Tangerine Dream suffers from a slight case of growing pains on Logos: Live at the Dominion, having recently turned off their lava lamps and opened up their programmers' manuals. Chris Franke, recently-joined Johannes Schmoelling, and the ever-present frontman Edgar Froese seem to be leaning on their new equipment more than usual, making this concert sequentially denser than previous ones. The results are frequently bland, as if they expected the machines to write the songs for them as well. Still, the trio follows their trusted formula of lengthy exploration in six to eight parts, continuing some degree of organic looseness. As part one begins, synths gurgle to life, ghostly strings float over a slow DX7 pulse that gives way to drum machines within the first minute, and they're off to what may have seemed revolutionary at the time: three men slouched over ominous-looking patch bays and consoles to produce exotic textures of science fiction. Six or seven minutes later, things ease back to an anthemic keyboard rock that, structurally at least, puts them in more familiar territory (albeit bland). Next, at the 14-minute mark, the foundation is laid for what borrows liberally from (and builds on top of) Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, precisely sampled and included either out of respect, or leaned on for necessary inspiration (consequentially, it's debatable as to who gets credit for this high-point; Reich or the Krautrockers). Part two carries out a waltz of sorts for the first ten minutes of icy electronica, but then a curious, mechanical march breaks through the gates and shuffles gradually towards another cold pop section. Froese leaves his electric guitar behind for this concert, but the keyboard solo here shows similar abandon over laser harp arpeggios. At 17 minutes, another roll-the-credits passage of down tempo synth rock unfurls it's flag, and this time it just feels like the finale, with an easygoing spirit and syrupy melody line. The enthusiastic London audience apparently clapped loud enough to hear "Dominion," a short-form futuristic pop number for the encore (rare for their earlier live albums to include this novelty) that's compositionally a bit heavy on formula, and a bit light on personality. Several moments on Logos meet with the same fate, but perhaps it's the new machines to blame, as much as the men relying on them.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Swan