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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Quantum Gate' / 'Quantum Key' [2CD]
Artist - Tangerine Dream

If you weren't already aware, Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music band founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese.

The group has seen many personnel changes over the years, with Froese being the only continuous member until his death in January 2015.

Indeed, the best known line-up of the group was its mid-70s trio of Froese, Christopher Franke, and Peter Baumann. In the late 1970s, Johannes Schmoelling replaced Baumann.

Since Froese's death in 2015, the group has been under the leadership of Thorsten Quaeschning (Froese's chosen successor and the current longest-serving band member, having joined in 2005).

Tangerine Dream are considered a pioneering act in electronic music. Their work with the Ohr electronic music label produced albums that had a pivotal role in the development of the German musical scene known as Kosmische Musik.

Their "Virgin Years", so-called because of their association with Virgin Records, produced albums that further explored synthesizers and sequencers, including the UK top 20 albums Phaedra (1974) and Rubycon (1975).

The group also had a successful career composing film soundtracks, creating over 60 scores, which include those for the films Sorcerer, Thief, Risky Business, The Keep, Firestarter, Legend, Three O'Clock High, Near Dark, Shy People, and Miracle Mile.

From the late 1990s into the 2000s, Tangerine Dream continued to explore other styles of instrumental music and electronica. Their recorded output has been prolific, including over one hundred albums.

Among other scoring projects, they helped create the soundtrack for the video game Grand Theft Auto V. Their mid-1970s work has been profoundly influential in the development of electronic music styles such as new age and electronic dance music.

Their brand new album is entitled Quantum Gate and was released on September 29th, 2017, coinciding with the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the band.

The album is based on ideas and musical sketches by founder Edgar Froese and was completed by the remaining members of the band. Furthermore, this brand new expanded 2CD edition of Quantum Gate now includes the excellent Quantum Key EP.

CD 1 - Quantum Gate
1. 'Sensing Elements'
2. 'Roll the Seven Twice'
3. 'Granular Blankets'
4. 'It Is Time to Leave When Everyone Is Dancing'
5. 'Identity Proven Matrix'
6. 'Non-Locality Destination'
7. 'Proton Bonfire'
8. 'Tear Down the Grey Skies'
9. 'Genesis of Precious Thoughts'

CD 2 - Quantum Key
1. 'Genesis of Precious Thoughts'
2. 'Electron Bonfire'
3. 'Drowning in Universes'
4. 'Mirage of Reality'

Just to give you a little history on these Quantum's, the Quantum Key EP preceded Quantum Gate, whilst both delivered an updated, contemporary development of their trademark sound: sequencer-driven electronica covering a wide range of moods and atmospheres from ambient soundscapes to energetic, upbeat moments.

The Quantum Years material began as a concept and series of musical sketches by Froese before he passed away in 2015. Remaining band members Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss and Hoshiko Yamane worked together to realize Edgar's visions and expectations of a conceptual body of work that attempts to translate quantum physics and philosophy into music.

As for the sounds produced by Tangerine Dream for these two new CDs of music, well, it's no surprise to hear me say that they easily tie in with most all they've ever done in quality.

The style of this new music is, however, markedly different, from, say, my favorite TD album, 220 Volt Live. Now there was a definitive mix of acid-jazz and '80s synth, whereas these two new CDs feature a mix of late-1970's "computer music" and "space music", and early-2000's "deep trance", to my ear.

On what has to roughly be their one-hundred and fiftieth album overall (!), Tangerine Dream have decided not to play it safe, but to create yet more quality, and memorable work; whilst at the very same time keeping Edgar's vision alive for the future.

My two personal favorites on the albums are 'It Is Time to Leave When Everyone Is Dancing,' the only track composed solely by Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss.

From the foot-tapping opening (from Thorsten) full of buzzy sequencers rippling over a 4/4 beat, lush descending chords and an '80s bass line to kill for to the closing minutes of euphoric melodies (from Ulrich), this is an utter treat.

And the other is 'Tear Down The Grey Skies,' where a bubbling and buzzing bass sequence takes hold after a brief intro of Mellotron-like chords (think Edgar’s solo album ‘Macula Transfer’). Ulrich supplying the main melody but the chord changes are pure Edgar and then the energy builds under Hoshiko’s violin comes to the fore. Again the main theme returns for a finale coda towards the end.

2CD Purchase Link

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