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 Post subject: Green Desert: Reviewed
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:56 pm 
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I'm posting several Andy G's reviews of TD albums on my blog, here's a taster:

TANGERINE DREAM: Green Desert

Now housed inside a neat slip case, this is the so-called “link” album between the early Ohr label years and the impending Virgin label years. Musically, well.......it’s the Ohr side that wins the day. Very little of this album bears any resemblance to ‘Phaedra’ so the idea that this was some kind of ‘practice run’ for that album is somewhat misguided, at best – either that, or it illustrates just how vital a factor in the making of that album was Peter Baumann, who is not present on this album. But, that said, this is fantastic stuff, ending the already excellent and ground-breaking Ohr-era albums, on a real high, as mellotron choirs, drums, electric guitar and string synth backdrops provide a genuine mix of melodic and wild to the nineteen minute title track that opens the album, the sound of the band maturing at a rate of knots ands really coming into the mass arena with intention and purpose, structure and execution. It’s one of the best early T Dream tracks around, mixing real crunching, lurching drum work with the multi-textured sound that the band made their trademark, the layers constantly shifting and changing, a deep bass as prominent as the soaring lead synths, a vital factor in the enjoyment of this band’s work, where nothing ever stays the same and interest, development and delivery are kept at a high throughout. Following this, ‘White Clouds’ mixes melody with drums, tunes with strings, synth bass with space effects and is quite a rumbling five minutes of music, more like later – much later- T Dream than what was to follow immediately after. ‘Astral Voyager’ is THE ‘Phaedra’ style track, opening with a big, fat beefy sequencer line, accompanied by lone synth strings and adding layers as it develops, dominated by the sequencer and one of those tracks that still sends shivers up your spine every time you hear it, as the melodies emerge from the shadows and the sheer atmospheric qualities are kept at a peak throughout its seven minute running time. Finally, the near seven minute ‘Indian Summer’, a piece that opens with synth stabs and the sound of the sea – electronic of course – before a mix of flute-like lead and deep bass are introduced as the somewhat relaxed track charts its course, pretty close in feel, sound and structure to a track that followed on a later album – Froese’s ‘Ages’ if I remember rightly – and simply a strong yet heavenly slice of the band in action, clearly a Froese-dominated track where composition is concerned. So, overall, an essential addition to any T Dream collection and a thoroughly consistent album from start to finish that hasn’t dated one jot.

Review written by Andy G

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 3:42 pm 
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24db wrote:
I'm posting several Andy G's reviews of TD albums on my blog, here's a taster:

TANGERINE DREAM: Green Desert

Now housed inside a neat slip case, this is the so-called “link” album between the early Ohr label years and the impending Virgin label years. Musically, well.......it’s the Ohr side that wins the day. Very little of this album bears any resemblance to ‘Phaedra’ so the idea that this was some kind of ‘practice run’ for that album is somewhat misguided, at best – either that, or it illustrates just how vital a factor in the making of that album was Peter Baumann, who is not present on this album. But, that said, this is fantastic stuff, ending the already excellent and ground-breaking Ohr-era albums, on a real high, as mellotron choirs, drums, electric guitar and string synth backdrops provide a genuine mix of melodic and wild to the nineteen minute title track that opens the album, the sound of the band maturing at a rate of knots ands really coming into the mass arena with intention and purpose, structure and execution. It’s one of the best early T Dream tracks around, mixing real crunching, lurching drum work with the multi-textured sound that the band made their trademark, the layers constantly shifting and changing, a deep bass as prominent as the soaring lead synths, a vital factor in the enjoyment of this band’s work, where nothing ever stays the same and interest, development and delivery are kept at a high throughout. Following this, ‘White Clouds’ mixes melody with drums, tunes with strings, synth bass with space effects and is quite a rumbling five minutes of music, more like later – much later- T Dream than what was to follow immediately after. ‘Astral Voyager’ is THE ‘Phaedra’ style track, opening with a big, fat beefy sequencer line, accompanied by lone synth strings and adding layers as it develops, dominated by the sequencer and one of those tracks that still sends shivers up your spine every time you hear it, as the melodies emerge from the shadows and the sheer atmospheric qualities are kept at a peak throughout its seven minute running time. Finally, the near seven minute ‘Indian Summer’, a piece that opens with synth stabs and the sound of the sea – electronic of course – before a mix of flute-like lead and deep bass are introduced as the somewhat relaxed track charts its course, pretty close in feel, sound and structure to a track that followed on a later album – Froese’s ‘Ages’ if I remember rightly – and simply a strong yet heavenly slice of the band in action, clearly a Froese-dominated track where composition is concerned. So, overall, an essential addition to any T Dream collection and a thoroughly consistent album from start to finish that hasn’t dated one jot.

Review written by Andy G


Thanks for posting them here (for those of us not able to read the blog).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 3:52 pm 
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Really excellent review of a hugely underated and largely forgotton gem.

Cheers 8)

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 3:55 pm 
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epsilon75 wrote:
Really excellent review of a hugely underated and largely forgotton gem.

Cheers 8)


no problem mate, it was interesting to read Mick's comments on this album as well

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 6:23 pm 
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An excellent review for an equally excellent album. Some wonderful sounds to be heard on the title track -- nice and mysterious and even suggestively sinister. A masterpiece.

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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 6:36 pm 
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Not my favourite TD album, I'm not a huge fan of the Pink Years (?), but that's a fair assessment by Andy G. I always enjoyed his reviews since he spent much of the review trying to describe the music and not criticising it. He describes the music far better than I ever could.


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 6:34 pm 
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I love the "Green Desert" album. The title track "Green Desert" is a masterpiece of it's own. I bought the album mostly because of this track. Excellent work! :)

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 1:50 am 
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Yeah I was amazed how good this album is. An absolute cracker. Thanks for the review.

