Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Having remained impervious to punk and new wave, digital music pioneers Tangerine Dream regarded to sort out the 80s head-on. Extensively thought to be a formidable return to their roots after the prog-inclined Cyclone, their final missive from the 70s, Drive Majeure, spent two months within the UK’s High 40, whereas, in its wake, TD mainstays Edgar Froese and Christopher Franke additional strengthened their armory by recruiting proficient new keyboardist Johannes Schmoelling.

A virtuosic but extremely adaptable musician who stored an eye fixed on developments in digital know-how, Schmoelling proved a super (if belated) alternative for the long-serving Peter Baumann, who stop the group after their acclaimed US tour in 1977. Certainly, after integrating into the band over the winter of 1979, Schmoelling endured one thing of a baptism of fireside: performing his first gig alongside Froese and Franke when Tangerine Dream crossed the Berlin Wall for his or her historic present at East Berlin’s Palast Der Republik in January 1980.

A stylistic volte-face

Schmoelling’s first studio classes with the group produced 1980’s Tangram, a crisp, melodic, and warmly obtained LP, however one primarily consisting of fabric Froese and Franke had been shaping previous to his arrival. Schmoelling, nonetheless, exerted a far larger affect on the contents of September 1981’s Exit: a stylistic volte-face of a document which jettisoned a lot of Tangerine Dream’s sonic staples, together with Edgar Froese’s expressive, David Gilmour-esque guitar solos and the 20-minute epics which dominated earlier LPs akin to Rubycon and Drive Majeure.

By comparability, Exit offered a contemporary and strictly digital sound with tightly structured melodies usurping the experimental strategy of yore, and many of the tracks clocking in round a user-friendly five-minute mark. Although nonetheless wholly instrumental, “Choronzon” and the Hello-NRG thrum of “Community 23” nonetheless flaunted a dancefloor-friendly pop sensibility redolent of newly rising synth-based acts akin to Depeche Mode and Gentle Cell, whereas the evocative “Pilots Of Purple Twilight” could have copped its deal with from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “Locksley Corridor,” but it surely stated its piece eloquently and left the constructing after a concise 4 minutes.

Not that Tangerine Dream had fully given up on grandeur. Certainly, Exit’s most affecting set-piece was arguably its 10-minute opener, “Kiew Mission”: a tense and extremely persuasive observe analyzing the possible risk of atomic warfare-instigated annihilation at a time when the world’s nuclear clock was teetering solely minutes away from midnight. After a lot of the mainstream-inclined positivity previous it, the sinister “Distant Viewing” additionally supplied a curiously pessimistic postscript, with the observe’s eerie spatial remoteness and juddering sequencers – admittedly not unfavorably – recalling parts of each TD’s proto-ambient masterpiece Zeit and their later business breakthrough, Phaedra.

The 16CD and double-Blu-ray launch, In Search Of Hades: The Virgin Recordings 1973-1979 is out now. It incorporates Tangerine Dream’s Exit and far more. It may be purchased right here.

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