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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tangerine Dream

The Official Bootleg Series: Volume Two: Palais des Congres, Paris March 1978 & Palast der Republik, East Berlin, January 1980

Review by Gary Hill

This massive set of live Tangerine Dream is part of a series. I’ve reviewed another in the series in this same issue. I have to say that I think I like the Paris show better than any of the other shows on these two sets. That said, the whole thing is solid. You don’t get any repetition within these sets as all the shows are very different from one another.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc One

                 
Paris Set One

Strange psychedelic space music opens this and the track grows out from there. There are spoken (sometimes more shouted) vocals in the mix on this thing. It eventually works out to mellower, somewhat symphonic sounds. The space elements remain for a time, but drop away eventually. Around the nine and a half minute mark some synthesizer leads into territory that’s much like the electronic music of the 1970s. Eventually it gets powered up more into rock territory. I like the flute going across the mix. The voice returns around the fourteen minute mark. There are some elements as it moves forward that make me think of Hawkwind. In some ways it reminds me of Copernicus, too. The keyboard dominated jam later is pretty cool. The space rock that emerges beyond that is quite effective. Eventually it works from there into something more like you might expect from Vangelis. It works to chaos from there, getting noisy for a while. This piece gets more melodic as it moves forward. Then it shifts toward a more symphonic sound from there. Some cool electronic prog emerges from there. It works into some really intense prog rock jamming later that has some jazz in the mix, really.

Disc Two
                  
Paris Set Two

 The first three minutes or so of this are very chaotic and seemingly freeform. Then it launches into a more mainstream prog rock jam from there. Eventually it works to mellower stuff, but still remains more accessible. Some jazz elements emerge over the top as it grows and moves forward. I really like the fast paced keyboard sequencing around the eleven minute mark. It gets into fast paced space rock from there and has some vocals. Percussion gets control (with some other elements over the top) for a time. Eventually it works out toward some pretty spacey chaos as the other instruments seem to compete for dominance. Then the drums really take over with just some vocal bits over the top of them. A more driving electronic prog jam emerges after a while. Some cool guitar soloing emerges as this continues to evolve. That soloing drives it for quite a while and gets very intense. Cool electronic sounds emerge beyond that. It eventually works out toward creepy science fiction like music. It shifts toward mellower and more melodic territory for a time. Then dissonant keyboards shift it back into the weird zone. The melodic musical concepts win out in the end, as they move into some great AOR styled progressive rock.

Paris Encore One
Flute and a voice bring this into being. Comparisons to Jethro Tull at this early stage are obvious. This shifts more toward sedate classical music as it moves forward, though. Electronic instrumental prog eventually rises up from there as the piece continues to evolve. Getting into more space rock styled territory, some guitar soloing tears over the top of this later. After that we’re back into more electronic prog for a while. Eventually, though, it shifts toward noisy chaos for a time. A crescendo followed by a slight flourish, ends the piece.
Paris Encore Two
This comes in percussive and quite spacey. There are some vocals heard on the piece. As keyboards come over the top it becomes more melodic. The piece continues to evolve. Hawkwind, Vangelis and Jethro Tull seem to merge later in the number. It gets mellower later, but then shifts toward chaos from there. It drops down even further, and some vocals that are a bit like Gregorian chant emerge over the keyboards. That section eventually takes it to its close.
Disc Three
               
East Berlin Set One

Space sound effects start this and hold it for a time. As it works forward it resembles some of the weirder music from the soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey. It eventually makes its way toward mellower, more melodic sounds to move forward. It’s electronic and almost classical in nature at that point. The evolution continues from there, with the piece becoming a little more electronic prog based. It gets more intense at times, but also mellows back out a bit beyond that. The keys take it into spacier territory later. It gets pretty weird past that point. When it shifts toward more melodic, it eventually builds out to some driving electronic prog. The keyboards really do drive this piece. As it continues that is the main element. They work through several changes and variants with the piece growing and changing all along the road. This gets more rocking after a while. Around the 33 minute mark, it shifts more toward weirdness. The cut continues to move through strange sonic territory until it drops near the end to pretty keyboards to take it the rest of the way to the end.

Disc Four
                 
East Berlin Set Two

Piano opens this, and creates the initial sound. In fact, the first part of this is a piano solo that gets pretty intense and involved as it carries forward. It’s not until past the five minute mark that synthesizer joins and the track begins to work out as a more electronic jam. The piece continues by evolving through different movements. Around the eleven minute mark there is a shift toward something like Kraftwerk. Before the twenty five minute mark it shifts toward science fiction soundtrack type stuff. It gets quite spacey as it goes along that road. By the 29 minute mark it has dropped way down to weird effects like stuff. Then a rhythmic element emerges and the piece threatens to power out into some inspired jamming. Although that doesn’t really get realized, this works to more Kraftwerk like stuff. Guitar comes in further down the road and brings the piece into more rock based territory. Somehow, this movement makes me think of the first part of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” just a bit. More traditional electronic sounds take over after a while. That sort of electronic texture eventually takes the piece to its closing.

East Berlin Encore
Coming in pretty weird and space rock like, it stays like that for a while. It eventually works out toward more standard electronic music as it continues. It works through building and changing that sort of sound. Then there is a drop to extremely spacey music from there.

 

 
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