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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:06 am 
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I agree a great album.


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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 6:49 pm 
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My old review on Green Desert

So I sent a letter to the contact address on the back of Poland. Back in the good old days before the Official Tangerine Dream Website (oh happy days). You wrote to them and 3 or 4 weeks later got a postcard of one of the pictures from the cover of ‘Poland’, signed by Edgar, Chris and Johannes. Lovely. Now on the back was a discography and in it were two albums I didn’t have: ‘Green Desert’ and ‘Codename: the Soldier’. Cue a mad panic to find them. I gave up on ‘Soldier’ but ‘Green Desert’ was a different proposition, you could get it but only as a part of the ‘In the Beginning’ box set on Jive Electro (they were the current record label that thought they could make some bunce from the early stuff - brave fools) and I wasn’t going to pay £35 for copies of albums I already had in newly designed grotty covers just to get one 'new' LP. Nor would I get the CD version because I didn’t have a player as I was going through my luddite phase. So in 1984, I put an advert in ‘Electronics & Music Maker’ under the cover of trying to make contact with other TD fans but ostensibly to get a copy of ‘Green Desert’ on tape (backed with, ooooh, I dunno, maybe ‘Ultima Thule’ sneaky eh?)

Next month the advert appeared I only got one response. Some stoned guy who kept me on the phone for hours (at my expense) telling me about Carlos Castaneda’s influence on ‘White Eagle’, Nik Turner’s Sphinx album and all about Paul Horn playing flute in the pyramids and after all that he STILL NEVER SENT THE BLOODY TAPE.

If you were or know my mystery caller – relax, I’ve got a copy now.

So I gave up - it was fast approaching the time my TD collecting tailed off for a while (onto Schulze, Floyd, Sky records, Neu! and Kraftwerk). So I didn’t bust a gut trying to get a copy which was a pity really as Relativity finally pressed a vinyl version that you could get as an import with (another different) nasty cover.

I had to wait until I got to University and bought a CD player before I got a copy. It cost £7.99 from Parrot Records, Canterbury. was it worth the wait? was it worth being my second (‘Livemiles’ has the honour of being the first) TD CD? I bet the suspense is killing you. And if it's not, tough. Here's the review.

The ‘Green Pyramid’ cover was and still nasty (ugh – just like the other Jive reissues) as is the new ‘balloon’ one although the one saving grace of the Jive CD is a rare pic of the band inside. I suppose it’s too much for someone to come up with a cover that at least looks 1973. A similar hatchet job was done with the ‘LiveMiles’ cover too. Why?

Well, let’s start by putting my balls (or is it cards) on the table. ‘Green Desert’ is not the first thing I think of when I need a fix of TD. Nor is it the second. It’s not that it’s an unpleasant listen, far from it, but it doesn’t engage like it’s illustrious forebears. It’s also the first one that IMHO sounds ‘synthesisery’ and less organic but suffers from the fact that it was recorded by the Franke / Froese duo who due to limitations of recording, really needed the India–bound Baumann there to flesh the sound out.

The title track, even with the overdubs from 1986, is very sparse. Effectively a synth / percussion / guitar piece it ambles along for 17 minutes and then stops. The overdubs being courtesy of Edgar’s favourite digital synths of the 80s period stop the recording from sounding organic and I wonder why they were added anyway. was ‘Green Desert’ incomplete when it went in the can on Peter Baumann’s return from India and the Virgin deal was on? Are the overdubs there to finish it off as it should have been (albeit with newer instruments) or are they added for the same reason Disk One of ‘The Dream Roots Collection’ or the whole of ‘Beyond the Storm’ contain bastardised versions. That is, that they needed ‘enhancing with new textures’. Grrr! Edgar, if you’re reading this, LEAVE THE ORIGINALS ALONE – THEY ARE ALREADY BRILLIANT. Jerome, if you’re reading this, tell Dad to knock it off. Linda Spa, if you’re reading this, can I have your phone number? Gordon McKenzie, if you’re reading this can I have my copy of New Order's ‘LowLife’ back?

Bad experience number 1. Reading Moorcock’s ‘The Black Corridor’ and turning up the weirdness by listening to ‘Green Desert’. Couldn’t sleep that night at all with visions of dead people dancing outside the bedroom window. Not good.

CDs. Brilliant. No need to turn it over. ‘Indian Summer’, very nice tune which is a little bit ‘tribal’ sounding. An aside - Final Fantasy 7 on the Playstation has a scene when you go to a village and the tune that plays in the background bears a close resemblance to this (if it isn’t the same tune). Then comes ‘Astral Voyager’ which is getting close to ‘Virgin Years’ territory but a little less rich tonally than that which followed; a very simple sequence plays, which is surprising when you consider how complex Chris Franke reckoned the PRX Rhythm Controller was (a huge matrix of switches and blinking lights, I believe). The final track ‘White Clouds’ with its string synth chords finish the album off in a very laid-back manner and is the nicest thing on there and probably the least tinkered with.

A low-key album then, different from anything else and definitely different following the crash back to earth after ‘Atem’. Thinking about it, it’s more stylistically similar to an Edgar Froese solo album than a TD one but then it would – he spent more time shaping it than Chris did. It’s understandable that its minimal style was shelved by the band in favour of lusher soundscapes made in a better studio, with more expensive equipment and on a new label. Not an essential purchase but not one to avoid either. So was it worth it? (I can tell you’re still on tenterhooks about that). Yes of course it was, just to hear the ‘missing link’ between ‘Atem’ and ‘Phaedra’."

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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Now that's a great review with that personal history included. I must say, I think it's one of TD's best albums. I love the simplicity, and think the overdubs were crucial ingredients in the production.

I am currently playing the album, it's a great album for warm summer days. :)


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