TANGERINE DREAM: Poland (1984)
Updated: Feb 18
“An outstanding live event that is considered as the peak in Tangerine Dream's career”
1 Poland 22.00
2 Tangent 19.52
3 Barbakane 13.49
4 Horizon 20.49
(CD 77:06) (V.F.)
(New Berlin School)
Ah POLAND! How many times have I mentioned POLAND in my reviews? And how many times have I heard POLAND? Seriously! More than 10,000 times ... minimum 😊. I laughed, cried, thought and dreamed on this album, so much its beauty and story are mythical. So much the ambiences are variables; from touching meditative ambience to bursts of frantic sequencers that are wrapped in pads and layers of synth with scents of cold metal. Unique moments that have invested many young artists and sound engineers. A story that magnifies the legend of Tangerine Dream. An appointment with time. A historical cultural rendezvous, because POLAND has changed the course of EM. In 1983 Tangerine Dream releases the amazing Hyperborea. Innovators, the members of the group with Franke ahead, develop samplings of different percussions and create new rhythmic structures that melt into harmonies, when they are not used themselves as harmonies. Innovations that will learn the ropes in Japan and Greece in the summer of '83. And finally, in Warsaw Poland on December 10th, 1983. There is a freezing cold. Tangerine Dream is preparing to give 2 concerts, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, at Ice Stadium in Warsaw, Poland. The natural elements were not at the rendezvous with an intense cold and heavy snow falls that will make collapse a part of the roof. To please the many fans, the mythical German trio has given then concerts in arctic conditions. Imagine, there were boilers of boiling water to warm the hands of Franke, Froese and Schmoelling during their performances. Among power cuts and in this icy atmosphere, the Berlin trio will be incredibly inspired and will give quite a show. The Poles will attend to magical concert from which will be born a superb double-album; POLAND - The Warsaw Concert!
We feel this icy vibe as soon as a heavy chord, a bit like the opening of Hyperborea's Sphinx Lightning, announces the beginning of the title-track. In fact, Poland is Sphinx Lightning, set apart for its wonderful introduction. A slow hypnotic beat is heard and draws the line for 22 minutes of pure magic. Slow percussions, coated with a synth whose foggy reverberations cross beautiful melodious layers, form a jerky structure where striations and ghostly choirs are flying over a panoply of percussions that clash, like thousands of magnetic balls that bounce, hit themselves and converge towards a harmonious rhythmic corrida filled of percussions hopping into a sweet anarchic beat. A magical and unique moment in EM that will serve as a model for several artists in the field. This percussive cacophony gives birth to a moving rhythm that dances on a sequencer and a guitar became more aggressive. Dying, Edgar' electric six-strings crashes itself on an ambient passage where we find a first quietude. And even in moments of tranquility, the German trio holds our attention. This ambient passage lets us hear the discreet winds of the synths, and the beat moves on by pulsations which increase a cadence with scattered percussions. The crescendo stands on genius sound effects and a silky synth with fluty glows. A feast for the ears, Poland ends like Sphinx Lightning. Either be with power and din, with strength and fury!
Tangent begins on an alloy of melodious synth lines. Slowly a vaporous cloud casts its exhalations, and a good game of percussions traces the line of a languid sensual tempo that the mellotrons embalm with fluty airs and very suggestive voices. An organic rhythm installs its base of charms with a rubbery effect in its pulsations. The movement is devious, and a strange modern ballet gets moving in our head. Speaking of that, a video of this portion of Tangent used to exist but it had been removed form the Internet since. This ballet for the mind surrounded by synth lines with vaporous squeaks and sound effects of a living universe under the gutters of cities. This hip-hop playing in a gelatinous pool ends on a chorus that sticks to the eardrums and a roll of hellish percussion in the colors of Logos. Barbakane lets out a light flute on a misty cloud. This sweet lament comes alive more and more on a jet of the sequencer. Sound effects and percussions unite to form a static rhythm surrounded by unidentified sound objects that are lost in a short atmospheric silence. It's important to seize this moment in order to stare at the nothingness and be carried away by the waves of the final of Barbakane. Because it's here that hides one of the most beautiful harmonious jewels of Tangerine Dream; Warsaw in the Sun. Also available in maxi single, Warsaw in the Sun, or Rare Bird, is a hymn to freedom, fraternity and love. An extremely strong melody that blows away our spine by showered it of shivers. The thrills of disbelief at such a melody that chases us constantly and that, 30 years later, causes the same effect on me. Always and always! Horizon closes this show with an introduction of atmospheres. The breath of synths crosses discordant notes that seek to bring about harmony. A cold harmony which is layered on a warmer line, guided by sequenced percussions and synth pads. Frozen moans fly over an interstellar nothingness. TD fans, we know! We know how our trio finishes their concerts. We know it will flood our ears, but we never expected such a finale! The sequencer thoroughly on drums that roll and jostle. A total discord that is gaining pace over the assaults of Edgar's six-string and the sequential charges of Franke. Stoic, Schmoelling holds the fort with a synth equally dominant and harmonious. The POLAND finale is still a great feat in the amazing career of Tangerine Dream.
With POLAND, Tangerine Dream has breathed new life into EM. Today, it's not uncommon to hear here and there sequencer lines and ultra-syncopated rhythms that come straight out of Chris Franke's creativity. And this imagination without borders that we find everywhere on the four tracks of this double album is the key to this unique concert. For many, especially me, POLAND is a classic of Electronic Music. A major work that every aficionado of EM must own. As far as I'm concerned, it's part of my top 5 for life. A place and an opinion shared by many fans of EM, progressive and experimental.
Sylvain Lupari (May 22nd, 2006) *****