Staatsgrenze West, 1980. 7/10

reviews - bootlegsOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 21:42
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I had my doubts, whether or not to review this record, for the following reason: It's a bootleg, and a better and complete recording exists in the Tangerine Tree fan project, which I review elsewhere. I do it anyway, because it was my first look into the delights of unofficially released concert recordings. And no bands have released better bootlegs than Tangerine Dream, to sound a little crude.
Concerts with Tangerine Dream were from their humble beginnings to their early eighties, very different compared to their recorded outputs. Either the music was completely improvised, or it was composed specially for the concerts. However, small well-known themes could crop up - in this case, from Tangram. All this, without overdubs, which is very exciting to listen to for a fan.
Staatsgrenze West contains the first set (plus an excerpt from the encore) and together with officially released 1986-album Pergamon - the second set - we get a good impression of one of the two shows, recorded on the 31st January 1981.
It was a legendary event, as Tangerine Dream was the first Western European band to play there. In DDR the authorities didn't mean they had a political message, as they were an instrumental band.
The music represented on this bootleg is very anarchic of an improvised 70's nature. New man Schmoelling hasn't really put his trademark sound into the music yet.
He later said, he wasn't ready to such a big concert at that moment, as he wasn't too familiar with the rock'n'roll business.
The rating has been based on the music only, and the fine FM-sound quality. The cover, track titles and album title hasn't been evaluated - they have nothing to do with Tangerine Dream, as I consider it disgusting DDR propaganda.

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TT 52: Klangwald Cologne WDR Sendesaal, Germany 25th November 1972.

reviews - bootlegsOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 00:10
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For a germanophiliac, Krautrock loving nerd, like me, this recording is a goody. Variation and melodies are dirty words. The same can be said about "fillings", as there's no guest visits from the Krautrock elite, unlike Zeit. I'm thinking of cello quartets and the deceased Florian Fricke.
However, this concert is Zeit II in my esoteric terminology, as it still comprise the weightless incarnation of nothing. An yet everything.
The conclusion of the 41 minutes long Part II is an ultra deep humming. I happens now and then, I take a nap to the music of Tangerine Dream, but rarely has music, like this low frequent drone, we hear now, created so much subconscious havoc, it was responsible for the direction the dream took.
No wonder they called themselves Tangerine DREAM!!! (7/10)

The above is my review, written some years ago. The next, and excellent review is written by MrCox. Thanks mate.

This TT recording is a rare performance in perfect sound quality from TD's "Pink Years", approximately from the period in which Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann recorded their ambient classic "Zeit".

