Tangerine Dream – The Official Bootleg Series, Vol. 2

The second in a series of official bootlegs from Tangerine Dream, released by Esoteric – out now – review by Tim Darbyshire

This set follows the same format as ‘Volume One‘ with two complete Tangerine Dream concerts recordings of historical interest. The concerts included this time are Palais Des Congres, Paris – 6th March 1978 and the groundbreaking Palast Der Republik, East Berlin – 31st January 1980.

Unusually, the Paris recording isn’t derived from the now defunct Tangerine Tree project. This recording only surfaced in the last few years but to these ears it’s probably the best sounding recording from the 1978 Cyclone Tour.  The short lived line up to promote 1978’s controversial ‘Cyclone’ was Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, vocalist Steve Jolliffe and drummer Klaus Krieger.  After Peter Baumann’s departure in 1977,  TD briefly dallied with a vocalist resulting in the ‘Cyclone’ album.

The music on this recording is less intense than ‘Cyclone’, with themes loosely based on the album.  This set is mostly improvised with Jolliffe adding ad-lib made up vocal sounds and flute. Cd1 is especially mellow with washes of familiar mellotron choirs and strings.

Although enjoyable, the experiment with a vocalist was deemed to have run its course – the excellent accompanying essay in the booklet goes into more detail – and TD didn’t return to the stage until January 1980. As the decade ended, so did the technology. Digital sequencers and synthesizers enabled TD to structure their music more and from the 1980s onwards, all TD concerts would be mostly free of improvisation.

Augmented by new recruit former studio tech Johannes Schmoelling, Edgar Froese and Chris Franke played two concerts on the same day at the Palast Der Republik East Berlin – and in doing so became the first Western ‘rock’ band to play behind the Iron Curtain – presumably the authorities decided the lack of vocals meant no political message could be disseminated. Great quality bootlegs were abundant as the night performance was broadcast on East German radio. Official releases of parts of the show also followed – ‘Quichotte’ and ‘Pergamon’.

Taken from the pre-fm master reels, the audio included here is the best version I’ve heard. Some of the concert is clearly based on TD’s about to be released ‘Tangram’ album, but the majority is of the music especially on CD3 is unavailable elsewhere.

The clamshell box contains 4 cds, essay booklet and 2 sided poster. Hopefully there is more to come from Esoteric in this series.

td boot 2 8

td boot 2 6

td boot 2 7

 

Track Listing:

CD 1:
Palais Des Congres, Paris – 6/March/1978:
1. Paris Set One

CD 2:
Palais Des Congres, Paris – 6/March/1978:
1. Paris Set Two
2. Paris Set Three
3. Paris Set Four

CD 3: Palast Der Republik, East Berlin  31/January/1980
1. East Berlin Set One

CD 4:
Palast Der Republik, East Berlin  31/January/1980
1. East Berlin Set Two
2. East Berlin Encore

‘Staatsgrenze West’ bootleg vinyl version and Tangerine Tree CD versions:

td boot 2 5td boot 2 4

td boot 2 3

td boot 2 2td boot 2 1

 

Tangerine Dream – The Official Bootleg Series, Vol. 1

Review by Tim Darbyshire

Following the untimely death of Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese in 2015, this release harks back to the golden era of 1970s improvised electronic music

This 4 cd clamshell box set from Esoteric (Reactive) is the first in a series of official releases and captures German Electronic pioneers Tangerine Dream at their creative peak,  featuring two concert recordings made at Reims Cathedral, France in December 1974 and at the Mozarthalle, Mannheim, Germany in October 1976.

Although not officially released before, both recordings were available as part of the Tangerine Tree project. Tangerine Tree was a fan co-ordinated internet project from 2002 through 2006 that was dedicated to the collection, preservation and distribution of unreleased concerts and other Tangerine Dream audio material. This project was approved by Tangerine Dream as long as it remained a strict non-profit trading group. Reims was released as Tangerine Tree Volume 30 and Mannheim was released as Tangerine Tree Vol 13.

Esoteric claim “This official 4CD clamshell boxed set has been re-mastered from the best available sources”, I imagine that means the Tangerine Tree versions. No griping here from me though, it’s always good to have factory pressed cds ahead of less reliable cd-rs, and these do sound really good if you appreciate what they are.

Esoteric should be applauded for putting out this material, let’s face it, it’s only going to attract die-hard fans of the band. Like any band who have produced music over nearly half a century, their output is going to vary immensely. For me, the Virgin years period (1973-1983) is the best, more specifically 1974-1978. During this time, TD’s live concerts were mostly improvised leading to some very interesting and often magical results.

The Reims Cathedral gig is a legendary part of TD’s history. After the gig, the Pope banned the band from ever playing in cathedrals again due to the behaviour of the audience – but this didn’t seem to affect TD as they played York Minster, Coventry Cathedral and Liverpool Cathedral in 1975.

The music in Reims is pretty calm, less sequencer work which came to dominate the band’s sound around the mid 70s. Mannheim is more typical of the time, with the big Moog chattering away…..

The clamshell box is well built, the box contains the 4 cds in slipcases, a two-sided colour replication poster for the Reims gig (although one of the photos used is from 1976) and a booklet containing press reviews, photos and a brand new interesting essay. For example I didn’t realise TD played the first set, then Nico played hers before TD returned for their second set. One minor point – the Esoteric website blurb states ‘over 4 hours of music’, the actual running time is closer to 2 and a half.

Volume 2 in this welcome series is released January 2016, with concerts from Paris in 1978 and East Berlin 1980.

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