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 Post subject: TD review...ouch!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:36 pm 
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Sorry BM, it appears that not everyone loves Zeit

ZEIT *
Year Of Release: 1972

Okay, let's cut that terminological not good. This album IS ambient. It's also revolutionary and super-ambitious, a double album with but four compositions on it, and issued two years before Yes dared to repeat the basic structure. It's also almost totally unlistenable when taken as foreground music and almost totally unsettling and disturbing as background music. It gets a really low rating. But it's also supposed to get a review, I daresay. For this record (and for a rather long subsequent period), Froese and Franke were joined by Peter Baumann, who had the idea to add up some strings to the band's by now traditional synthesizer drone. The idea itself was good. Unfortunately, there were other ideas as well - one of which was the usual "pull-all-the-stops" idea that inevitably reaches every talented and untalented artsy band and makes them gruesomely overrate their talent and make themselves the laughing stock of the critics. (And Zeit was ridiculed by the critics, and this at a time when it was hard to imagine a Krautrock album getting a negative review - in Germany, at least.)

Like I said, four compositions here are strewn over four LP sides; however, unlike the compositions on Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans, these aren't so much compositions as they are just extended sonic landscapes. Froese and Co. explore Sound as a conception, and their wish to have themselves a huger canvas to do that in detail is understandable, but it doesn't make up for pleasant listening. The first track, 'Birth Of The Liquid Pleiades', has, I think, a total of three or four different notes extracted over a twenty-minute running course; there's one basic synthesizer playing one basic, simple "pattern", and at times it is joined by other, equally minimalistic noise-making gadgets in different speakers. The main idea here is that no note should last less than two or three seconds - revolutionary at the time, yes, but much bettered since then. 'Nebulous Dawn' comes next, almost bursting my speakers' bass level - this is Tangerine Dream borrowing some industrial ideas from Kraftwerk and Faust. If the dawn is indeed 'nebulous', then the 'nebula' must be a euphemism for smog: the only picture I can get in my head from listening to this are the high chimneys atop coal-burning factories. And that drip-drip-dripping sound must be radioactive waste polluting our rivers? Brr, don't ask me... If you've heard thirty seconds of it, you've heard all seventeen minutes of it. Of course, that's the point, so don't take that as a complaint. 'Origin Of Supernatural Probabilities' kinda baffles me. Are the 'supernatural probabilities' supposed to have originated from a boiling cauldron? Cause that's what those synth loops sound like. At least, the previous two tracks had a certain 'celestial' sound to them; this one sounds more hellish to me. Finally, 'Zeit' is just indescribable because it doesn't actually have a base. They're probably alternating between different synths on there, and they do return the 'celestial' atmosphere, but they do that at a loss of the foundation. Overall, that was less than a dozen lines of text for an album that goes on for almost eighty minutes. And what's the result? A feeling of loneliness and disturbance, and also a feeling of pity at having wasted more than an hour of one's precious time. (It goes without saying that Zeit does not require more than one listen - chop up each composition in ten sections and you get ten exact same songs, so one could say I'd already listened to the album ten times. Or more). A certain loony part of the population might enjoy this stuff; I vehemently protest against it. Ambient music is auxiliary music by its nature, helping one relax and creating a becalmed mood - something that, for instance, Brian Eno's Thursday Afternoon is supposed to do. Zeit is not so much a relaxative album as an explorative one - but as almost every "purely explorative" album, it had very quickly become dated. I mean, I can't really relax to these tunes. They're bass-heavy! They're unsettling! They're, in fact, ugly: 'Nebulous Dawn' buzzes along in such an annoying manner I could listen to a bunch of bus noises with equal effect. But if I can't relax to these 'tunes', am I supposed to treat them as 'serious music'? Never in my life. So what good is this album? No good at all. Together with Kraftwerk 2, it's the worst Krautrock album I've ever heard, and definitely Tangerine Dream's lowest point. Good thing they'd abandoned that direction altogether.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:44 pm 
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I agree with the reviewers view of KW2 :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:47 pm 
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Personally, I like "unsettling and disturbing." :shock: :wink:

Besides, where is it written that ambient music must be "relaxing"?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:54 pm 
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rotwang wrote:
Personally, I like "unsettling and disturbing." :shock: :wink:

