Music Review: Tangerine Dream – Chandra (the Phantom Ferry, Pt. 1)

Release date: 2009 Genre: electronic music Label: Documents Classics

Rating: listened to: often

Is it paradoxical to wish for a band that you enjoy not to release new stuff all the time? So that you can finally sit down and catch up with their old albums? Giving their fans a breather is clearly not on TD’s mind, for through the years they (more precisely, main man Edgar Froese) have been releasing new work in a tempo that make workaholics like Neil Young appear positively lazy. TD makes an album faster than Asimov could write a book.

Chandra, the phantom ferry is a solid addition to the TD discography. Nothing spectacular though, and you’ve heard most if it before in one form or another. This is not meant literally, TD do have a habit of repackaging their older work but this album isn’t one of those. The exception is Silence on a Crawler Lane, a variation of which has apparently appeared in Froese’s solo work.

Stylistically the album is somewhat in between Mota Atma and the late nineties album Transsiberia. It is also not unlike The Atomic Seasons series. No heavy percussion (which was very cool on Mars Polaris), no Melrose era saxophones. Thank god no singing -TD albums with vocals have been almost uniformly dreadful not in the least due to the lyrics. Just synthesizers. Bleep, bleep.

So who should listen to this? Only the really hardcore fans and suckers like me? After the first spin I was ready to dismiss the album as stale and more of the same. But then a funny thing happened, it never left my playlist. For some reason I kept on playing it as background music during my work. And I became addicted to its opening track Approaching Greenland at 7 PM and its cool follow-up the Moondog Connection. And halfway through the epic The Dance Without Dancers cemented my opinion that the album is actually pretty good. Those new to TD and somehow ending up with this particular disc as their entry point do well to first listen to the tracks I just mentioned (and of course they should realize that the sound of TD has varied radically over the many years). If they like what they hear, they can safely buy an album that will grow on them. With the possible exception of Child Lost in Wilderness which I came to find boring and vaguely annoying.

track list
1. Approaching Greenland at 7 PM
2. The Moondog Connection
3. Screaming of the Dreamless Sleeper
4. The Unknown is the Truth
5. The Dance Without Dancers
6. Child Lost in Wilderness
7. Sailor of the Lost Arch
8. Verses of a Sisong
9. Silence on a Crawler Lane

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