Tangerine Dream - Atlantic Walls


Year of Release: 1999
Label: TDI Music
Catalog Number: CD002
Format: CD
Total Time: 71:41:00

For those who were disappointed when Tangerine Dream started producing music more aptly described as contemporary instrumental than krautrock or electronica, then this isn't for you, as Atlantic Walls is compilation featuring tracks off their albums from the 1988 release Optical Race through 1995's Tyranny Of Beauty.

Because it would be pointless to compare each remastered version here with its original counterpart, I won't. Suffice it to say that the mix has improved the sound quality of these tracks. For example, the disc opens with "Electric Lion" from the Melrose release, when Paul Haslinger was still a member. The production here is crisper than on the original release, which is an improvement, but as it gives the guitar notes a sharper edge, more piercing on the soaring upswings, it also makes it a bit colder than the original. But maybe I'm hearing that because I've got the original track on one system (the PC) and this remaster on another (the stereo) ... not playing simultaneously, of course.

Nevertheless, I'll look at each track on its own. Overall, the selections included here are beautiful and expressive, "Midwinter Night" (from 1994's concept piece The Turn of Tides) starts out rather slow and almost featureless until a wonderfully warm saxophone solo by Linda Spa comes in, giving this track a wistful feeling ... that this is the end of something, causing sadness. ('Course, a glance at the Tides liner notes suggests otherwise). This gives the track a very open feel, there's space without it being spacey.

"Graffiti Street" (1982's Rockoon) is an energetic piece, suggesting movement ... time lapse photography of all the variety of people who pass by on this street. Zlatko Perica playes a searing guitar solo, which rather describes most of his solos, actually - scorching, soaring ... all those words.

On "Crystal Curfew," the percussion and guitar share the lead over billowy keyboard washes (from 1989's Lily On The Beach). Here it is Edgar Froese who gets to cut long swaths of sound with his axe, though the percussion remains the most dominant element. There's an almost "Native American" feel to the percussion ... though with a decidedly digital edge.

Tangerine Dream tackle Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" (from Tides, where it was used as an overture to the concept of the album), perhaps one of the most oft recorded classical pieces (or is that only an impression?). This is a very pleasant, clean sounding arrangement, but lacks bite. Atmosphere is provided by the sound of hooves and wheels on wet cobblestone during a storm - the setting is 1881. This track is immediately followed by (as on the original) "Firetongues" which starts darkly, ominously, but soon almost becomes a light and airy keyboard and guitar piece, though there's underlying menace in the percussion. It later melds into a fiery Latin-tinged classical guitar work out (Zlatko Perica again), and then a soaring electric guitar, notes lovingly sustained... great stuff, I think.

"Mobocaster" (from Dream Mixes II) sounds processed, maybe because there are no natural instruments here as on the earlier tracks...it's still stunningly produced, but the drums sound one dimensional. It's starts darkly...deep, quiet, sounds...mostly atmospherics with a gentle keyboard notes here and there, slowly building with that processed percussion. On it's own, or surrounded by like compositions, it may sound fine...I do like a bit of techno now and then (without the rave, thank you), but amongst these other tracks, it suffers.

We're back to Melrose for "Three Bikes In The Sky" - there's this pervasive sense of something about to happen, as if something is hovering, waiting for a catalyst to spark some action. That doesn't mean the music is unmoving...the movement suggested is circular....and then, with a sound almost like thunder, the expectancy lifts somewhat...okay, the weird but appropriate image I'm getting are bikes swimming, swooping and diving in the air...like birds, like parachutists,...would I have that image without the title? Who can say. (I live near LA, but I honestly can't tell you if the title of this track refers to some landmark or not).

"Birdwatcher's Dream" (or is that bikewatcher?) from 1995's Tyranny, is mostly guitars, it starts out that way with sharp leads by Gerald Gradwool...but his style and sound isn't much different from Perica...lending consistency to Tangerine Dream, but maybe it says more about what the Froeses want in sound versus what the artist sounds like. There are moments here, where the guitar is out front, the bass thrumbing behind, that I thought of a spritlier Pink Floyd (circa A Momentary Lapse of Reason). I liked Tyranny when I first heard it, and my feeling of this track is no different...it's not as warm as the earlier stuff, and maybe that was Haslinger's doing (making it warmer).

Which we can compare, because the next track is "Too Hot For My Chinchilla" ... jumping percussion here, urgent and insistent, keys chiming in here an there...guitar...but it's the percussion that draws the interest. There's such a vitality...the music is alive...you can feel the heat from this track, though the guitar leads aren't necessarily played with heat or speed...it's more a cool/hot...I have this image in my mind of a house...a patio...sunbleached walls...it's one scorcher of a day...it's Palm Springs at the hight of summer with its 110 degree temps. Or South America, I guess, as that's the origin of chinchillas.

Back to Tyranny for "Little Blond In The Parc of Attraction" and then close out with "Marakesh" from Optical Race. This latter is full of shifting time signatures...like sands changing with the wind...the keyboard washes are at one leisurely pace, the percussion is at another, almost frentic pace, a loping pace...okay, a racing pace. It isn't until the end that things begin slow, we're nearing the end of the race, we're tired, out of breath, pushing ourselves those last few steps...

As much as I like Tangerine Dream's more atmospheric, ambient work of late, these more instrumental rock-oriented pieces are more my favourites. I think because there is far more variety and energy in these tunes. Maybe because its a fuller sound, with the use of real versus synthesized instruments - real guitars, real drums, real saxophones, etc. These give the compositions a warmer feel, a more human feel. The change is most apparant when one compares the late 80's-early 90's material with the mid to late 90's material. However, as a survey of recent non-soundtrack Tangerine Dream, this is probably as good a sampler as any.


