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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Tangerine Dream

Bootleg Box Set Vol. 2

Review by Gary Hill

This box set of Tangerine Dream live performances is massive. It is spread across seven CDs and includes more than six hours of music. The dates of the shows range from 1976 to 1983. Most of this is instrumental, but there are vocals on a couple pieces. This is largely made up of epic pieces of music. It's generally of the keyboard dominated, electronic sound that one expects from Tangerine Dream, but there is definitely quite a bit of range here. While this is supposed to be a collection of bootleg recordings, the audio quality is a lot better than that suggests. I can heartily recommend this set to fans of Tangerine Dream. The discs all come in cardboard sleeves, and it's a packaged in a nice cardboard clamshell box.

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Track by Track Review
CD One:
Nottingham - Albert Hall
November 8th, 1976
Nottingham 1976 Part One

This piece runs more than 34-and-a-half minutes. Rising up mellow and melodic, the electronic keyboard textures paint an almost symphonic picture as they swirl about. Piano and other instruments join after a time. This is very much of the electronic music school. It has plenty of intriguing melodies and sounds here. This gets quite involved and powerful further down the road, while still building on the same themes and textures. It really feels soaring. There are some swirling parts later that bring an almost siren sound along with some space rock. It definitely turns toward Hawkwind space zones during that section. The cut continues to evolve from there, and at times feels more soundtrack like. There is a definite symphonic quality.

Nottingham 1976 Part Two
Dramatic classical piano gets this underway. Piano solo holds it for a while, working through a number of themes and modes. Synthesizer joins the arrangement after a time and the composition continues to grow and create a vital sonic tapestry. This gets guitar added to the mix further down the road. It works outward in very organic ways into more of a pure progressive rock arrangement, but still built around an almost symphonic growing motif. There are space rock things here, and some pretty noisy guitar work at times. It gets quite hard rocking by around the three-quarter mark. This eventually gets into some seriously heavy and creepy early Pink Floyd sort of zones - think Meddle era. Synthesizer takes control back for a while before the guitar rises up to dominate again. Eventually keys get back into the driver's seat, and mellower mode takes it to the closing. Another epic, this one is more than 33-minutes long.
Nottingham 1976 Part Three
Chiming bell sounds bring this in with a percussive focus. There is a driving, inststent quality as it works forward. This feels like the soundtrack to some kind of horror movie as other layers are added. This is the shortest piece on this first CD at less than 14-minutes, but they still manage to bring a lot of variety and moods to the table. This gets into some driving, electronic prog further down the road, and that holds it through some cool variants and iterations. This gets driving and quite powerful before it's over and done. It drops mellower to eventually end.
CD Two:
Washington Lisner Auditorium
April 4th, 1977
Introduction / Cherokee Lane

Spacey elecrronic textures bring this in. The track begins to resemble soundtrack music. We're taken into more standard electronic instrumental zones as it continues. This is much more purely keyboard oriented than the last couple tracks were. This carries in a rather straight line way, but still manages some surprises. This is 17 minutes of Tangerine Dream goodness.

Freeform piano jamming gets thing going here. It turns seriously spacey and weird after a while. It eventually gets more melodic and mainstream in its electronic soundscape, but hints of the weirdness start to intrude again after a time, eventually taking it back to spacey oddities. We're eventually taken back to more soaring and standard space keyboard based stuff. I'm reminded a little of the kind of thing Tim Blake does. The exploration contines, and it eventually drops way down. Then more spacey sounds emerge to move it forward. Eventually that works to a synthesizer and piano arrangement that takes it to its close almost 19-and-a-half minutes after it started.
Weird, echoey space music a little like Hawkwind is heard as this gets going. Trippy stuff that feels like some kind of twisted soundtrack music takes over from there. Eventually this gets into definite Tim Blake like Hawkwindish space jamming. It gets energetic and jamming after a time with the synthetic textures leading the proggy interplay. At a little over 24 minutes long, this is the epic of the CD Two. Eventually this gets into some noisier zones while seeming like an organic building on what came before. It gets pretty crazed in its intensity at times.
CD Three:
Washington Lisner Auditorium
April 4th, 1977
Drywater Rush

