The Big City

”The more susbtantial an individual’s aesthetic experience is, the sounder his taste, the sharper his moral focus, the freer—though not necessarily the happier—he is.."

The deluxe box set era has finally caught up with Tangerine Dream: available June 21 in the US (June 14 in Europe): a 16 CD/2 DVD collection, with hardcover book—remastered original albums, some stereo and 5.1 remixes, unreleased and concert recordings, plus video. What that means is things like the complete soundtrack to Oedipus Tyrannus; previously unreleased; unreleased material and outtakes(!) from Phaedra and Rubycon; a performance from German TV and a BBC broadcast. Remixes are by Steve Wilson, who has already done great work remixing Yes and King Crimson.

Here’s Wilson’s remix of “Sequent ‘C'”

This is long overdue considering both Tangerine Dream’s fan base and their importance. They weren’t the first synthesizer band, but they brought the fundamental abstraction of electronic music into the public sphere.

Their discography is vast, and for decades it was fair to consider it Edgar Froese’s band—he was the founder and only permanent member until his death in January 2015 (since then, the band has been led by Thorsten Quaschning, who joined in 2005 and is currently the longest serving member).

This set starts six years into the band’s history and represents their most consistent work, and I know I’m not alone in considering it their best. You can find excellent music throughout their decades, but nothing that sustains the level of Phaedra through Force Majeure. These records seem free-flowing but they all develop whole, organic forms, and I constantly marvel at how Froese, Christopher Franke, and Peter Baumann made this music as an ensemble.

Buying recommendations:

  • ImportCDs has the best price I’ve seen $143.39 as of this posting.
  • Amazon will get it to you faster, but they’re current price of $239 is bizarre. It may drop prior to release.
  • Amazon UK has a happy medium of about $152 as of this posting, and you’ll get it about a week earlier.

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