Peter Baumann

Phase by Phase: A Retrospective '76-'81

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As a former member of Tangerine Dream, Peter Baumann took all of the electronic expertise he incorporated with them and ventured out solo. Phase By Phase is a collection of tracks from Baumann's three albums, Romance 76 from 1976, Trans Harmonic Nights from 1979, and Repeat Repeat from 1981. There are scatterings of Tangerine Dream splashed all over this collection, as is to be expected, but yet the energy or the provocativeness felt from his former band is absent here. "Repeat Repeat" is one of the few songs with lyrics, and even though the synthesizer is put to good use, his Gary Numan-ish voice takes everything away from the track. "Meridian Moorland" is a beautiful passage of humming keyboards and pulsating rhythms, conjuring up images of a plane ride over the moors of Scotland. All of the tracks without singing are decent, but they lack the warmth or the solidness that should have been inserted into them. For example, "Meadow of Infinity-Part 1" contains some interesting chanting and effective throbbing drums, but the keyboard work lacks dominance. Most of the songs on this compilation gather layers of synthesizer on top of one another with one abundant melody heard in the forefront. The pace is slow to moderate on almost every track and Baumann's use of a drum machine does add some essence to the distant resonance of the keyboards. True fans of Tangerine Dream will want to own this album, but any early- or mid-'70s album from them is twice as solid.

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