Tangerine Dream – Two Oldies But Goodies

Whilst walking on the boardwalk on vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey, I happened upon a recycled CD shop. Since we all know that CD’s are soon to be relegated to the same “has-been” category as vinyl, I decided to stop and see if they had anything interesting. Though their prog content was pretty sparse, they did seem to specialize in ’70’s and ’80’s “Classic Rock”. I found a few albums that I thought sounded interesting, and finally left with Tangerine Dream‘s Tangram and Hyperborea albums, neither of which I had ever heard. The originals, not the new re-recordings (see last paragraph).

Tangram turns out to be the first album released by Tangerine Dream after the departure of longtime member Peter Baumann and the addition of new member Johannes Schmoelling. I had stopped listening to TD, one of my all-time-favorite bands, after the release of Force Majeure and Cyclone because I thought these were getting too predictable, and even “poppy”. Now I would say “New-agey”, though that term hadn’t really come into vogue yet. But it seems I stopped one album too early, because Tangram is right up there with the best of Tangerine Dream‘s earlier albums, even my favorites Rubycon and Phaedra. If you’re not into this sort of thing, Tangram won’t convince you otherwise. I saw one review of this album saying it’s the first album that “points the way to their newer, more accessible sound” or some such statement. Not to my ears … two side-long compositions that bring to mind Rubycon far more than anything else. Personally, I was mentally teleported back to the good old days of the ’70’s. Never mind that this album was released in 1980, it still has that ’70’s vibe. Well worth the six bucks I payed for it.

Hyperborea was released in 1983, the same line-up as Tangram and a couple of other albums in between. The sound has changed since Tangram and is starting to move further into the areas I didn’t care for. But I would say it’s still a good album, perhaps a bit like Stratosfear, which I still liked. Not so many sequencer passages (too bad, I like TD‘s sequencer passages), but still containing some of the more atonal soundscapes I also like. A pretty good album, though not their best (in my opinion, of course). Still, at six bucks, it’s hard to say anything bad about the album. It’s still classic TD and not techno dance music.

But a full-priced digitally-mastered re-recorded version? Maybe not. There are such things, of both of these albums. Tangram 2008 and Hyperborea 2008. I’ve heard pieces of both of these. Don’t bother. The originals are far better, to my ears. I can handle a little tape hiss to get those amazing analog sounds.

Click here for the official Tangerine Dream web site


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