mardi 17 mai 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Cyclone (1978)

What is pleasant to write a review of Cyclone now, it’s that we have the opportunity to write it several years later. The head a bit clearer some 28 years later when we understood that it was only a minor setback. I can easily imagine the surprise (not such a good one) and the response it got at its released. WoW! And for a very good reason! After the departure of Baumann, Tangerine Dream had to calm the fans and press anxieties. So they decided to take a more progressive turn, with voice and a real drum. By this, Edgar Froese and Chris Franke thought of widening the public of Tangerine Dream. Woe are they, they rather triggered a wave of shock and panic that would leave a taste of vinegar to the stoic German duet. Nevertheless, except the voices and abominable Rising Runner Missed By Endless Sender which is a big electronic rock pounded by a hyper nervous sequential movement, Cyclone is an excellent opus, as much as a technical point of view as musical.  Bent Cold Sidewalk starts with an intro which uses a vocoder. Hardly the last breath of the vocoder dead, a big rhythm section falls with percussions, keyboards in bass mode and Joliffe voice. Phew! What an opening but also what a shock! Then there I just couldn’t stop imagining the heads of the 78’s fans when they first heard it. But in reality Bent Cold Sidewalk is a strong and a long track as it was the use and made by thousands at this era with lot of avant-gardism and heaviness. The rhythm is weighty and is builds by a superb electronic percussions play whereas symphonic synths shape beautiful musical harmonies which intervene as refrains between the singings of Joliffe. A little as Yes did at that time except that Joliffe hadn’t the aptitude of Jon Anderson to transpose all this rhythm section and structures. The rhythm breaks suddenly to embrace a more space out section. We attend to nice moments where the flute of Joliffe crosses swords with suave mellotron of Froese. A splendid synth solos emerges, supported by a fine hypnotic pulsation and agile cymbals. It is a delicious musical movement where the magic of Tangerine Dream can be heard in musical territories as progressive (I’m thinking of Genesis) as electronic.
Madrigal Meridian begins as good old atmospheric Tangerine Dream. A haughtiness intro filled of metallic ambiances where sparkles a rivulet of chords to weakened echo on a pounding of pads coming from a caustic keyboard. The rhythm emerges, waving and flowing on good percussions, symphonic synth layers and juicy chords which sound the charge of a wild tempo and leaving all the room to the contagious energy of boosted synths as well as rhythms and sequential finds of Franke. Madrigal Meridian becomes an uncontrollable symphony where the undulating and hypnotic rhythm is encircled by bedazzled percussions, a synth to fleeting solos and frenzied chords which flutter over a persistent rhythmic. It’s a superb track which allies Froese neuroticism, as much on synths as on guitars (a superb solo by the way), to Franke’s feats on the cyclic rhythms of sequencer and percussions as well as Joliffe’s violin. All of this frenzy rhythmic gets moderate and ends in the madrigalic heat of an ethereal harpsichord which accompany Steve Joliffe’s last breaths of violin. What a great track! But how many did get to it? According to what I hear, there must have not been a lot. But Madrigal Meridian is worth the effort to listen the good and correct track; Bent Cold Sidewalk.
If we consider that Madrigal Meridian exceeds the half of Cyclone, we have to admit that it’s far from being that bad. Obviously that after Stratosfear and Encore the shock of a possible change of musical orientation can have frightened the ears of fans from the Baumann, Franke and Froese era but Cyclone closed definitively this period) and was the transition between the Schmoelling years. But try to give another chance to Cyclone and you will see that, except for Rising Runner Missed By Endless Sender, it’s far from being that bad. And if the vocals exasperate you that much, skip that part and go directly to Madrigal Meridian. It’s an underestimated work which is also solid as what the Dream used to create at that time.

Sylvain Lupari (2006)
Cet article est disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream

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