TANGERINE DREAM: The Angel from the West Window (2011)
Updated: Jul 23, 2020
“The Angel of the West Window is not certainly as solid as The Island of the Fay, but it remains a splendid album”
1 The Mysterious Gift to Mankind 10:29
2 The Evening Before Easter 5:50
3 Living In Eternity 3:58
4 The Silver Boots of Bartlett Green 7:22
5 Hosanna of the Damned 7:50
6 Dream Phantom of the Common Man 6:37
7 The Strange Idol of Baphomet 6:31
8 Hoël Dhat the Alchemist 7:10
9 The Invisible Seal of the Holy Tribe 9:36
(CD 65:43) (V.F.)
What should we hope for after an album as so solid as The Island of the Fay? Well, I would answer, to an album like THE ANGEL OF THE WEST WINDOW! The last Tangerine Dream album took the majority of people by surprise. It was a powerful album with structures of rhythm along with lively and random movements which molded themselves to melancholy melodies floating in heavy and dark ambiences. It's a bit like the outlines of this last album which comes out not even two months after The Island of the Fay. Either there was too much material for a single album, or THE ANGEL OF THE WEST WINDOW was completed at high speed. But whatever the case may be, this latest album doesn't have the same surprising effect and lets you hear a Tangerine Dream that is running out of steam with a slight lack of originality. But unlike in previous years, the end result is not bad. It was just anticipated ...
A very solid track, The Mysterious Gift to Mankind begins with a sparkling sequential shimmering. Sequences alternate and slide with a surprising feverishness, drawing a curious nightmarish approach, while pulsations and another sequential line appear to create a fascinating static rhythm floating above an intro which progresses with a clear dramatic tension. This amalgamate of sequences and pulsations, coupled in this increasing tempo, converges on a heavy but motionless rhythm where plaintive guitar solos bite a musical structure torn by the harmony of its keyboard keys and riffs of synth. Edgar's guitar is wild and poignant. It tears rhythms and atmospheres of long plaintive solos while The Mysterious Gift to Mankind evolves through various rhythmic approaches, embracing at passage the tearful sweetness of violin's hugs and orchestral arrangements which have an effect of pendulum on a rhythm which grows rich of good electronic percussions. Percussions which second heavy sequences and a rhythm became more limpid, with the appearance of synth layers which sweep the cadence of a romantic heaviness, while Edgar's guitar continues to bite its fragility. Yes, this The Mysterious Gift to Mankind is a very good track. Curt and flitted metallic chords harpoon deaf pulsations which pound on a slippery synth wave and propel The Evening Before Easter towards a nervous rhythmic structure. A track without percussions nor guitars, The Evening Before Easter reminded Exit with its metallic tone and synth pads which counterweight to stamping sequences on an undulate rhythmic structure, fed by feverish sequences and swept by brief synth pads to fluty winds and discreet choirs. Living room In Eternity is a soft electronic ballad imprinted of a certain moroseness which follows the spheres of influence of a synth filled of violin veils of which discreet percussion beatings hide delicate sequences which bring us back at the time of Legend. A chorus held in an ascending sequential oscillation opens The Silver Boots of Bartlett Green. The rhythm is muffled and coated by synth layers. It beats on the rhythm of a bass which is escaping to forge another rhythmic structure imprinted of dark ambiances. A slow tempo, a bit heavy, and imbibed by a synth as melodious as captivating, The Silver Boots of Bartlett Green permutes constantly around brief melodies and superb arrangements, of which a very poignant passage a little after the 4th minute. It's a good moment, and a very nice track, rich in musicality with sequences which are following up in a stunning fluidity under breaths and sighs of an absent synth.
Hosanna of the Damned is a kind of ballad. An electronic ballad sits again on a nice cadenced structure with sequences which pound and wriggle in a heterogeneous rhythmic fauna where sober percussions as well as muffled and felted pulsations are stowing in a synth to chords as nervous and jerky which run on a good harmonious structure. Dream Phantom of the Common Man is another good track. It starts with slamming percussions and heavy vibrating pulsations which are wrapped by a synth with angelic choirs. It’s a track with nice harmonies of which the structure sounds a lot like Hosanna of the Damned but with better sequencing canvas. Sequences which dance among good percussions on a linear movement with jerky undulations and flew over by intermittent layers of a discreet metallic guitar. But as much good as it is, it also shows the falling of THE ANGEL OF THE WEST WINDOW towards a musical world which is short of breath with The Strange Idol of Baphomet and its amalgamate guitar notes and sequences which wriggle nervously in the shade of a plaintive synth. Delicate piano notes add a bit of gloom to a structure which shows a more beautiful musicality in its second part with a more nervous sequential movement and fine orchestral arrangements. After a slow intro, imprinted by a mellotron mist, Hoël Dhat the Alchemist emerges and offers a slightly oscillatory rhythm where keyboard keys prevail in a harmony without sparks and discreet sequences. Indeed, the rhythmic movement takes some momentums, but they are gobbled up by ethereal choirs which forge all the same a nice musicality. The Invisible Seal of the Holy Tribe stops the musical fall of this album. It's a great track, without precise rhythm, which hangs onto a melody with an imperceptible dimension and which starts with a fascinating and enchanting sequencing pattern where the sequences and pulsations thrum frantically such as an eternal rhythmic loops. They wriggle on an enchanting movement, fed by subtle impulsions of a discreet bass line, which follows a slow undulatory bend garnished with some heterogeneous tinklings of bells. The movement progresses with more vivacity whereas a light dramatic effect gets form around spectral synth layers which crisscross an undulatory serpentine with tinkled chords effects. The melodious momentum stops abruptly, plunging The Invisible Seal of the Holy Tribe in a passage where violent percussions and bass chords jump with a sudden convulsion to undertake a dislocated dance, wrapped by a warm synth. The rhythm beating of an arrhythmic excess, the title recovers a different melodious approach where harmonies are crushed by a jerky movement but keeps just as much the enchanting magnetism with a great final where everything matches, as if there had been no sequenced or rhythmic storm. But the whole track is superbly anchored in our ears which are dying of urge to re-hear it, except that there is this superb final with its melody and sequences which continue to charm, and charm, and charm, and so on...Quite a great track!
THE ANGEL OF THE WEST WINDOW is not certainly as solid as The Island of the Fay, but it remains a splendid album where Edgar's melodies and sequenced structures are subjected to the multiplicity test. Imho, it's unthinkable and utopian to hope hearing stroke of genius after stroke of genius when creating mass music. The art is not some kind of an assembly plant. But by means of brave journeymen who agree to follow his strange evolution, Edgar Froese always manages to surprise and to amaze. In 2011, the old man pleasantly amazed me and I'm sure he did the same on you. And if sometimes I'm hard on him, I'm also capable of the opposite. So, my hat to you Edgar, you have still made a success of another nice piece of music.
Sylvain Lupari (September 20th, 2011) ***½**
Available at Groove nl