jeudi 8 septembre 2011

TANGERINE DREAM: Force Majeure (1979)

After the critical and commercial failure of Cyclone and Steve Joliffe's departure, the Froese and Franke duet withdraws in Berlin and composes a wonderful album where synthesizers and electronic music equipments are astride more conventional instruments, such as guitars and drum to create the perfect album. By means of Klaus Kruger on drums and Edgar Meyer on cello, Tangerine Dream delivers an album which marvellously merges  electronic and progressive music into surrealist ambiances and which didn’t aged.
The beginning of the title track is phantasmagorical on a very atmospheric background. Eclectic tones and a drunken mellotron revolve in suspension around a somber cello which gnaws its strings with a melancholic slowness. This abstract movement guides us towards the pulsations of a bass from which notes spawn around a hesitating piano and "Force Majeure" takes its flight. The guitar of Froese throws notes and solos on a psychedelic rhythm where synth and mellotron draw a symphonic musical universe. "Force Majeure" is a jewel of the 70’s psychedelico-prog-electronic era. It’s a track which allie the rhythms and atmospheres subdivided into several small segments and watered with nice and melodious solos, and\or synth passages which are by moments enchanting in an ambiance boosted by the psychedelic deviations of this period. By moments the rhythms are violent and stormy while the ambiances are spectral and puzzling, but "Force Majeure" is always filled with great melodies which are outlined under several forms and which appear there where we expect it least. As for me, it’s the most complete piece of this psychedelico-prog-electronic era of the Dream. And this passage (12th minute) when subdivided chords dance and are reflected such as a mephistophelic musical mirror to fall in the den of a synth to mesmerizing melody is simply superb.
More melodious, "Cloudburst Flight" starts with a nice acoustic guitar which frees its notes near a sequence to increasing pulsations. Guitar riffs awaken this soft intro and a synth goes of beautiful harmonious breezes on a more accentuated rhythm. Slowly the rhythm evolves and embraces a more symphonic phase where synth solos twirl around and criss-cross over a rhythm supported by a good sequential movement. Guitar and synth solos become entangled with an explosive violence on a frenzied rhythm. A rhythm which calms down with more suave synth solos, whistling above a rhythmic that is out of breath, sustained by sober percussions and a delicate undulate sequential movement. A solitary piano misleads its notes in a synth mist and "Thru Metamorphic Rocks" plunges into the meanders of a psychedelico-prog-electronic rock. Under wonderful orchestral arrangements, symphonic percussions roll with so much agility that a wind swirling in full tornado, while the guitar of Froese waters this atmospheric fair of furious and powerful solos which evaporate in a whirlwind of metallic sequences. Sequences which collide with fury in a cotton mist and a surrealist echo where unfolds a panoply of eclectic tones and surrealist voices. Another sequential movement is drawing. It pulses with nervousness around another sequence to heavy pulsing chords and synth solos coming from nowhere. "Thru Metamorphic Rocks" becomes the theatre of a strange tempestuous passage where sequential lines, resonant pulsations, percussions and hatched synth pads criss-cross in a metallic madness filled with distressing voices, spectral howling and lamentations of all kinds. It’s a sound storm as brilliant as indescribable which leaves with the same peace of mind that had brought it.
Force Majeure is a wonderful album. One of the best of TD and the 70’s, it was also one of TD’s biggest selling albums and even made the England Top 30. All along, we hear small passages and musical lines that are familiar to us so much it played everywhere. This brilliant opus shows the capacities of Froese and Franke to play both with atmospheres and rhythms. The German duet is ready to innovate and to mark the turning point of the 80’s. It’s the kick off of a creative and splendorous period that will reach its peak with the arrival Johannes Schmoelling and the incredible musical epic that will get out of it. Force Majeure is a must for fans of prog, psychedelic and electronic music. It’s what we call a key album and an inescapable. Simply brilliant!

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

Here are some YouTube links to watch videos of this great album:
Force Majeure:
Thru Metamorphic Rocks:
Cloudburst Flight:

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