Tangerine Dream, the seminal German electronic music act, have amassed a discography over the past few decades that is as extensive as their influence on a whole array of artists from disparate genres and mediums of sonic expression... from the likes of legendary film director/composer John Carpenter (he's a huge fan of their score for William Friedkin's 1977 movie 'Sorcerer') to the emergence of the whole EDM movement. Of course, founding member Edgar Froese sadly and suddenly passed away in 2015, although the band's remaining trio of musicians - Thorsten Quaeschning (a member since 2005); Hoshiko Yamane and Ulrich Schnauss (who both joined in 2014) - opted to continue Froese's legacy by embarking on further tours and making music under the Tangerine Dream name. So, here we have a new double album, 'Particles', that features one disc of newly recorded music and a second disc with the audio from a live show that has both new tunes and fan favourites. It's a nice touch that, upon removing the discs from each of the digipak panels, a photo of the band's current formation is revealed on the left, and Froese on the right.
So, what of disc one? Just three songs? Yep, but a whopping playing time of over fifty minutes. While the three tracks are new studio recordings, only one of them is original - opener, '4.00pm Session', but this clocks in at nearly half an hour, so it provides a lengthy, expansive piece of electronica for fans to get excited about. And get excited they undoubtedly will, as this improv/jam-like track is resplendent with the sheer essence of everything that's always been so special about Tangerine Dream. It has an undeniable mesmeric grip through its dream-like soundscape; it's transcendently ethereal, absorbingly mystical and charmingly psychedelic. '4.00pm Session' provides an immersively captivating listening experience... and, if you let yourself become absorbed by its charms, this is music that can temporarily transport your being to what feels like another dimension of consciousness.
Talking of alternative dimensions, the second track on this first disc is a cover of the main theme from Netflix's awesomely nostalgic pastiche of 80s' horror/supernatural/sci-fi/monster movies, 'Stranger Things', the series where a 12 year old boy, Will Byers, disappears into another plane of existence. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein's score for the hit show was influenced massively by the music of Tangerine Dream, so it's kind of a 'strange thing' in itself (or a natural choice... you decide) that Quaeschning, Yamane and Schnauss have opted to tackle this piece. It's a great version, though. And, who knows, perhaps it'll help introduce a younger generation of music fan to Tangerine Dream's music. After all, if kids like the 'Stranger Things' theme, they're going to love much of their back catalogue.
Closing the trio of tracks on the first CD is 'Rubycon', a new take on one of the band's classic tunes, and it's the first piece that sees Froese compositionally present on this release. I guess purists will always favour the original, but this fresh recording is just that... fresh, and with a flawless production (as have the preceding two tunes).
The second CD contains live recordings that have been taken from a set they played on 3rd September 2016 at Schwingungen Festival am Wasserfall in Windeck, Germany. At just over 36 six minutes in length, it offers up classic Tangerine Dream numbers from the band's 80s output - namely 'Mothers of Rain', 'Dolphin Dance' and 'White Eagle' - alongside two newer tracks in the form of 'Power of the Rainbow Serpent' and 'Shadow and Sun' from 2014's 'Mala Kunia' album. The quality of the recordings is fantastic - resonant, dynamic and engaging in the sonics, this second disc was as much of a joy to listen to as the first. And it also showcases the relevance of the post-Froese era of Tangerine Dream. I'm sure the man would've been proud of this trio continuing his legacy in the way in which they are, so future generations can continue to discover and revel in his pioneering electronic aesthetic. The future of Tangerine Dream is in safe hands... the evidence is here on 'Particles'.
Invisible Hands Music
Review by Mark Holmes
52:26 & 36:23
26th June 2017
DISC ONE: 1) 4.00pm Session; 2) Stranger Things - Main Theme; 3) Rubycon
DISC TWO: 1) Mothers of Rain; 2) Power of the Rainbow Serpent; 3) White Eagle; 4) Dolphin Dance; 5) Shadow and Sun
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"The future of Tangerine Dream is in safe hands... the evidence is here on 'Particles'."