TANGERINE DREAM: White Eagle (1982)
"White Eagle is an outstanding opus where TD digs in new technologies to offer an album as eclectic as melodic"
1 Mojave Plan 19:55 2 Midnight in Tula 3:52 3 Convention of the 24 9:27 4 White Eagle 4:30
VIRGIN: CD 839 444-2
(CD 37:44) (V.F.)
(Berlin School New Berlin School)
With this album, we enter my favorite phase of Tangerine Dream. In fact, it's with WHITE EAGLE more particularly that I fell back into the pot of EM around the 86 years. And this time, it was for good. Of course, I knew Phaedra the dreamlike, the sumptuous Ricochet. Stratosfear and Encore with Edgar completely furious on guitar! WHITE REAGLE appeared in my hard rock era, and we must admit that this new orientation of Tangerine Dream has upset the structures of EM from there. Certainly, the sound has changed! It's colder, even metallic. Logos had served a warning to the nostalgic of the Baumann era; Froese, Franke and Schmoelling were in search of a sound revolution. The new trio wanted to push the boundaries of EM even further by composing symphonies with sometimes dizzying and always surprising outcomes. For many fans, the Schmoelling years would become the apotheosis of the career of Tangerine Dream. It went on with this WITHE EAGLE.
A blow of clog bursts out and scatters its echoes which disrupt the tranquility of a strange synthesized bird that makes hear his shouts in a metallic ambience more than unreal. Sequencer keys fall and try to pierce an atmospheric wall where absent tom-toms, eclectic lamentations and sound effects float adrift. This intro of Mojave Plan is at both times oneiric and of a coldness to make freeze an Eskimo. Metallic, the tones float in an insane electronic universe. And on a big burst the rhythm livens up with a powerful sequencer, evasive choirs and strata of a silvery synth which multiply its tones on stunning controlled echoes. Irregular, Mojave Plan is a pure jewel of imagination. The rhythm changes constantly on an ingenious sequencer from which the slamming keys turn the tempo upside down. A tempo which turns on itself with its oblong rotary lanes, while being wrapped by captivating layers of synths of which the screams are the equivalence of birds of prey in a desert of blue metal. The rhythm which enters in our ears is hyper harmonious and winds the unlimited imagination of Franke on percussions. The synth is juicy and offers some beautiful solos which amplify a boosted ambience and blow a contrasting melodious approach in a universe as much abstract. The rhythm is supported by a superb bass line and an incredible sequencer. At about the 10th minute we seize the greatness of the brilliant Franke. Between 2 movements, the sequencer slams its metallic percussions which accelerate the pace on an untidy and echoic movement to end in a harmoniously hard-hitting cacophony. The movement becomes unbridled, like a big symphonic rock with an energetic rhythmic which burst on synths filled by melodious lines and solos. And while we think that Mojave Plan is ending, it bounces back with great sound effects, an aggressive sequencer which always slams its keys with an ambiophonic violence and wrapping synths which smother a staggering finale with some completely sublime orchestral strata. It's a highly progressive and artistic title, which made the delights of the Berlin symphonic orchestra. It's a pure classic of Tangerine Dream!
Like the Dream does since Exit (or with its soundtrack), the 2nd part of WHITE EAGLE lies on shorter tracks that have a more accessible approach like Midnight in Thula which offers a wild rhythmic race where percussions, sequences, echoing effects, a bass line and synths with metallic hooting are trading a structure that makes us stamp one's feet. Still there, the sequencing is surprisingly hard-hitting. Convention of the 24 offers a more complex structure. It's a title which floats between 2 movements. Not too ambient nor too much rhythmic, it progresses on an ambivalent structure where the tempo stumbles and hiccups beneath other superb echoing percussions and brilliant sequences of which the strikings follow one another at the speed of an imagination without weaknesses from the German trio. The ambiences which encircle these mixed rhythms are as much ethereal as metallic, witnesses of the change of orientation of the Dream, while the synth, always so filled with harmonies in blue, displays all its phases of a territory as improbable as Mojave Plan. It’s a great electronic-progressive track that seems to have been forgotten between Midnight in Thula and the title-track which is a superb electronic ballad like only Tangerine Dream was capable to compose. Nostalgic, magic and intensely melancholic, White Eagle forges an ear worm which sticks again and again, even after more than 25 years.
WHITE EAGLE is some condensed genius. An excellent opus where Tangerine Dream digs in all the facets of its new technologies to offer an album as eclectic as melodic. It's a tour de force where the unreal joins the romance and the poetry of the silvery tones of the new synths and sequencers. It's also a too short opus, considering the amount of new music played during this 82's tour and a stroke of genius that nobody has still equaled, so much the melodious structures hesitate harmoniously in a simply brilliant progressive EM universe. Totally brilliant! Hat to all of you; Franke, Froese and Schmoelling for this album that I place as high as the Sgt Peppers of contemporary EM.
Sylvain Lupari (September 17th, 2007) *****