I think most of you know my affinity for progressive electronic music. There is something so calming, yet complex about the waves and loops, especially when they are structured into songs that are wildly outside the ordinary. Being a fan of this genre, it is natural that I love Tangerine Dream, the grandfathers (along with Vangelis) of electronic music. Tangerine Dream has a new compilation releasing on January 31st called “Recurring Dreams”, though it is definitely a different sort of “best of” than you might expect.
Tangerine Dream currently hail from “Berlin and Vienna”, according to their Facebook page. This is more of a project than a band, as there have been many members through the years. Edgar Froese, founder of the project, passed away a few year ago, and so the lineup is made up of relative newcomers, though ones who spent much time with Edgar and, in my opinion, understand the soul of what this music represents. The lineup is Thorsten Quaeschning (synthesizer, musical director), Ulrich Schnauss (synthesizer), and Hoshiko Yamane (violin).
From my perspective, these musicians have put a fresh face on Tangerine Dream. Their first album of original songs, “Quantum Gate”, released in 2017, and I listen to it regularly to this day. “Recurring Dreams” is something a little different. While you will notice that the tracklist is made up of classic TD tracks, the lengths and even sounds of the tracks are markedly different. What they have done here, then, is to offer personal interpretations of these classic songs, yet adding more layers and using equipment from the whole spectrum of eras. Edgar had a “quantum dream”, as the project calls it, in which future TD endeavors would focus on making music that reflects the quantum realm. In some ways, this compilation sees the new lineup applying that dream to classic tracks.
For instance, “Phaedra” was originally 17 minutes long, but this new version is eight minutes. It is actually a rework by Edgar himself from back in 2014, I assume which was to serve as a road map for his new dream. Now, I love the original, but this version is more concise and dynamic, while still retaining all the atmosphere and wonder of the original. In some ways, it is a celebration of the original, while also offering something new and possibly more accessible. I think the new lineup has done this with all the other tracks, making this compilation a great starting point for anyone hypnotized by Stranger Things or who has just discovered the genre.
The compilation isn’t some cash grab, either. The release coincides with the Tangerine Dream: Zeitraffer exhibition taking place over the new couple months in London. This is meant to be a sort of museum piece, just like the exhibit. TD is far more influential than I think most people know, and I am happy to see them beginning to receive their due accolades.
I think the “Phaedra” re-imagining is probably my favorite on the album, just because I love the original so well. I was surprised by some other tracks, too, though. All of them feel injected with wonder, respect, and I, daresay, joy.
“Monolight (Yellow Part)” is serene and looping, perfect for calming your mind. I always thought “Moonlight” would be a better name because it feels like being out under the stars, but I assume it is a play on words. “Horizon”, parts 1 and 2 are like rushing over a vast landscape of mountains and lakes. They take you to a place you want to be, at least for me. “Claymore Mine/Stalking” has an edgier, visceral side to it, almost feeling nervous and uneasy.
I think the last three tracks are really well done, especially. “Yellowstone Park” is similar to “Horizon”, but somehow feels even more lush and inviting. “Der Mond ist aufgegangen Part 1 & 2” is atmospheric, textural comfort for the mind. I get lost in the sensation of light that it creates. “Stratsofear” gallops and careens its way into a satisfying ending, honoring the classic track in a way that I love.
I am grateful that Tangerine Dream, creators of various genres and classic film scores, are being recognized for their input into not only music, but also culture. This compilation honors that legacy, but also provides an entry point for new fans, while also offering concise celebrations for older fans. “Recurring Dreams” is really well designed, and I hope we will hear more new music from the project soon.
Find Tangerine Dream online: