PARTICLES. And here again I have to tell you straight away, it's pure dynamite! In a structure of time which clocks nearly as the original version, the new TD exploits a more contemporary and more energizing tone than all that was redone on the subject. And a thing which I retain specifically is this feeling that the Quaeschning, Schnauss and Yamane trio seems to want to return to the real sources of the old Tangerine Dream of the Virgin years. But I will hold my horses and won't let myself be carried away too quickly. The 2nd CD is a recording of the concert that the new Tangerine Dream trio gave at the Schwingungen Festival am Wasserfall in Windeck, Germany, on September 3rd 2016. Quaeschning, Schnauss and Yamane reshape TD's good classics of the 80's, White Eagle and Dolphin Dance, with a less cold, a less Germanic tone from this era of pre-programming bases of rhythms. Those are two solid performances which revamp a little the coolness of that time. I like the layers of violin in White Eagle and nobody can accuse TD of playing pre-recorded music. Mothers of Rain is done well, but the melancholic and melodramatic tone of Optical Race is missing there. Power of the Rainbow Serpent and Shadow and Sun are 2 titles that we find on Mala Kunia and the renditions are rather dynamic and very juicy. There is some energy in square inch here, especially the finale of Shadow and Sun.
Then how sounds the new Tangerine Dream? Very good! Too good even. Is it justifiable to make the name of Tangerine Dream shines again by 3 people who have nothing to do with the original story of the band? It's a debate which had to take place in the inner circle of the band, and which isn't of my business and not yours' as well! And if the Quaeschning, Schnauss & Yamane trio eventually immortalized the music of Froese, Franke, Baumann and Schmoelling for a few years, and even more, to come, one would all maybe arrive at the same time at Edgar's new cosmic address. Admit that it's quite appealing. There is Loom and there is now Tangerine Dream of the Quantum Years!
Sylvain Lupari (May 5th, 2017) *****