The third release of five albums, Autumn in Hiroshima, stands to be perhaps the 4th best in my opinion, the first being the masterfully composed Springtime in Nagasaki, and the second being the amazing 'The Endless Season,' the finale. It is hard to choose between Autumn or Winter in Hiroshima as the better album, but to me Autumn seems to have a certain kind of staying power. Summer In Nagasaki is the 3rd best (if you were waiting for that revelation!). Autumn is definately a 'grower album,' meaning you might not get it or neccessarily like it at first, but then one day you find yourself humming the entire album while cycling in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Though the opening track Trauma, like its name, starts the album off with its heaviness, its almost regal theme beautiful and brooding, for the most part the rest of record is meditative.
Unlike the dramatic opener and closer of the series, Autumn is very calm and is the perfect soundtrack to the story taking place where at this point, the worst has happened to Japan, but a sense of peace and acceptance is somehow achieved despite it by the main character, via his encountering true spiritual wisdom. The album in my opinion succeeds in framing that sense of that peace, the victory of transcendence in the midst of suffering. In this way the album is really beautiful.
As stated in the other reviews, each track is a theme yeilding to the next. The album is not catchy, neither is it vapid, nor random 'noodling,' as Tangerine Dreams music can carelessly be described as being. In fact there are strong themes throughout Autumn. An example is of 'Fathom' which speaks strongly to Edgar Froeses classical background, and is reminiscent of work done in the Divine Comedy albums last decade. 'Mellow Submersion' which is very bright and open, never fails to relax the mind, and 'Answeres,' which offers a strong build up to the point were Edgar Froese plays a fluid psychedelic guitar line in the middle and end sections, seems an attempt to blend the new Tangerine Dream with the old circa Electronic Meditation (I know that will be a stretch for the die hards).
Stand out tracks are also 'Insight,' in which Bernard Beible plays an incredible, well crafted guitar solo over a tightly put-together composition, and 'Omniscience,' which has some hypnotic sequencing (and may go along on the same track for a little bit too long, but is never-the-less satisfying) leading us to the end of the album to what others might consider the question mark of a final piece, 'Nothing and All,' which of course will be answered by 'Transition,' the opener for the next album (Winter in Hiroshima).
There are many subtleties to this entire series, many of which have me in awe of how ambitious a project it was.