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Tangerine Dream - Zeit CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream


Progressive Electronic

3.68 | 344 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Completely unmelodic, slow moving, tedious, mundane, uneventful, repetitive, brooding, uncompromising, inaccessible, and totally alien. Almost any of these descriptions fit the monolithic work that is `Zeit', Tangerine Dream's classic third album. A work of sprawling emptiness and desolation, this instrumental double album is comprised of four side-long pieces of ambient space music that gradually unwinds and consumes the listener. It's a highly controversial release that you will never hear the same way twice, and a very demanding undertaking to listen to in one sitting.

`Birth Of Liquid Plejades' opens with unearthly and gothic cellos and minimalist low-key Rick Wright-styled somber organ that oppresses the listener. The ghostly atmosphere and sense of isolation intensifies with quirky electronic blips and alien textures, before more forceful organ starts to dominate alongside groaning howling winds that sound like souls in torment.

`Nebulous Dawn' has waves of pulsing electronics like an other-worldly heartbeat, with harsh and shuffling electrical static sounding like a predatory presence scratching at your door trying to get in. After deep cutting cello note attacks, we're transported to a bubbling ocean world, feeling like we're being immersed in an alien floatation device. The ebb and flow of the final minutes has several briefly violent and spasmodic outbursts that are highly unsettling.

A thick humming washes in and out under a very slowly strummed electric guitar, creating a sad and reflective mood for `Origin of Supernatural Probability', a sinister droning piece. Numbing glissando and a wild warping rumbling alien heartbeat pulse through a mist of cold electronics, jagged white-noise, shimmering synths and beckoning hissing voices. Very unpleasant and hypnotic.

The title track `Zeit' is full of dark and harsh textures, moaning deep-space beckoning set adrift amongst floating whispery synth lines. Moments of near-silence, ghostly wails, machine like buzz and chittering devilish voices. Much of the second half drifts towards a more gentle atmosphere, with the danger and threat mostly behind us, but still not knowing where we are, and occasionally looking back over our shoulder.

The bonus live disc that comes with the Esoteric reissue is so good that it could stand as a separate release and still be an essential purchase. A slowly evolving and deeply fascinating two part 78 minute piece, `Klangworld' is a smoky live `Ummagumma' Pink Floyd-like pulsating piece, a blur of swirling howling winds, haunted organ, humming electronics, ghostly chanted cries with occasional gentle electric guitar thrums and wild loopy effects. It's a slightly warmer and more accessible work than the cold mistress `Zeit', but is just as intense and memorable.

Many listeners will find the album dull and boring, completely devoid of anything resembling even the slightest trace of actual music, and I can understand those reactions. It works instead as a deeply ambient soundtrack, the true definition of space music. If you've never heard Tangerine Dream before, probably best to stay right away from this to begin with. Wait until you've heard other more approachable albums like `Phaedra' or `Ricochet' before attempting this highly divisive album.

`Zeit' is probably one of the unhappiest and darkest albums I've ever heard, yet there's still something oddly enveloping and gripping about the music, as it takes hold of you with it's icy fingers and refuses to let go.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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