Tangerine Dream

The Bootmoon Series: Aachen 1981

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By the early '80s Tangerine Dream had gained more control over their music, with shorter tracks that meandered less, and slightly improved technology. This 1981 set from Aachen, Germany, though, was still partly made up of otherwise unrecorded material, threaded in among some known pieces, like their "hit," "Force Majeure." They could shift from the brooding quality of something such as "Undulation" to the outright raucous rock of "Diamond Diary (Guitar Part)" with its screaming Stratocaster, never letting anything go on too long (obviously a lesson learned from the indulgent '70s). Already on their umpteenth lineup, they'd come to acknowledging that being sprawling wasn't always a virtue. But inside the themes there was also plenty of room for improvisation among the sequencers, and on different nights some pieces would take wing, while others remained abbreviated. That they were in a constant process of change was obvious, although they stuck to a relatively rigid set list for the tour. While the musicianship was hardly virtuosic, it was effective, and leader Edgar Froese maintained an effective presence throughout. The sound quality leaves things to be desired in different places, but as this set (like the others in this series) was assembled from fan tapes, that's hardly surprising. Still, if you think Tangerine Dream were all airy-fairy synth drones and spaciness, you're in for a pleasant surprise.

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