Tangerine Dream - Underwater Sunlight

Album cover

  1. Song of the Whale, Part One: From Dawn... (8:21)
  2. Song of the Whale, Part Two: ...To Dusk (10:54)
  3. Dolphin Dance (5:07)
  4. Ride On The Ray (5:35)
  5. Scuba Scuba (4:27)
  6. Underwater Twilight (5:51)
  7. Song of the Whale, Part One: From Dawn (8:21)
  8. Song of the Whale, Part Two: To Dusk (10:54)

Castle, 1986

also by Tangerine Dream:

see also... Jean-Michel Jarre, Tomita, Vangelis, Can

I was drawn to this album from hearing the "Song of the Whale" sequence on a compilation. Despite what the title of this piece suggests, it's definitely not insipid new-age Pure Moods stuff. With its scale and dynamic contrasts it's closer to prog rock. It's broad, cinematic and highly atmospheric. The glittering synth refrain of "From Dawn" is coloured by some ominous backwards percussion, and perfectly-timed big orchestral chords. Edgar Froese's lead guitar is reminiscent of David Gilmour, lending these tracks a spacey Pink Floyd feel. After beginning with a delicate piano solo, the second part "...To Dusk" has a sweeping crescendo spaced over several minutes over the same chord sequence, before finishing with more Gilmour-style soloing (Floyd fans will notice a subtle appearance of the "Echoes" ping)

Tangerine Dream had clearly benefited from some new blood, classical pianist Paul Haslinger, who replaced Johannes Schmoelling. The "Song of the Whale" sequence is well worth the price of admission. But it's still unfortunate that they had to fill the rest of the album with throwaway stuff. These are typical of the clinical computer-sequenced synth pieces that Tangerine Dream churned out by the bucketload around that time.

December 20, 2003

7 out of 10

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written and maintained by Christopher Jackson