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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tangerine Dream

Rockoon

Review by Steve Alspach

Tangerine Dream started in the early 1970s as a keyboard-based trio. Their early efforts were quite exploratory, examining the range of sounds and effects of the then-new electronic technology. Recent years saw the group change in both personnel and styles. Edgar Froese still remains the focal point of the band, but the music has changed from experimental to a more melodic style. Rockoon was released in 1992 and features Edgar's son Jerome Froese and incorporates other, more conventional instruments, such as guitar and saxophone.

The lineup on this album is: Edgar Froese, acoustic, electric, rhythm, and 12 string guitars, keyboards, piano, drums, and percussion; Jerome Froese, keyboards, lead and rhythm guitars, drums, and percussion; Enrico Fernandez, macubaha; Richi Wester, flute and alto saxophone; and Zlatko Perica, lead guitar. All the songs on this album were composed by Edgar and Jerome Froese.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Big City Dwarves
This song stays in a minor mode throughout. The guitar solo is a very atmospheric one, with long notes to add effect to the song instead of playing any sort of melody of riff.

Red Roadster
A vocal line (keyboard effect, of course) lays down the mode for the opening of this song. About halfway in, though, the cut starts to rock out. Klatko Perica's solos are flashy in places, yet admirably brief. The saxophone solo by Richi Wester is a bit different, though, saying quite a bit with sparse phrasing.

Touchwood
After the opening themes, there is a bit at 1:20 where the theme doesn't appear, nor are there any solos, but just an openness to the music. The song then goes back to the main themes and then to a bit of a spacey ending. All in 4:25, which gives the piece the feeling of expansiveness and exploration without being too lengthy.

Graffitti Street
I don't know if there is street-cop TV show in Europe called "Graffitti Street", but if there is, this would be the perfect theme for that show. A piano lays down the opening riff, followed by a brass-like melody. Zlatko Perica plays some bluesy, Prince-like guitar lines throughout, giving this song a gritty, urban feel.

Funky Atlanta
I never thought of Tangerine Dream in terms of "funky" - in fact, I didn't think I'd ever use the words "Tangerine Dream" and "funky" in the same sentence - but this song opens with a latin-tinged feel. Again, Perica's lean-yet-sinewy guitar lines are featured on this piece.

Spanish Love
This is perhaps the catchiest song on the album. The melodies are more than just simple riffs. In some places the melodic lines sound quite a bit like some of Tony Banks' work in and out of Genesis. Despite the title, there really isn't much that sounds Spanish in this song in terms of instrumentation.

Lifted Veil
This piece is a bit reminiscent of Mike Oldfield in its opening sequence. The composition is the most acoustic of the songs on the album. Here the 12-string guitar and piano take the lead. The guitar is quite nice with its arpeggios. The saxophone comes in later, and I'm not sure that this song needed the sax. Richi Wester's playing on this song is too reminiscent of the "smooth jazz" sound.

Penguin Reference
The song starts off slowly enough, but forty seconds in it finds its melody. This piece has no guitar or sax solo to it, so relies on its melody to carry it. There is just a tinge of Latin rhythm in the tune, and this relaxed feel makes this number sound almost like MOR new age music.

Body Corporate
Here the saxophone takes the lead instead of soloing over a chord pattern. The lead line is a bit lengthy in places, and the song has a rather complicated feel to it. There are no drums or percussion in this song, but saxophone, keyboards, and 12-string.
Rockoon
The lead guitar line suggests this to be the most rocking piece on the album. Or, as rocking as Tangerine Dream gets. Zlatko Perica gets to show off his chops a bit, but then settles in to take the lead lines. The band then goes into one of its "open" modes where the music opens up or "takes a pause" before going back into the main theme.
Girls on Broadway
The song starts off innocuously enough, but then goes into a double-time feel for a bit before going back to its main rhythm. This features a simple enough melody and the song is a pleasant, if not exactly memorable, closing to the album.

 
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