Trippy keyboards bring get this one going. The track is still in epic zones at almost 13-and-a-half minutes. In fact, it's the longest piece on this third disc of the set. It works out in freaky, but cool space weirdness. It definitely feels like something that would have been at home as the music to an old episode of "Doctor Who" to me. This eventually works out to more of a killer electronic space rock jam that has elements of Pink Floyd and Hawkwind as reference points.

Rain in Spain
This song is sort of in the middle zone between epic and not, running over ten-and-a-half minutes. Some crowd sound brings it in. Then we get more of a guitar based tune that's still quite spacey, but also has sections that have a processed Spanish guitar vibe. This eventually gets into some driving, echoey space rock jamming that has more of a electronic vibe to it. There are some awesome keyboard melodies further down the musical road. It turns to a very mellow tapestry as it approaches the end. There are some chirpy Hawkwind like elements on the closing movement.
Leaning even further toward the non-epic end, the closing piece of this third disc is less than nine-and-a-half minutes long. There are a lot of noises before it gets going, but the music rises up with more of a rocking electronic space sound. Chirpy guitar and other elements are heard as this gets into more of a freeform jam zone. The guitar jamming gets pretty intense as this cut continues building.
CD Four:
Hamburg Audimax
February 24th, 1978
Hamburg 1978 - Part One

This redefines epic, running over 43 minutes long. It starts in a very classical, but also chaotic way with crazed piano. That works through for a while, and then we get into more of a melodic progressive rock jam from there. This works through a number of shifts and turns. It gets driving and classy. It's very electronic, but also feels more like a band treatment than some of the other pieces do. This piece contains such a wide swath of sound. It also includes some great melodies and electronic space rocking moments in parts of it. It turns toward more hard rocking zones, but still quite electronic and space oriented after the half way mark. That section definitely makes me think of Hawkwind. There is some smoking hot guitar work later in a jam that has a much more traditional prog meets jam band vibe to it. There are still some of those Hawkwind hints in there, though. More driving Hawkwind like sounds are heard later and there are some vocals, but they are more spit out and indiscernible and rather far back in the mix. That section drives onward but is eventually replaced by something a bit like noisy space soundtrack oddities. A more melodic piano-led movement takes over at the end to create the final moments.

Hamburg 1978 - Part Two
Freaky, echoey flute gets things underway here. Electronics rise up to applause from there. That eventually works to more of a hard rocking jam from there. This is another that does have a bit of a Hawkwind angle. It has some scorching guitar work, too. This thing gets seriously crazed and intense at the end. It is another track that is less than nine-and-a-half minutes of music.
CD Five:
Newcastle City Hall
October 25th, 1981
Logos Part 1

Trippy stuff brings this into being. The cut grows out from there with something that's electronic and artsy, but at times almost funky, too. This is another piece that runs around ten-and-a-half minutes long. This works through as a classy sort of groove with plenty of electronic and space rock elements at play as it continues. There are some hints of world music at times on this track, and it works through some cool space sections. It gets into a mellower groove further down the road, turning even more sedate with a chiming based sort of section at the end.

