Currently listening to: Tangerine Dream, “Poland.” This dates from 1984, and is a live double-album (two CDs, for the version I have), recorded in Warsaw, complete with Polish-language introduction at the beginning. Tangerine Dream at this point in history constituted Chris Franke, Johannes Schmoelling and Edgar Froese.
This period in the early 1980’s was, IMHO, the high point for this group, although they did some stuff in the mid-70’s that I liked too. They have changed so much since their inception that they are basically unclassifiable without specifying what the time period is. In fact, I recall an argument a number of years ago between a well-intentioned fan of their earlier work and a self-appointed topic-nazi who insisted that Tangerine Dream belonged solely in the “new age” category. He was apparently unaware of some of their early work, which is more appropriately placed in the “electronic” category than just about any other music. Try “Atem” or “Rubycon” for instance. Yes, they have used some conventional instruments on their albums, but it’s done in a way that compliments the electronics so well that the “normal” instruments are often unrecognizable, unless you know what to listen for.
In any case, here are my favorite works by this group. I considered putting them in most- to least-favorite order, but then realized that, really, my favorite is whichever one I happen to be listening to at the time. This, then, is just alphabetical order:
I also recall, from way back then, quite enjoying their soundtracks for the movies Wavelength and Risky Business, which are what initially drew my attention. I never did get around to purchasing those soundtracks, though. I suppose the problem was that, during the time I was most actively buying compact discs, which was five to ten years later, those two hadn’t been re-issued on CD.
Incidentally, this version of Poland is one of the complete versions: Relativity 88561-8045-2. There are apparently a number of incomplete CD versions out there. This one features five tracks total:
1) Poland [22:37]
2) Tangent [15:53]
3) Finish [4:02]
1) Barbakane [18:05]
2) Horizon [21:10]
(That adds up to about an hour and twenty minutes.)
Some versions don’t contain Tangent, which is really unfortunate because that’s not only the best track of the five, but possibly one of the best tracks they’ve ever done. Barbakane is also quite excellent in its full length. I’d hate to lose part of it.
The third track on the first disc is kind of a “surprise” track. It’s NOT listed on the box inserts, nor on the surface of the disc itself. It’s not even listed in the CD booklet. Because of this, I never knew the name of it until today, when I finally ripped the discs into iTunes and the Gracenote database told me. (Of course, given the number of mistakes in the Gracenote database, it’s entirely possible that the title is wrong. It’s an OK track, but not as good as the other four in my opinion.)