Tracklisting:
Electric Lion (8:14) / Midwinter Night (4:37) / Graffiti Street (4:46) / Crystal Curfew (5:01) / Pictures At An Exhibition (2:59) / Firetongues (6:34) / Mobocaster (7:23) / Three Bikes In The Sky (5:58) / Birdwatcher's Dream (6:51) / Too Hot For My Chinchilla (3:47) / Little Blond in the Parc of Attraction (7:15) / Marakesh (8:16)

Musicians:
Edgar Froese - keyboards, drums, guitars,
Jerome Froese - drums, percussion, keyboards, guitars
Paul Haslinger - keyboards, stick
Zlatko Perica - guitars
Linda Spa - soprano sax, alto sax
Gerald Gradwool - guitars (9, 11)
Roland Braunstein - trumpet (5)
Vienna Horn Ensemble - horns (5)
Mark Hornby - acoutic, 12-string, and slide guitar (9, 11)

Discography:
Electronic Meditation (1970)
Alpha Centauri (1971)
Zeit (Largo In 4 Movements) (1972)
Atem (1973)
Phaedra (1974)
Rubycon (1975)
Ricochet (1975)
Sorcerer (1975/1993)
Stratosfear (1976)
Encore (1977)
Cyclone (1978)
Force Majeure (1979)
Tangram (1980)
Exit (1981)
Quichotte (1981) (Germany only; live LP, see Pergamon)
Tangerine Dream '70-'80 (1980) (4 LPs)
White Eagle (1982)
Thief (1982)
Logos - Live At The Dominion (1983)
Wavelength (1983)
Hyperborea (1983)
Risky Business (1983)
Poland - The Warsaw Concert (1984)
Firestarter (1984)
Flashpoint (1984/1995)
Heartbreakers (1985/1995)
Le Parc (1985)
Legend (1985/1995)
Pergamon - Live At The Palast Der Republik (1985) (same as Quichotte)
Shy People (1985)
Dream Sequence (1985) (3 LPs)
Green Desert (1986) (recorded in 1973)
Underwater Sunlight (1986)
The Collection (1987) In the Beginning (1986) (6 LPs)
Near Dark (1987)
Three O'clock High (1987)
Canyon Dreams (1988/1991)
Tyger (1988)
Live Miles (1988)
Dead Solid Perfect (1988)
Optical Race (1988)
Lily On The Beach (1989)
Miracle Mile (1989)
Melrose (1990)
Destination Berlin (1990)
The Man Inside (1990)
Rockoon (1992)
Deadly Care (1992)
220 Volt Live (1993)
Turn Of The Tides (1994)
Catch Me If You Can (1994)
Tyranny Of Beauty (1995)
Zoning (1995)
The Dream Mixes (1995/1998)
The Dream Mixes (1996) (Special UK release)
Goblin's Club (1996/2004)
TimeSquare - Dream Mixes II (1997)
Tournado Live (1997)
The Keep (1997)
Ambient Monkeys (1998)
Atlantic Walls (1998)
Atlantic Bridges (1998)
Dream Encores (1998)
The Hollywood Years Vol. I (1998) (unreleased material)
The Hollywood Years Vol. II (1998) (unreleased material)
Oasis Soundtrack (1998)
Quinoa Extended (1998) (ext. ver. of fanclub only CD)
Transsiberia (1998)
Valentine Wheels (Live In London 1997) (1999)
Sohoman (Live In Sydney 1982) (1999)
What A Blast (1999) (except USA)
Architecture In Motion (1999) (What A Blast USA)
Mars Polaris (1999)
Great Wall Of China (1999) Tang-go (2000)
Soundmill Navigator (2000)
Antique Dreams (2000) (comp)
The Seven Letters From Tibet (2000)
I-Box (2000)
Dream Mixes 3 - The Past Hundred Moons (2001)
Inferno (1st Part of Dante Alighieri's 'La Divina Commedia' (2002)
The Melrose Years (2003) (Re-recordings of Optical Race, Lily On The Beach and Melrose)
Mota Atma (2003)
Dream Mixes 4 - DM4 (2004)
Rockface (Live In Berkeley 1988) (2004)
Purgatorio (2nd Part of Dante Alighieri's 'La Divina Commedia') (2004)
East (Live In East Berlin 1990) (2004)
Arizona (Live In Scottsdale 1992) (2004)
Rocking Mars (Live At Klangart Festval 1999) (2005)
Jeanne D'Arc (2005)
Paradiso (3rd Part of Dante Alighieri's 'La Divina Commedia') (2005)
Phaedra 05 (2005)
Blue Dawn (2006)
Paradiso (2006)
TD Plays TD (2006)
Summer In Nagasaki (2007)
Cyberjam Collection (2007)
Ocean Waves Collection (2007)
Bells Of Accra (ep) (2007)

Canyon Dreams (VID/DVD) (1987)
Three Phase (VID) (1992)
The Video Dream Mixes (VID/DVD) (1996)
Oasis (VID/DVD) (1996)
Luminous Visions (VID+CD/DVD+CD) (1998)
Architecture In Motion/What A Blast! (VID/DVD) (1999)
L'Inferno 1911 (DVD) (2004)
Dante's Inferno (DVD) (2006)
Tempodrome Live Concert 2006 (DVD)
35th Phaedra Anniversary Concert Live In London At The Shephard's Bush Empire 11th June 2005 (DVD) (2007)
Madcap's Flaming Duty (DVD+CD) (2007)
London Astoria Live Concert 2007 (2007)

Genre: Electronic

Origin DE

Added: August 23rd 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.tangerinedream-music.com
Hits: 821
Language: english

  

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