Klangwald 1 starts with mellow organ sounds, some percussion and wind noises. It's not too hard to imagine that this music may as well have been recorded during the "Zeit" sessions. The music is pure atmosphere, to me it sounds like a walk through dark woods in autumn when the wind blows away the last leaves and the sun disappears behind the horizon (hence the title meaning "sound forest"). There's nothing happening in terms of rhythm or melody during the first minutes. But soon a majestic organ sets in while the wind turns into some strange synth sounds. After 6 minutes the organ changes its tune, this section reminds a lot of "Alpha Centauri" with its spacey synth voices meandering around. I recall a track by Cluster from their 1972 "Cluster II" LP that has just the same atmospheric sound. There are some funny sound experiments TD never used in their studio works, these experiments slowly build up to a noisy part where different synthesizers, organ and voices fight for attention, yet in a calm and mannered way. The background choir voices almost sound like those in the final section of "Alpha Centauri" indeed. Soon a synth takes over that sounds like some sort of mosquito slowly turning into a synthesized "opera voice". It's hard to describe this piece, but the label "synthesizer opera" might fit quite well with deep manly voices and a solo synth singing in the spotlight. The most remarkable feature of this music is the complete lack of rhythm, all sounds drift in and out and create some kind of carpet.
After almost 15 minutes the whole music stops and gives way for a minimalistic melody played on a lonely organ. In fact there's more melodic quality in this section than on the whole "Zeit" LP. Another minute later a rudimentary monotonous rhythm appears out of nowhere, a pulse very much like that on "Nebulous Dawn". It's far from being some kind of drum beat, yet it intensifies the whole piece a bit being the anchor for this section's music. Soon enough the band returns to this motionless, never changing, quiet organ-dominated sound. Again there are ideas from "Alpha Centauri" recogizable in the music, especially the organ parts. The part near the 20 minutes mark clearly foreshadows the ambient section of "Atem", a deep drone with some very quiet organ chords thrown in. There even are some synth parts that seem to have been recycled and perfected on TD's fourth album. We seem to be somewhere in deep space, millions of light years away, floating between unknown planets. This music would have worked perfectly as soundtrack to the final part of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey", an unearthly, alien sound.
Soon the organ arrives in the spotlight once again to enrich this improvisation and once again the monotonous drumming in the background can be heard. Yet the rhythm gains no control over the other instruments as the music still tries to remain entirely rhythmless. The music over all has a dream-like quality as moods and experiences float by without being recognizable conciously. After 30 minutes the rhythm takes over the piece while the organ moves on to a very strange solo. A synthesizer joins in and creates some really odd sounds. Suddenly the whole piece is controlled by this monotonous background pulse although you never could imagine this to happen. Now it's the organ that tries to break through, but it's trapped entirely in the synthesizer chirps and bleeps. This part is miles away from the calmness of the first sections, in fact there is a certain unease. In the last minutes an uncharacteristic drum sound rumbles around, one of the kind I only heard before in some industrial music from the end of the 70's. The track closes with pure noise and some shy organ underneath.

The second improvisation Klangwald 2 is slightly longer than the first, yet the mood is almost the same. Instead of wind there is a lonely synth voice calling in the distance while a quiet rattling sound can be heard. This intro reminds me a bit of Popol Vuh's "In den Gärten Pharaos", a sound from times long gone by, a voyage into the past. Here of course the music soon turns into characteristic early TD ambient. The deep rumbling and the combination of very, very slow guitar and organ lines is familiar from "Origin Of Supernatural Probabilities" and the "Zeit" title track. It's hard to be sure about that as this kind of music flows by without leaving any kind of memory in fact. This section once again is very quiet and atmospheric with no rhythm or melody in sight, creating a spacey atmosphere and images of distant planets and stars in your head. This is one of TD's typical science fiction pieces that have absolutely nothing to do with their later sequencer-driven improvisations, yet it's simply beautiful in its simplicity. In "Klangwald 2" the guitar plays a more prominant role without being offensive. The organ reaches – as it seems – the highest notes possible within this atmosphere while the guitar creates the underlying soundscape.
At approximately 14 minutes another guitar theme from the "Zeit" LP emerges (I think it's from "Nebulous Dawn"), a very peaceful music with a nice little melody in slow motion. Somehow this melody feels kind of romantic although the overall impression of the complete music is almost frightning. This feeling applies perfectly to the next section where guitar, organ and synthesizer become louder just to make room for another rather peaceful part. While listening to this music and trying to describe it I get the impression that the band tries to itensify the music time and time again but the music doesn't allow this.
After 20 minutes there's a rather sudden change: High synthesizer notes and dark drones almost create a familiar TD sequencer rhythm, it feels like a blueprint for their later technical and artistic abilities. But this section doesn't last long either, as once again the peaceful organ sound takes over. And there's another wonderful slow moody melody to be discovered here. There are more strange synth sounds creating some kind of rhythm, like very distant barely audible drumming. But soon this "drumming" reveals itself to be another synthesizer, you really never can tell in these early TD improvisations! But in fact the whole section here is much more rhythm-orientated than anything else on this recording. Different synthesizers and Cluster-like organs try to establish some kind of tribal beat (difficult without any drums!) and it works surprisingly well. However, although the piece still is very peaceful there is suddenly much more tension in it. In the next part a deep drone rhythm develops while the organ plays some repeating chords. After 33 minutes there is some fast but very quiet drumming lying underneath the drones, some buried aggression seems to want to break through here. Then some strange guitar noises join in, but only very briefly, before more atmospheric organ chords take over again. A kind of bass plays a very fast and rhythmic part while organ and synthesizer join this rhythm, a fascinating piece of music with almost an Arabic flavour. This is a fast finale for such an atmospheric and slow concert.

