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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Starmus-Sonic Universe (2013)

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

Starmus-Sonic Universe is a fair live album which remains faithful to TD style; sober, without surprises and especially very professional

CD 1

1 Supernova (Real Star Sounds) 10:40

2 Last Horizon 5:57

3 Marmontel Riding on a Clef 8:13

4 Trauma 9:31

5 Nothing and All 2:12

6 Nutshell Awakening 7:19

7 Shining Ray 5:35

8 Beauty of Magic Antagonism 6:26

9 Novice 5:06

10 One Night in Space 7:32

CD 2

1 Calymba Caly 3:43

2 Omniscience 5:32

3 Janus Parade 8:05

4 Loved by the Sun 3:28

5 Fire on the Mountain 7:33

6 Darkness Veiling the Night 8:55

7 Living in Eternity 4:05

8 Bells of Accra 9:59

9 Sally's Garden 4:41

10 We Will Rock You (Extended) 12:47


11 Tenderness (Russian Song) 3:54

12 Mr. Alexey Leonov's Speech 2:56

(2 CD/DVD 144:16) (V.F.)

(Electronic Rock)

The number of requests that I receive in a month so that I review albums of Tangerine Dream is astounding. Like if Edgar's gang always something had interested to say, to propose. Through good times and bad, Eastgate is always on the lookout for a vein to be exploiting; like this STARMUS-SONIC UNIVERSE. Recorded live on June 24th, 2011, at the Magma Arte and Congresos Concert Hall on the island of Tenerife, in Spain, for the Starmus Festival, this event was also the opportunity to celebrate the 50th birthday of Yuri Gagarin's first lunar flight. Except that STARMUS-SONIC UNIVERSE has a peculiarity; the presence of Brian May as a special guest. From where the very long delay regarding the legal rights, before its release. And how is sounding Tangerine Dream onto Queen or Queen on Tangerine Dream? Well, you should take a deep breath because this is well and truly a Tangerine Dream live album to which participates Brian May for only 4 tracks (maybe 5 with Tenderness from which the guitar sounds so much like his), one of Queen's best ever track (I'll let you guess), one of his compositions, Last Horizon, newly arranged for the occasion by Tangerine Dream, Sally Garden's new arrangements and finally a track written by him with Edgar Froese and Garik Israelian (the man behind the concept); Supernova (Real Star Sounds).

And it's with this titles that the show starts...

The intro is cosmic and troubled by sonic winds which make ringing the prisms of Iris Camaa's percussions. She is already toying with her drum skins which resound in the breezes of a dark cosmos when an organic rhythm is settling down with a meshing of sequences and jumping pulsations which gurgle beneath the strikings of tom-toms. And the rhythm gets outlined. From ashes of atmospheres, Supernova (Real Star Sounds) takes a nervous shape with jerky riffs which fidget under layers of reverberations. We hear a guitar roaring in its echo while the traditional rhythm of Dream (mixture of percussions, sequences and riffs floundering on the same pace) spreads its fury which is used as frame to a resounding guitar. Is it May or Beibl? Because both are very fast guitarists (you have to hear Bernhard Beibl on One Night in Space and Loved by the Sun). The fact remains that this titles is heavy, sometimes furious, but swirls on its rhythm without breaking up the pace. It's a good introduction to a concert where Tangerine Dream definitively puts the emphasis on a very cosmic electronic rock. Last Horizon? It's Brain May on Tangerine Dream. The structure of slow rhythm reminds me the motionless sequencing pattern of the first Tangerine Dream's albums. This is great and very touching. Brian May makes exploding our ears with splendid solos and with heavy riffs like only him is capable of. The artistic merger is completed for a track which is very centered on May's guitar. After that? Well after Edgar and Brian May having flattering each other's back, it's pure Tangerine Dream, version 2011 and 2012, with a nervous setlist where the rock approach and the lively structures prevail over the ambiences. A setlist where the Dream imposes its contemporaneousness regardless of its memoirs. Only Calymba Caly and Loved by the Sun are drawn out of the old repertoire. At the level of new track there is Janus Parade which sounds just like what TD used to offer in the Atomic Seasons but with a strong Bernhard Beibl who fills our ears with lively and sharp solos. The key point is unarguably the version of We Will Rock You. The introduction is clearly heavier and wilder than its original. The music goes towards an ambiosonic structure after the last bites of May's guitar (who seems to embrace at the end of his riffs Now I' m Here) who makes tumble down his resounding riffs and his cutting solos into ethereal atmospheres.

In the end, STARMUS-SONIC UNIVERSE is a fair live album from Tangerine Dream which remains faithful to itself since the tours of 73 to 86; sober, without surprises and especially very professional. The whole thing comes with a nice booklet. The price of disillusion, what!

Sylvain Lupari (December 7th,2013) ***½**

Available at Groove nl

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