“Probe 8-6 is an honest invitation to the Raum album due out next March”
1 Raum 14:54
2 Para Guy 5:43
3 Continuum 7:11
4 Raum (Grand River remix) 6:18
5 Continuum (Barker remix) 5:48
(CD/DDL 39:57) (V.F.)
(E-Rock, Driving Sequencer-based EM)
I've read nothing but great comments on the web about this latest Tangerine Dream effort. And yes, it is indeed Tangerine Dream since Raum and Para Guy are composed and performed by Edgar Froese, Paul Frick, Thorsten Quaeschning and Hoshiko Yamane. How is this possible? Black magic?? Nah, nothing like that! Edgar has left bits of music and/or complete structures in his vaults, to allow Thorsten Quaeschning and Hoshiko Yamane to deepen and/or compose around them. Having replaced Ulrich Schnauss, Paul Frick also participated in completing the compositions Raum and Para Guy. The result?! Hummpff...
My first encounter with Raum was with the 7 minutes long single. After a couple of listenings I had still didn't understand this astonishing infatuation of the devout fans of what's left of Tangerine Dream. And then comes this PROBE 6-8. And, thankfully, it clicked! Raum establishes his diabolical plan of seduction with sumptuous synth layers having that Edgar Froese ascendancy. If you listen carefully, there's a trickle of brightness coming through. This is followed by a stationary percussive pattern, but also delicious synth pads that add a dose of dark, dramatic melody. The opening floats with an urge to explode that is felt with each new turn where layers of music and ambience are constantly added. A thread of nasal melody even advances an Arabian flavor over this bubbling carpet of percussive sequences. The charge is emotional and continues for over 5 minutes before our ears can measure up to these impulsive beats held in a stationary state since the fall of these sumptuous synth layers. From then on, the track starts to vibrate on these percussive elements assembled on a conveyor belt and sequenced as such in a rhythmic explosion to make our old friend Chris Franke salivate. The power is such that the movement shakes its rhythmic backbone violently with spasmodic jolts up until the sequences become oscillating loops after nearly 4 minutes of this rhythmic violence. The 3rd phase of Raum twins its two first ones in a destiny harmonizing its rhythm to the ambient melodies of its opening until hitting a final, too quickly appeared, which agonizes in the tears of Hoshiko's strings and an artificial wind, reminding us of the first maneuvers of Tangerine Dream in Zeit. A very good title that we find even better the following listenings. The spectral melody blown by a fluty mellotron at the beginning of Para Guy is the kind that screws us to our chair. The loops that come off of it fade into sonic twigs as the rhythm, still knotted on jewels of rhythmic elements and a percussive sequence mixer, defers its development in order to better take advantage of the wailing synths and violin. Staying in this position, Para Guy develops in intensity with a tasty Mexican aria in the synth blasts with an old Dream trumpets' savour from the Peter Baumann era. Continuum is the most easily accessible track on PROBE 8-6. The percussions that chase away the foggy layers of its introduction are in mode E-Rock with a very driving flow. A series of keyboard chords follow the rhythm, while lower chords are heard a few seconds later. But the main thing revolves around this keyboard and percussion fusion. Paul Frick is amazing on this very dynamic track. This E.P. which is almost 40 minutes long includes two remixed versions of two of its three tracks. Usually, I am not a fan of these remixes. They tend to distort the original work. Raum (Grand River remix) is made by Aimée Portioli who gives a more spasmodic, jerky look to the rhythm. And everything revolves around this rhythm which explodes even more violently after the 3rd minute. Continuum is barely recognizable when Leisure System's co-founder Sam Barker gives it a minimalist rhythmic look that targets an EDM audience. Nah, I'm not a fan of these stylistic exercises!
All in rhythm with snippets of music that link the old era to the new vision of Quantum Years, PROBE 8-6 is an honest invitation to the Raum album due out next March. I have tried to find out what it is about the legendary Berlin trio that makes the fans so excited, but nothing comes to my ears. It's well done, it's very rhythmic with a little openness on harmonies. And yet, there are no synth solos. As much that I think that guitar solos would have been welcomed on these rhythmic impulses.
Sylvain Lupari (December 18th, 2021) ***½**
Available at Groove nl