I'm not sure if this recording from November 1972 really is live as there is absolutely no audience noise audible (but the tracks fade in and out). My guess is that this concert was recorded in front of a small audience in a big studio ("Sendesaal") of the German radio and TV station WDR and broadcast on radio. Either this recording was taken from the broadcast or even from the soundboard itself. Given the age of this recording the sound quality simply is stunning.
For all the TD fans who love "Zeit" this TT CD is absolutely essential and a real treat. Everyone else should give "Zeit" one more listen before this one. This concert is extremely calm and for almost 80 minutes nothing much happens at all. If you like the recordings from TD's 1974 tour you may also like this one and the music is just perfect for relaxing.

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MrCox reviews - TT 2: Sheffield City Hall, England 29th October 1974

reviews - bootlegsOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 00:09
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This is one of the few concerts from the 1974 tour in great sound quality that exist. And it's quite a spooky affair indeed, especially with its strange synthesizer waves that open the 44 minute piece. It's always hard describing the music by TD, translating the sounds into words, therefore I try to compare the music to other well-known tracks, here of course from the famous "Phaedra" album.
The start of Sheffield '74 reminds me a bit of "Movements From A Visionary", although the voices are replaced with bird-like chirping and rolling waves at a ocean beach. Some hardly describable sounds rush in and out before a simple kind of melody kicks in, in the creeping manner in which most TD concerts of the 70's begin. Soon after this start two melodies fight for the spotlight while other background sounds are wailing. This part somehow reminds me of the first Popol Vuh album "Affenstunde", the first record using the Moog for its sound world. TD, certainly aware of this LP, somehow try to copy these sounds and soon make them completely their own creating one of these typical TD-atmospheres. An organ-like melody takes the lead and soon is accompanied by other synthesizer parts. Here TD create a harmonic sound that works so well if you need something to soothe you. (I don't mean it in a negative way, I love to fall asleep to these harmonies. They make me forget all troubles I may have in mind and guide me into my own dreams.)
After approximately 13 minutes there is a change in mood and the whole sound becomes more spooky again. This part could serve well for a ghost film with its haunting flutes and barely recognizable background sounds. It reminds me a lot of some parts of "Alpha Centauri" or "Circulation Of Events". One of the things that are so great about TD's concerts of the 70's is the unpredictability, the way Froese, Franke and Baumann can move from one piece of improvised music to the next without stopping to play. At the 17 minute mark the mood changes again, the music becomes more aggressive and intense, leading straight into another synthesized flute part.
The omnipresent instrument in the whole track is the mellotron, but it never sounds boring as the musicians move from one mood into another.
The spooky atmosphere guides the listener further until - at the 22 minute mark - the mood changes drastically. Suddenly there is a part which sounds remarkably like a section of "Phaedra" and you can only ask "What comes next?". The silent sounds the band creates here could be the soundtrack for the upcoming apocalypse, a tension that is intesified when one of these unforgettable sequencer pulses kicks in TD is most famous for. Here they don't work as well yet as on later works like "Rubycon" or "Stratosfear", but the ingredients are all here, including the sudden changes of the sequenced notes and the changes in speed. A "flute" solo (from the mellotron I suppose) accompanies the different sequenced lines and calms down the whole piece a bit, leading to even more harmonic sounds.
However, it doesn't take long until the sound becomes darker again, led by another haunting mellotron solo. The sequencer pulse rushes somewhere in the background like watching the main action from afar, while mellotron and synthesizer create their typical interplay. This part would have fitted very well on the "Phaedra" album indeed. After nearly 36 minutes the sequencer pulse itensifies considerably although it still remains in the background (TD would create more tension with this technique later). A part follows that tries to copy the main theme from "Phaedra" with its sequencers, mellotron and chirping synthies - and it does it very well. Here you can almost feel the way the whole piece moves to its finale, the synthie sounds become more and more dramatic, overlaying the sequencer until it almost drowns in them. Then suddenly the sequencer gains even more speed in a very atonal section before the mellotron calms the music down again. The recording ends with a quite harmonic part dominated by mellotron flutes.
Too bad only one half of this concert was recorded, but these 44 minutes are simply wonderful. It's quite calm most of the time but there's also a lot of tension in the music. At first I didn't like this piece very much, but I had to give it time and it really grew on me. It's definitely one of the essential TD concerts in the Tree.

