Tangerine Dream

Song Review by Mike DeGagne

Composed by members Edgar Froese, Peter Baumann, and Christopher Franke, "Phaedra"'s makeup represents the sound that encompasses the rest of the album. Released in 1974, Phaedra was the first album from Tangerine Dream to contain a uniform structure and a balanced set of rhythms, as past albums relied mainly on improvisation and a vast array of abstract keyboard wandering. Without introspection, "Phaedra" sounds much like any other Tangerine Dream track of the mid-'70s, but at a closer listen the song does harbor a few distinct qualities. When the song was in its production stages, the bass line of the track was unintentionally fluctuating. Christopher Franke's attempt at fixing the problem was actually recorded and kept, so "Phaedra's experimental period actually became the finished product. The song's lush, symphonic beginning is classical in nature, slowly blending in to the bubbling electronics that soon takeover, which would soon become the band's most familiar sound. The body of the song is built on beautiful electronic surges and colorful ambient-like passages, with a firm mixture of quick keyboard runs and delicate tonal textures. Animated perfectly, there is a cool, mesmerizing effect that floats throughout the tempo even though it's rapid, while the percussion work that appears about halfway through the song adds some welcomed cadence to the background waves. The ending is soft, just like the beginning, giving the track a cyclical feature which would also arise in many of the group's future pieces. This same type of movement, derived from the pace of the synthesizer, also surfaced later in numerous scores for movies performed by Tangerine Dream, confirming that this new form of organizational keyboard work attempted in 1974 would indeed lead to greater success.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Phaedra 1974 Antilles / New Direction 17:45