Bit of a musical left turn after Oasis last time. Some electronic music with German pioneers Tangerine Dream.
I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with electronic and synthesizer music since I first started getting into music. I remember Space doing Magic Fly and The Crunch by The Rah Band both piquing my interest in the 70s followed by Jean Michel Jarre’s Oxygene and Equinox singles and albums in 1976 and 1978. Jarre in particular opened the door that led to Tangerine Dream and onward to krautrock. I just loved the sounds he got from his synthesizers and was just something I’d never heard before. Later, acts such as Tubeway Army and ‘Are Friends Electric’ became guilty pleasures through my metal years.
I have my friend Craig to thank for bringing Tangram into my life. He also used to do a mean light show with 2 cigarettes along to the album and there were a few burn holes in the carpet as a result of a few collisions during the performance.
Tangram was released towards the end of the ‘Virgin Years’ the label Tangerine Dream were signed to between 1973 and 1983. It’s often regarded by fans as their most productive period and my favourite TD albums are all from around this time. For much of the Virgin Years TD had a stable line up of Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann and Christopher Franke but Tangram saw Baumann replaced by Johannes Schmoelling. Some fans say this was the album that saw the band take a change in direction in a more soundtrack type of musical direction. The album is basically 2 sides of music. Tangram set 1 and Tangram set 2 and just over 40 mins long.
Tangerine Dream were considered one of the great pioneers of electronic music in the early 70s. The introduction of electronic sequencers had an enormous impact on TD but also on a wider audience as this opened up new areas for bands to explore. I don’t quite class TD as krautrock, they were influential on it but for me always seemed to stand just outside of that genre.
I also found out that Tangram is the name of a Chinese puzzle game. Every day is indeed a school day. It’s kind of fitting for this album as although there are 2 sides of music, contained there in are a lot of different passages all merging into each other. There could easily have been 4 or 5 tracks each side if they were so inclined.
Although this album was released in 1980 it was probably a couple of years later before I heard it. Also 82 was the first time I went to see the band at the Apollo. I’ve only seen them a couple of times since with their ever changing line up with only Edgar Froese being the only constant until he sadly died in January 2015 and the future of the band is uncertain although Peter Baumann was rumoured to be returning and the band are also due to play a gig in Poland in June. Without Froese it doesn’t feel right to carry on under the Tangerine Dream name.
It’s amazing that Tangerine Dream have released 103 studio albums and 34 soundtrack albums. Few bands can claim to be quite so prolific.
As the album is only 2 tracks I’ve included the full album below but also some of the tracks mentioned at the beginning as they were the sign posts towards bands like Tangerine Dream for me.
Space – Magic Fly
The Rah Band – The Crunch
Jean Michel Jarre -Oxygene Part 4
Jean Michel Jarre – Equinox Part 5
See you on week 16.