vendredi 13 décembre 2013

TANGERINE DREAM: Lost in Strings Vol. 1 (2013)

“Lost in Strings Volume 1 is a timid compilation, even if the 150 minutes are flowing rather well, where are missing a lot of strong guitars acts from Edgar Froese”

Eastgate | 063 CD (2 CD-23 tracks 149:52) ***½
(Melodic EM)

I have done the maths! Unless I made a mistake somewhere, the very respectable site Voices in the Net has listed, in 2012, more than 210 albums of the Mandarine Dream since Electronic Meditation in 1970. Of this number, about 70 are compilations, from which more than around 30 are out of the Eastgate label, and I omitted to count albums in concert as well as videos / DVD. So now, why speaking about “Lost in Strings Volume 1”? Well, believe it or not, because it distances itself by targeting solos and partitions of guitar played by Edgar Froese. It's one of the rarest compilations, which is not a box-set, which covers a great majority of Tangerine Dream's eras; from the Virgin years to the Eastgate ones. But there is more! “Lost in Strings Volume 1” presents some titles that we hear a few or that we remember hardly, showing all the depth of Tangerine Dream and confirming more than anything that we can spend whole days to listen TD's music and still be under the spell by an unique track or a dozen of them. And this, every day! But we always have something to blubber about. So let's go for the blubbering. In spite that I like to listen this compilation, I find that some essential things are missing here. I think in particular of Stratosfear, Encore, more of Force Majeure and the very poignant Song of the Whale, Part One: From Dawn among others. I would also have loved that “Lost in Strings Volume 1” digs a little more in the concerts of 76-77, as well as the 80's in particular the Underwater Sunlight tour in 86. If I remember well, there was once a bootleg of 6 CD (I do have it) related for the guitar solos during those gigs, and beyond, which was release in 2001 under the name of Guitar Works. I found this well done and very relevant. But unless I am wrong, when it is written Vol.I, there will most probably have a Vol.II. For the better or for the worse.
And it's for the best that "Cloudburst Flight" kicks things of. This is an inescapable which throws us in the late 70's. The next 5 tracks come from the albums 
Thief and The Keep. And we already jump in the 90's with "Electric Lion". The leap is gigantic because there are several forgotten albums for this period. But the compilation flows well because it offers us a less exploited side than some diverse compilations that the Silver Fox has thrown between our ears since the last years. It's thus with pleasure that my ears found again this "Electric Lion", "Three Bikes in the Sky", "Blue Bridge" and the powerful "Hamlet" (incredible, I listened to 220 Volts 2 time since, besides having viewed the video again), as well as remixed versions of "Ride on a Ray" (this one is not my fave of all TD's mixes) and "Marakesh". I didn't know "The Road to Odessa", from Orange Light Years; another compilation, of Edgar's music this time, released back in 2005. It's heavy, lively and it respects the spirit of these years which are not really part of my preferred. I rather prefer the slow rhythm and the ambiences of solitude that we find on "Talking to Maddox". Does Edgar play the talk-box on it? For those who still don't know "Sungate", let's say that it's an inescapable for those who like sentimental electronic ballads. As for me, and this even if I dislike Lily on the Beach, it's a great track with a strong vibrating guitar. I pass over "Too Hot for my Chinchilla" (Yeurk!) to rediscover the charms of Mars Polaris with "Spiral Star Date"; a good track where I have some difficulty to understand its reason on this compilation so much the guitar is as discreet as the shouts in a night shaken by gloomy winds, but it's very good. One of these days I'll talk about Mars Polaris. "The Seven Barriers" is a nice track very soft and dark with a superb guitar which lets out very poignant solos. It's a track which inhales The Endless Season's beautiful melancholic atmospheres, while "Wild Ocean of Blue Fate" offers a lighter side of this album. "Lord of the Ants" wakes us with its percussions slamming in the furrows of sequences and their lively fluttering. This is quite a vigorous track with an always so black Edgar who draws solos which seem lost in this infernal spiral of motionless sequences. "Tangines on and Running" is the musical lengthened version of The Divorce from an album that I still have all the difficulty to like; Madcaps Flaming Duty. There isn't much really special under the sun with a rhythm still flickering around sequences and pulsations without rhythmic dimension and a very dark guitar. Pulled out of the strong Finnegans Wake, "Hermaphrodite" proposes beautiful melancholic solos, just like in "The Mysterious Gift to Mankind", which caress and wrap the heavy, dark and harmonious rhythms which make the black charms of the Sonic Poem Series but which all in all make of “Lost in Strings Volume 1” a timid compilation, even if the 150 minutes flow rather well. The question is whether we attend or not to a new kind of Booster

Sylvain Lupari (December 9th, 2013)
gutsofdarkness.com & synthsequences.blogspot.ca
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream: http://www.gutsofdarkness.com/god/objet.php?objet=16572

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