Sobornost (Edinburgh Castle)
At a little over seven-and-a-half minutes long, this one I don't think qualifies as epic in size. It comes directly out of the previous track with lots of trippy sound effects at its heart. Driving, climbing keyboard sounds are heard as this builds upward. This evolves in more classy electronic ways as it continues. Cool synthesizer voicing takes control as it approaches the end and holds it with style.
Digital Times Suite
We are back into definite epic zones with a track that's close to 16 minutes long. This comes in dramatic and moving with an almost soundtrack quality to it. Trippy, spacey electronic textures take over from there. That works through for a while, and then it gets mellow for a brief time before new layers of keyboards taking control. Trippy, sedate stuff takes over from there. It gradually starts to build outward beyond that with more driving keyboard sounds. It continues to evolve, getting more driving as it works forward. This turns rather percussive as it continues. Cool keyboard elements wander over the top and then coalesce near the end to take complete control to end it.
Bondy Paradise
Crashing sound effects bring this in from the last track. A driving sort of electronic space rock element takes control and builds upward. It turns into more of a group styled arrangement for a cool proggy jam. There is a real sense of energy and fun built into it. This gets pretty rocking as it continues down the musical road. After organic growth for quite a while there is a dramatic twist to a powerful keyboard them to end it. This song is more than 13-and-a-half minutes long.
CD Six:
Newcastle City Hall
October 25th, 1981
Mojave Plan

The epic of this CD (at nearly 27 minutes long) starts this. It comes in percussive with a lot of real experimental weirdness at play. This gradually coalesces into more traditional electronic prog jamming. This continues to grow from there. Some of the sounds that come across make me think of early Pink Floyd, while the elements in the background holding it down feel more like traditional electronic prog. It gets driving and inspired as it carries on. This really gets quite intense. Around the half way mark space keys take control, bringing a real science fiction vibe with them. Then we get a percussion solo section. As other instruments join this begins to groove in a cool electronic way and then turns more melodic. The percussive and electronic concepts merge as it works forward. After evolving for a time, it drops down to a particularly mellow movement. It then begins a growing process from there, getting back into familiar themes and territory. Some mysterious keyboard sounds take over for the closing movement, feeling like something from a science fiction movie soundtrack.

Thermal Inversion
Space keys rise up from the previous number, seriously soaring upward/ This turns toward some driving electronic sound as it continues forward. This piece is just over 12 minutes long. As this continues we get a section based on percussion and strange sound effect like electronic elements. Then a classy synthesizer melody emerges that makes me think of Kraftwerk to some degree. This thing gets into a cool percussive sort of fast paced mode as a logical progressive from the development of that movement. Then it turns toward more pure electronic space rock from there. Mellow space eventually takes the track into the next one.
Remote Viewing
Trippy electronic space is at the heart of this as it gets underway. It eventually evolves into more typical electronic sounds from there. I dig the melodic resolution further down the road. More cool instrumental prog takes it forward from there with a really classy texture. That motif takes the piece to its close, the first real break on this CD. One of the shorter pieces here, this is just over eight minutes long.
Kiew Mission
Even shorter, this one is less than seven-and-a-half minutes long. Fast paced electronic synthesizer sounds brings this into being. Some cool melodic instrumental prog takes over as it continues. It shifts gear to a completely different jam around the halfway mark. This ends with a cool keyboard flourish, and there is a break between this song and the next one.
Almost ten-and-a-half minutes long, cool keyboard textures bring this into being in a rather spacey way. It gets more of a rocking sound after that with some tasty keyboard textures in the driver's sear. There is a percussive movement that gets into some spacey jamming as this marches forward. Killer energetic electronic sound is at play as this continues.
CD Seven:
The Fassbinder Memorial Concert
June 11th, 1983
The Fassbinder Memorial Concert

The final disc is made up of one track that's about 37-minutes long. It comes in fairly mellow and builds upward gradually with a sense of mystery to it. There are some cool textures that emerge during this fairly ambient evolution. This gets into territory that has real sense of the absurd to it. There are some vocals along with a real percussive element. It works to more mainstream electronic music from there, with the vocals exiting. It drops downward, and then an almost symphonic sound starts to rise upward. The cut gradually works out to another keyboard based movement. This portion has a real sense of drama and magic. That section gives way to a somewhat mellower one. It sort of drops down to almost a false ending before keyboard sounds rise up to continue. This continues to grow and evolve from there in a decidedly classy electronic way. There are some great energetic moments along this road. Some of the melodies on this are particularly powerful, while the energy and driving concepts really help to propel it. This gets into much mellower melodic keyboard zones as it continues beyond that portion.

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