Album Review by Mark Bayross
Anyone who has ever laid awake at night listening to ambient electronic music of any kind, be it The Orb or, er, Orbital, knows that the blueprint was laid down by Tangerine Dream. The German group dominated the 1970s with their (at the time radical) excursions into synthesised dreamscapes, and have continued to unleash copious volumes of material up to this day, with a total disregard for fashion. They have released 15 albums in the last two years alone.
DREAM SEQUENCE spans the years the group was signed to Virgin, from 1974 to 1983, and comes across two CDs. The first disc, covering the early half of that period, begins with the glacial majesty of the Phaedra and Rubycon albums, featuring the title tracks from each. Unfortunately, the squealing electric guitar of STRAOSFEAR throws proceedings deep into prog-rock nightmare territory, and the Jean Michel Jarre-isms of CINNAMON ROAD don’t do much to salvage the situation.
However, CHORONZON does boast an Orb-like dance beat alongside space-age analogue effects, and the Cold War creepiness of KIEW MISSION, complete with female Russian vocals, and shifting patterns of the 21-minute long RICOCHET PART 2 do help TG score some points back.
Disc Two shows no real progression, but then this group has taken around 50 albums to play what has essentially been one tune. Moving on swiftly from the beard-and-sandals acoustic guitar of CLOUDBURST FLIGHT, the music veers from the quite pretty Global Communication-style ambience of FORCE MAJEURE and LOGOS (here in three parts) to the wibbly-wobbly Mike Oldfield world of BEACH SCENE.
There is a lengthy shape-shifter on this disc, too, in the form of TANGRAM PART ONE, and a live track, DOMINION, which like CHEROKEE LANE on Disc 1, is unfortunately pastoral beard-stroking at its most tedious.
Disc 2 ends in a similar fashion to the beginning of Disc 1, bringing the music full-circle, despite the progression in time. WHITE EAGLE and LOVE ON A REAL TRAIN are both very delicately relaxing and instantly forgettable.
So, a bit of a listening marathon, then, but with Tangerine Dream, you know what you are going to get. I don’t know whether the irony is lost on them, but the opening track of this magnum opus is called THE DREAM IS ALWAYS THE SAME. I guess this album saves you from shelling out for the back catalogue.