I've heard Tangram can cure a headache. I never have headaches, but from the beginning of the opening melodic sequence, the music certainly does something to me. If music can tell a great story, Tangram is the proof. The music is incredibly inspired, even without a litterary source, unlike The Snow Goose by Camel, which was based on a children's story by Paul Gallico - Tangram has the same grandiose epic quality.
With the entrance of new member Johannes Schmoelling, a new epoch is marked to the band. The legendary Franke/Froese/Schmoelling trio managed to release oceans of records before Schmoelling's departure in 1985.
Schmoelling was an organist and worked on theatrical music scores, as he was discovered by Froese.
Schmoelling had a very important role with the change towards a more compositorical approach, resulting in abandoning the improvisations on the studio recorded album.
His first album with the band, consisted of only two tracks: Tangram set 1 and Tangram set 2. The first is nothing but sheer brilliance, the latter is a bit more different.
Tangram set 1 is almost symphonic composition-wise - a move made possible with the new polyphonic synths, which had sounds trustworthy enough to resemble a philharmonic orhestra.
The highlight of the track is Froese's tormented guitar, mixed with the synth-figure which seems to be a criminal rip-off of the intro from Won't Get Fooled Again, as heard on the magnificent Who album, Who's Next from 1971.
The track concludes with the usual, and calm solo pieces.
Tangram set 2 doesn't reach the same, almost classical status, but it is splendid, after all. I hear galloping and neighing synths. The beat reminds me of a train on railroad tracks, presumably the reason TD is such a good travelling companion, when it comes to music on your walkman!
This is the first time Tangerine Dream has been somewhat mechanical, but they do it with style. Even the acoustic 12-string sound sampled (something they did more and more in the future), as it plays the same two chords, repeatedly a couple of times.
At the 10½ minute mark, the Force Majeure intro returns, but things get into shape with a staccato synth, and suddenly one synth overlaps into another, creating the previously mentioned symphonic effect.
Suddenly, we're into a freaked-out piece, with samples of laughter, that almost bring us back to the psychedelic sixties. It sounds as if the Mellotron is back, too, but that very haunting ghost choir, could be sampled.
Apopros of nothing a synth breaks into the context, and ends the track in traditional TD manner.
Tangram was the perfect way to start a decade of high productivity, including artistic ups and downs.
If Rubycon was the blue album of inexplicable complexity, Tangram was the red one.