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TT 30: Reims Cathedrale Notre-Dame, France 13th December 1974. 9/10

reviews - bootlegsOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 00:07
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There are many good anecdotes about Tangerine Dream, but this is one of the few scandals.
Together with Nico - the charismatic chanteuse of Velvet Underground fame - they played a now legendary concert, but consequentially it got them a lot of positive publicity.
According to the TD disliking journalist, Steve Lake, who wrote an article about the event ("Rock Goes To Church"), french national newspapers had written about a bomb threat rumour! The bomb should detonate at 8.00 pm, and the band's manager, called Andy, told Steve Lake not to mention it for the band, as "they are particular paranoid about being blown up"!
Of obvious reasons, that didn't happen, nevertheless another problem occured:
The capacity of the Notre-Dame cathedral was only 2000. Instead, the managers succeeded in letting 5300 people in. And with no freedom of movement - and the toilet facilities ditto, the result was people urinating up against walls and columns!
That, combined with the fact, that alcohol was drunk, pot was smoken and other types of unchristian behaviour was displayed, Pope Paul VI decided to indefinetely ban Tangerine Dream from playing at catholic churches.
Tangerine Dream had no influence on the controversy, but it did in no way harm their reputation, and they played even more cathedral concerts in England, the following year.
For those people who weren't stuck inside the cathedral, one could have a listen, as the show was broadcast on radio.
This broadcast provided the background to the famous Live! Improvised! bootleg, which this Tree release is based upon.
The sound quality is on par with an official live album and the music is lovely, smouldering, disturbing, psychedelic 70's electronica.
What I like about it, is that the sequencers are used moderately and with skill. They could have used them all over, but a good thing shouldn't be overdone. The gothic architecture is certainly an inspiration to music. The courses of ambience are lenghty, and when the sequencing kicks in, they sure have built up a wonderful climax!

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MrCox reviews - TT 9: London Royal Albert Hall, England 2nd April 1975.

reviews - bootlegsOprettet af Jacob Pertou tir, september 02, 2008 00:05
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The concert from April 2nd, 1975 at the Royal Albert Hall in London was the last one in a series of performances where Michael Hoenig replaced Peter Baumann. Besides that it's one of the best performances that was released officially in its entirety on the first "Bootleg Box" set. Unlike all the other recordings of that era the music of the two main sets was indexed into different tracks or sections on the "Bootleg Box" so my comments can refer to these divisions.

