Tangerine Dream - Tangram

Album cover

  1. Tangram set 1 (19:46)
  2. Tangram set 2 (20:26)

Virgin, 1980

also by Tangerine Dream:

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

"Tangram" introduced a relatively low-key period for Tangerine Dream in the early 1980s, with new member Johannes Schmoelling. They had left psychedelic and prog behind and released a series of fairly similar, unassuming synth instrumental albums. It was similar in tone to the film soundtrack work they had also begun to do, that is, pleasant enough, but routine, musically middle of the road.

Part One isn't bad at all, starting strikingly with delicate pinging arpeggios. It gradually builds up some speed and drive, helped by Edgar Froese's lead guitar. In the slow middle section some ethereal glittery noises give way to Elton John-like slushy piano. The sequencers are whipped up towards the end for a one-chord climax, and easy-listening coda. Pretty, but not exactly hypnotic. Although it was probably unfair to this album that I originally heard it for the first time on the same day that I heard Mike Oldfield's "Ommadawn" for the first time - a very difficult standard for instrumental music to live up to.

There's far less substance to Part 2. It carries on in the same routinely sequenced fashion, with those guitar like bendy synth leads alll over the place. But it's more lacking in melodic inspiration, as a lot of their soundtracky music of the next few years would be. It finishes in a bored-sounding manner with Ligeti-style cluster effects dissolving into half-hearted noodles.

December 9, 2004

6 out of 10

see also...

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written and maintained by Christopher Jackson