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Music Review

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Zeit (1972)
(2018 Vinyl Release)


Artist: Tangerine Dream
Label: Varèse Sarabande

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Release Date: 21 April 2018

Varese Sarabande sold all available copies of Tangerine Dream’s debut album from 1970, Electronic Meditation, when re-released as part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday in 2017. Now they are re-releasing a special addition of the group’s breakthrough third album from 1972, Zeit, on tangerine-colour vinyl. Each side of this double disc incorporates one song. The tracks on offer are 'First Movement – Birth of Liquid Plejades', 'Second Movement – Nebulous Dawn', 'Third Movement – Origin of Supernatural Probabilities', and 'Fourth Movement – Zeit'...

Tangerine Dream is a German band which seems to have been around in one form or another for ever. Their output has been prolific, to say the least, with upwards of 100 studio and live albums, and more than 30 film soundtracks (including: Sorcerer, Firestarter, Legend, Risky Business, and The Keep) – which they are probably better known for. They are no doubt one of the originators of Electronic Rock. Although always having been aware of their presence, my best introduction to them came as late as the 1990s via long-term member Christopher Franke’s brilliant music for the science fiction series Babylon 5.  I have four CDs of music just from that show, and it’s full of emotion, action, tension and intrigue.

However, Zeit is very different. Whereas Tangerine Dream’s later releases were more in the aforementioned Electronic Rock vein, the early releases could be closer described as ambience pieces. Soundscapes, conceived to transport the listener to another place. Remember, when Zeit was first released it was still an era of hippy preponderance (a contradiction, perhaps), finding oneself, stretching the imagination by any means necessary and Psychedelic Space Rock – although the tail-end of it. I didn’t like this at first, and that’s because I rushed through the listening process, doing other things at the same time, and didn’t really give it the chance it deserves.

I discovered that you have to be of a certain mindset to fully appreciate what was intended with this album. Lie down, close your eyes, put on your headphones, and allow no distractions. Zeit is not so much about music as creating movement, emotion, and in particular foreboding. This experience is dark. It takes you into the great expanses of space and purposefully casts you adrift. Alone, with your senses heightened, your heart beating in your ears, you wait for and experience the ‘everything’. Something is coming and it might not be friendly. It might change us forever.

If it seems like you’re reading a review of some kind of total immersion experience ride at a theme park rather than a music release, let me tell you that listening to this album had the same effect on me. It’s not brilliant, but once you begin to understand the concept it’s like a mini revelation. Giving it time and appreciation is the key. Nevertheless, there were much better albums to come, and I can only imagine wanting to experience this one once.


Ty Power

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