"So welcome please, Tangerine Dream!" John Peel himself announces the beginning of the concert. The first set London 1975, Part One lasts for almost 69 minutes and begins in a very typical way with a chirping synthesizer and a slow organ melody underneath. Immediately we are in the middle of one of TD's typical sound worlds, a world that may be light years away on a different planet. The whole atmosphere reminds me a lot of the "Rubycon" album, especially with its haunting Mellotron choir and organ drones. Furthermore there are some weird synth sounds moving up and down the scale. These synths soon take over the stage and after 9 minutes one of TD's typical Mellotron flute solos sets in including a nice, almost charming melody. A few minutes later the Mellotron choir returns creating a slightly disturbing sound. But after all the whole first section has a quiet and most of the time soothing quality, especially with the soft synth sound building the bridge to section 2.
Here this soft and layered music is enriched with a Mellotron flute that blends in perfectly. Another charming melody line creeps in, played on another synthesizer that creates a sharper sound. The music seems to resemble a kind of dream state where impressions move by without disturbance. But after about 3 minutes the mood changes and seems to move into a nightmare as the choir returns once again.
With section 3 the choir suddenly disappears and a new synthesizer layer takes over, a deep drone that soon becomes more rhythmic and turns into the first sequencer rhythm of the concert. The Mellotron choir provides some kind of solo part with a haunting melody while a synth sound flies in. The sequencers gain speed and become more varied with the inclusion of some primitive drums, they almost drown the other sounds in the mix. Soon another synthesizer moves along while some sequencer sounds fall out of tune in a very "Phaedra"-like way. Yet the music is controlled completely by the sequencers by now and every instrument tries to find a complementing rhythm to move along. The development of this piece truely is breathtaking as different sounds take over the rhythm while others drop out, become slower or completely lose touch with the main part. More flutes and later deep synths set in, but by now the music is caught in this rhythm so that these shy melodies can't really break through. Although the rhythm solely is created by sequenced tones, it's kind of aggressive in its entirety. Finally after about 12 minutes the music calms down a bit, although the nightmare sound from section 2 returns again, this time incorporating some organ-like synths that seem to try to destroy the etablished rhythm. And once again the sequenced tones fall out of tune making room for the familiar Mellotron voices. This part feels like the whole music implodes or collapses, as the sequencers are reduced to repeating a single note and the primitive drum tries to keep itself alive. Near the end of the section a new melodic sequencer line appears chasing the other repeating tones away until only a organ and a windy synth remain.
This windy synth sound is the starting point for section 4 that is dominated by some organ sounds at first. Soon the wind synth takes over completely, drowning the whole piece in pure noise. The Mellotron choir makes another appearance but soon everything fades away, just some synth waves like sounds at an ocean coast remain. The musicians try to find new ground upon they can build up the next improvisation, and they find it with a monumental organ that moves in. A high synthesizer melody, a tune like a sad children's song, begins and after 7 minutes the vast synth layers can be heard again. There are no real melodies in there, it's more a mood piece just like those TD played during their 1974 concerts. Yet the combination of synthesizer and organ is very beautiful, calm and relaxed with no sequencer in sight. More Mellotron flutes come into play after almost 13 minutes, but they just blend into the sound dominated by the synth and organ.
Here section 5 begins, very softly a deep synth sound creeps in while the synthesizers and Mellotron flutes from section 4 continue. Still the music is very atmospheric and moody, but after 4 minutes the Mellotron choir returns and the whole mood changes completely. A synth pad performs some kind of wake-up call followed by some high and very strange synth chords. There is a great deal of aggression building underneath without being entirely recognizable. But soon the sequencers are set in motion again with some sharp synth tones and some deep bassy sounds. A synth solo melody appears that reminds a lot of "Rubycon" in places and the sequencer rhythm follows that path and plays its part from "Rubycon, Part One". Here is a perfect example for TD's ability to include traces of well-known compositions into purely improvised performances. More Mellotron choirs join into the dance as well as alarming synth arpeggios that create a disturbing atmosphere. Again the sequencers speed up and indirectly intensify the layers of synthesizers in their performance. With pieces like this it's very plausible that the sequencer rhythms were a kind of backbone to the whole TD sound. Here you can hear a very odd version of this sound as some strange sounds slightly out of tune are incorporated into the rhythm (I don't know whether this was intentional or not, given the instability of electronic instruments at that time). The music calms down near the end of the first set, although the sequencers gain more speed again actually. More disturbing Mellotron sounds creep in, while the sequencers literally give up and become slower and slower until they disappear. Deep waves close the first part of the concert that in a whole could be described as a rollercoaster ride.

