Tangerine Dream: From Sketches & Notes, A Final Hurrah
20th December 2016
Title: Quantum Key
Label: Invisible Hands Music
An intriguing one this because it is the first material released by the band since the sad passing of founder member Edgar Froese. Recorded in Berlin, this music was created using the – as the press release puts it – “final musical sketches” that Froese left behind. The rest of the band that implemented the Froese music include Ulrich Schnauss on keyboards, Hoshiko Yamane on violin and cello and Thorsten Quaeschning on keyboard and guitar.
The album presents four tracks: Genesis of Precious Thoughts, Electron Bonfire, Drowning in Universes and Mirage of Reality and in amongst the music are a range of familiar sonic signatures that most TD fans will find familiar. Whether they be synth-based rhythmic constructions or percussive beats. On that side of affairs, this album is warmly familiar and quite comforting. There is no boundary breaking, nothing shocking, no final left turn to dazzle from the grave. Edgar wanted to cross ’t’s and dot ‘i’s, it seems and he has done so with his usual flare. It’s almost as if he has added a sort of sonic signature to his large body of accumulated work.
But is it any good? Oh yes, indeed it is. Nicely mastered, it may flow very easily but there’s also plenty of (subtle) ideas on offer here from percussive patterns and rhythmic interplay and that maintains the interest. Time goes pretty quickly while listening to this LP.
Once it’s finished, though, you can’t help but muse. Is this the end of the group, Tangerine Dream? The last thoughts from their leader serving as a living memory? Apparently not, there is more to come it seems and with the blessing of Froese’s widow, Bianca Acquaye. Although, it seems, not his son and ex-member of the band Jerome. I’ll be intrigued to see where the music is taken from this point. Whatever direction that is, it could be argued that Tangerine Dream is no longer a band, more a brand.