Besides, where is it written that ambient music must be "relaxing"?


nobody....it's the spin he's added

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:59 pm 
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some reviewer types

1 the pretend know all, you know Im right, but Im actually hoping I become a TV personality/talking head so im just killing time writing music reviews, I hope you dont find me out [NME reviewers circa 1981]

2 the dedicated music fan, who writes objectively on all music in a fair and even handed way to allow the reader to make an informed choice

3 the controversialist waffler, writes endless diatribes/streams of consciousness on the latest music fad...changes mind frequently, always onto the next big thing


note: number two is fictional

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 7:59 pm 
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There's more going on on Zeit than in 50 hours of Steve Roach drones. Nothing against Steve Roach, I'm just saying...


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:47 pm 
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Sounds like a record I could be interested in. :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:49 pm 
Zeit is one my favourite albums for sleeping. That's in no way bad critisism.


Last edited by Pertou on Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:56 pm 
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Zeit sends me to sleep :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:02 am 
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Pertou wrote:
Zeit is one my favourite albums for sleeping. That's in no way bad critisism.


Mine too....my wife finds track 3 & 4 very creepy though. :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:50 am 
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|Z|E|I|T|


this record is the soundtrack to dreams and nightmares

I will be buried with this album along with my collection of flares and chunky knit cardigans and my cherished replica CF clogs from 1972

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:10 am 
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Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

However, this guy's is (as young people today say) 'so wrong'.

Zeit is a masterpiece - not only of the Krautrock/Ambient/Space genre, but of Music itself.

IMHO of course.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 9:27 pm 
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For someone who didn't like Ziet he certainly had a lot to say about it. :roll:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:58 pm 
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Michael66 wrote:
There's more going on on Zeit than in 50 hours of Steve Roach drones. Nothing against Steve Roach, I'm just saying...

I totally agree (but did you mean Steve Reich?).

BTW, I wonder what that reviewer thought of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music. :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:06 pm 
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Background info on the recording of Zeit from my article:

The Recording of Zeit:

Referring to Florian Fricke and the recording of the double LP Zeit Edgar had this to say "He (Florian) was born into what could be called a very wealthy family, so they gave him the money to buy a huge Moog synthesizer, one of the few instruments which did exist in those days. So we thought it might be a very good idea after producing Alpha Centauri with a little VCS3 synth, without any bigger knowledge about electronics at all. We thought okay why not get somebody into the recording session who knows about electronics, (he's) got the good instrument and maybe can co-operate very well. So he came into the studio, and it took us 2 or 3 days to get a proper tone out of it...we thought ok he can handle this stuff, and he himself he had a antique technician with him ‘usually’. But that technician got ill one day before the studio session started, so he came just by himself with this little 'gorilla' and so that over ran him and over ran us totally. ...we were not just formless, we were not interested in any sort of, I don’t want to call it ‘success’, we did not care that much about what other people would say about it and we felt quite happy having that attitude, because it gave us complete and total freedom, not thinking about money or the record company, we just did what we felt we had to do, and we got a lot of problems, one thing which we did not realise at all, was that the audience did not follow us in the way we thought they could do it, a lot of them called us ‘little winners’, I don’t know all ‘the names’, today it’s quite funny to talk about it, but years ago...it was awful, because you’ve tried to do your best, you got always a reaction like you’ve produced another package of washing powder, they did not realise you wanted to say something, you did not want just want to entertain people, we wanted to say something. Purely you wanted to give them a medicine, medicine which doesn’t hurt, which does not damage your brain, does any harm to your body whatsoever, just can be used as a pleasure, can be used as a transport through your consciousness development, that’s all, and people quite often misunderstood it and just said ‘what’s that, just noises’?" Chris Franke remembers the recording of Zeit as being about "dreams and meditation. After three years of aggressive music derived from frustration with teachers, the classical system, guitar rock, and every other political thing, we came into this new phase of exploring the finer things. Fricke's Moog on that album was the key" The actual recording session however was far from relaxed. Forever looking at the bottom-line, OHR records had only paid for TD to be in the studio for 7-10 days, with only 3 or 4 days to record 4 sides of Vinyl the pressures were beginning to show.

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