London 1975, Part Two consists of three different sections mounting up to 40 minutes in total. The first section starts with a slow, deep organ-like synth solo, once again a very atmospheric intro that soon includes a high synth part too. This solo resembles a synth part on "Rubycon, Part One" once again, yet the music soon turns into a completely different direction. A meandering synth sound gives the piece a rudimentary rhythm but all in all the track's very peaceful and harmonic. After 9 minutes the mood gradually changes as another synth solo sets in.
Section 2 starts with more Mellotron choir and some strange synth tones in the background that would almost fit into the "Pink Years" era. This part is very calm and contains no rhythm at all, but there is a very nice and shy synth solo embedded into it. I wish this solo, barely audible here, would have been recorded seperately somewhere. After 4 minutes the solo synth becomes louder and gains control over these omnipresent choir voices. The band flips between these two elements, one time strengthening the synth, the next time the Mellotron. Yet section 2 never flies off properly, you must hear it as a kind of platform on which the next section can build upon.
Section 3 kicks right off with a sequenced synth sound and more aggressive synthesizer layers on top. The sequencers once again give the improvisation some speed and this rhythm belongs to my favourites: It's kind of dry, almost like very early soft techno, hammering around with ease, yet still urgent in a way. For a while the synth layers vanish behind this sound, instead some single chords creep into the mix from time to time. The music seems to indicate some hidden danger, you could expect this in a psychological thriller or horror film. A very high solo synthesizer joins in just to strengthen this impression. This section doesn't sound like anything else heard in this performance, a sudden change of atmosphere: Instead of peace and tranquility the music transports feelings of fear, with a little imagination you could also hear a sense of panic. After 8 minutes the solo synth takes the lead playing a melancholic melody (as if to indicate that there's no escape from the danger, whatever it may be). More and more synth layers appear, flood the room and almost bury the sequencers. In a concert consisting of very different parts this section is by far the most consistant. Some synthesized percussion and the by now too familiar Mellotron choir come into play, as well as some synth effects that work like a solo. After 12 minutes an additional, more melodic sequencer line appears together with more flutey sounds. By now the danger indicated before is completely gone, as the whole improvisation turned into dance music of sorts. This part is quite funky indeed and one of TD's best sequencer driven pieces of that time, I wouldn't be surprised at all if someone told me the audience really was dancing during that period of the performance. From time to time additional percussion effects are brought in. The different sequencer lines on their own – and that may be the secret – are quite monotonous, but together they create a web of sounds that is just hypnotic, while synths or the Mellotron provide the melodic parts. After 17 minutes the sequencers slowly disappear and let the Mellotron and synths take over again. This improvisation ends, like it's typical for the concerts of the mid-70's, with a melodic part including a Mellotron flute melody and a minimalistic synthesizer layer underneath. So this highly energetic section ends in the softest way possible.

With London 1975, Part Three the band played additional 14 minutes as an encore. This track begins with some crashing synthesizer sounds flooding the room. A sequenced percussion brings some order into the chaos, soon providing another funky rhythm. Bass sounds join in together with more synthesizer tones and soon a nice melody starts, this time more uplifting than anything else before. More Mellotron throws this melody out of track changing the atmosphere a bit, however this time the drumming prevents the mood to overturn completely. The music remains very dancable and rousing until at the 7 minute mark the drumming suddenly disappears, leaving behind just some sequenced tones. Now a single synthesizer takes over the rhythm playing a funny succession of tones that at one point even loses track (the synth seems to be out of tune here). So the drumming reappears again as if to help out. I absolutely love this piece of music as it succeeds in creating a special atmosphere while still being very dancable with lots of variation. At the finale of that improvisation every single tone fits perfectly to the rhythm, every instrument joins into the repeating melody line. I wish this piece would never end, but of course soon the Mellotron choir appears again, calling the music to its close. This is a fascinating encore and the audience rewards it with a roaring applause.

Of the very few concerts with Michael Hoenig this one is by far the best. There are a lot of very atmospheric and calm moments and others with great sequencing and soloing. My only complaint is the excessive use of the Mellotron (the flute and choir sounds), an instrument that is incorporated too often for my taste, while the typical Froese guitar is missing completely. Besides that however, the music is simply stunning, very beautiful and entertaining and should be an essential listen for every TD fan. My favourite parts are Part One (Section 3), Part Two (Section 3) and Part Three as I'm a big fan of TD's sequencer sounds, but I also appreciate the more quiet parts. I sometimes use the first disc to put myself to sleep when I'm uneasy and it always works, as this music is able to soothe me like no other.

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