After Atem, Tangerine Dream wrote a contract with Richard Branson, for his newly established Virgin label – a label that set the fashion for progressive music back in the 70’s. The sound on Phaedra is remarkably different compared to Atem, and it was due to the Moog that Chris Franke had bought for the monies they received in advance from Virgin. Another important factor was that he had sold his drum kit.
Thus Tangerine Dream was now what you could call electronic music.
The title track is purely improvised. The equipment was very tough to handle and to program, so the sound technicians were instructed to record everything that came out of the instruments, while they rehearsed.
The music was still without catchy melody lines, but the pulsating sequencer – now TD’s trademark – is vigorously dominant. The track is an immaculate tour-de-force, perfectly produced headphone music, with effective use of stereo effects. There are invaluable treasures buried in the mix.
After 12 minutes the track mutates into pure atmosphere with vibraphone, mellotron and electric piano (to name but a few), to finally end off with playground noises, where you can hear 3 year old Jerome Froese play. (Although the ‘Definitive Edition’ CD from 1995 had made the grave mistake to include the Jerome part as the beginning of track two instead). By the way, Jerome can be spotted on the covers from Alpha Centauri (1971) to Exit (1971), and in 1990 he joined the band.
Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares is a gorgeous Edgar Froese composition, with mellotron run through a synthesizer. After five minutes with that, Edgar decides to play something as "unconventional" as chords, but he quickly returns the starting point.
In Movements of a Visionary there are played with effects. There is played on organ on a large scale, and it’s reminiscent of something from Edgar’s debut album, Aqua, from the same year. Fortunately, some sequencer has been added, giving it more of an edge.
Last track, Sequent ‘C’ is credited to Peter Baumann, and is an alluring, two minute long, improvised piece for flute and effects.
Phaedra became Tangerine Dream’s fastest selling record ever. And that with some help from a certain John Peel. The album entered the charts and went gold.
Despite of the difficult conditions with getting the instruments to work properly, they had recorded their best album to date – and fortunately it only got better and better from there.