lundi 26 mai 2014

TANGERINE DREAM: Melrose (1990)

“Melrose is not that bad, possibly the best of the worst out of TD's American charm tour... But hey! I just forgot 220 Volts here”
1 Melrose 5:44
2 Three Bikes in the Sky 5:58
3 Dolls in the Shadow 5:10
4 Yucatan 5:16
5 Electric Lion 8:13
6 Rolling Down Cahuenga 6:43
7 Art of Vision 5:30
8 Desert Train 10:17
9 Cool at Heart 6:09

Private CD | 2078-2-P (CD 59:00) ***
(Pinky synth pop and soft e-rock)
It's with “Melrose” that Jerome Froese joins his old man to be so a member of Tangerine Dream. On the ricochet, it will also be the last album of the short association Froese/Haslinger. The latter wants to continue his career on the American West coast. The history shows that each new album of the Dream on Private Music opens a new direction towards a more oriented rock structure. It's somewhat as if TD was looking for itself in this new commercial virage. Like if Edgar was constantly looking for the miracle solution to make a lot of cash. And one has to admit that with “Melrose” this goal was nearly reached, as a lot of its music was aired on various radio shows and on MTV. It's doubtless the most ear-catching, the wildest and the most convincing album of the new Dream in its gigantesque appetite for money in the US soil. And the global result of this album belongs to the fan who has to exorcise his previous devils and understand that the Dream, era Franke, Froese and Baumann or Schmoelling is something which belongs to the past now and will never return. According to this base we can then admit that “Melrose” is the best of the worst with 9 tracks of an average 7 minutes time which are clearly more inspired than on Lily on the Beach.
The title-track is a very FM melody style with an ethereal opening where soft chords dance in dreaming on a gentle pattern of bongo percussions of which the inanimate strikings float in the pads of a synth soaked by astral mist. Rocking between its delicate harmonious envelope and its light rhythms, "Melrose" escapes with a fierce rhythm which is stupidly sprayed by Hubert Waldner's saxophone. The usual fans still don't it but bongo drums, saxophone and cold choruses without souls were going to become the angular stones of Edgar's new sense of writing and the purpose was to resolutely charm a new generation of fans. Elements that will never attract me, because I prefer a thousand times synths with symphonic and audacious sonic elements which are much richer than a sax and this, whatever who is playing it. A sax belongs to jazzy, moody music. Not synth pop or e-rock music. Those are my humble feelings. "Melrose" is a pure FM track which became the first video of
Tangerine Dream that I saw at Much Music, the Canadian version of MTV. "Three Bikes in the Sky" tempers a little my disappointment with a nice beautiful melody built on a bed of very dramatic emotions which shelters beautiful guitar solos. It's hyper melodious and Edgar rages with his guitar. Nervous sequences which are champing at the bit in winds of dismays, the structure of "Dolls in the Shadow" is rather interesting, except in what regarding a pattern of sequences which drum weakly some dry skins while that some electronic percussions plough another rhythmic direction. The approach would have been more interesting if these sequences had not the skins of bongo drum percussions. This is good but it sounds so much like Yanni. In fact “Melrose” is built on the ease. On false percussions which slam without spirit, easy melodic samplings here and there, very timid synths, too many tribal sequences patterns, sober orchestrations and cold professional studio work, “Melrose” seems to have forgot its emotions at the cloakroom of imagination. Each track let hear an inconsistent journey on structures which search to catch the hearing fast and easy for a brief moment of glory on FM. And it works. There are easy catchy passages, as on this "Dolls in the Shadow" and "Yucatán" with an empty tribal rhythm and inanimate bass lines. On the other hand I liked "Electric Lion" and its wild change of directions, as well as "Desert Train" and its indomitable structure which reminds that Edgar still has some juice in him. Quite at the opposite "Rolling Down Cahuenga" and "Art Vision" suffer from the same deficiency of the redundant rhythms and easy melodies in search of glorious glimpse of feats in order to charm MTV and all. But I got to say that I liked the 2nd part "Art Vision" which walks on the steps of Cat Scan. "Cool at Heart"? A rather melancholic track with a soft nostalgia painted on piano. Paul Haslinger's last memory?
Once again, I was very severe towards a work of
Tangerine Dream on Peter Baumann's Private Music label. At that time I hoped always and always a return to basics from Edgar. With hindsight, I learnt to listen again to these works of which the only source of motivation was the conquest of the West American Coast and the easy money. This vision turns out to be a failure even if 220 Volts turns out to be the wildest e-rock anthem. At the end, “Melrose” is not that bad. It has some very acceptable tracks on it, vestiges of a great band which could easily find back its means. It's nice, simple-minded and very catchy. In the same way as the first 2 albums from Yanni on Private Music which are clearly more inspired. But we speak of Tangerine Dream here! A beautiful album without soul, except for "Three Bikes in the Sky", which encloses the 20th century in a rather disappointing way.
Sylvain Lupari (March 2007 and translated on May 24th, 2014) &
Cette chronique est également disponible en Français sur le site de Guts of Darkness, dont je suis chroniqueur sous le nom de Phaedream:

1 commentaire:

  1. For me, this was the last album the group salvageable and after that I stopped listening. It is a pity they have changed so much and become more commercial (which apparently was the goal of Froese). I prefer to stay with the memory of his classic albums.


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