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.