What does it sound like?:
Edgar Froese created a monster when he formed Tangerine Dream in West Berlin in 1967. And monster in the sense they have since put out 159 albums, not including compilations. Froese´s passing in January 2015 didn´t necessarily slow them down. Though he was, until then, the only constant member. This box set contains albums Le Parc (1985), Green Desert (1986), Underwater Sunlight (1986) and Tyger (1987). It´s a bumpy ride for the pioneers of Kosmische Musik.
In 1983 Tangerine Dream toured Eastern Europe and recorded a live album called Poland. It was to be their first album on the Jive Electro Label. Due to its blue logo, the mid-eighties is now known as the band´s blue years. Le Parc, released in May 1985, became their first studio album out of the four for the label. The title is a result of all the songs being inspired by different parks around the world. It could have been the soundtrack to anything starring Eddie Murphy and/or Kurt Russell at the time.
The second stop, Green Desert, was recorded in Berlin in 1973 and intended as promotional material for Virgin Records, a label then showing interest in the band – and subsequently signing them and several other so-called krautrock bands. The album being canned for thirteen years isn´t a good sign, though it´s a small step in the right direction from Le Parc. And the twenty minute title track stands out, not only in length.
Next stop is Underwater Sunlight, perhaps the most consistent album of the box. It was the band´s fourth album of the year, since Virgin decided to release live album Pergamon and the band also did a soundtrack to the Tom Cruise starring Legend. The next, and final, Blue stop is Tyger, an album inspired by the poems of William Blake, which takes us up to June 1987. It features guest vocalist Jocelyn Bernadette Smith on a number of tracks, making it one of the few Tangerine Dream albums to have a vocal. It could pretty much be any eighties also runs. The opening title track (“tyger tyger, burning bright/In the forests of the night”) could have graced the end credits of Top Gun, or something of that ilk.
It´s fair to say The Blue Years is not where Tangerine Dream peaked. The albums are coloured by the production values of their time, which for me is not a good thing. The mid-eighties didn´t sound good and hasn´t aged well. But the box, released on Esoteric Recordings’ Reactive label, is reasonably priced, and includes a poster for that matter. And of course: the albums in the replica card sleeves have been remastered.
What does it all *mean*?
Loads of bands and artists from the sixties and seventies lost it in the eighties. I would rather revisit Phaedra and Force Majeure.
Goes well with…
Long walks in a city, and not just Berlin, at night. Eighties krauting in general.
Might suit people who like…
Everything by Tangerine Dream. Eighties electronica.