19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets better the more effort is put in...
Time was that I eagerly awaited every TD release and bought it "blind". This one caused me some concern at the time. It's a very short album for one thing (or seems to be). The best tracks are the first and last ones for me - the others at the time were found OK, but didn't hold my interest. Bearing in mind thirty years have passed, I thought I'd give it another go...
Published on 20 July 2006 by DSR
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars i didnt like this one tad
ive heard some great offerings from the dream but this is not one of them,its dated and doesnt seem to flow or do anything for me personally. some cheesy effects on the synths dont help and its just for me.......plain awful and a waste of money. the cover looked great and i thought wow some good trippy spacey music but its as far from that as you can get.........this is...
Published 5 months ago by bryan brown
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets better the more effort is put in...,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)Time was that I eagerly awaited every TD release and bought it "blind". This one caused me some concern at the time. It's a very short album for one thing (or seems to be). The best tracks are the first and last ones for me - the others at the time were found OK, but didn't hold my interest. Bearing in mind thirty years have passed, I thought I'd give it another go... Yep, it took over thirty years for this one to "grow" on me, but I now appreciate its beauty...!
Listening again, this CD at first sounds like TD consolidating their earlier repertoir and effects into one album. Another thing to strike you is how much more conventionally melodic the music is than on their previous albums. Something else that only occured to me very recently is how sparse the mixes are and how there seems little in the way of "treatments" to the instruments compared to earlier albums. I only learned very recently of the difficulties the band had recording this and I'm sure that this had an effect on the finished product.
The recording as a whole seems very quiet and almost small scale for some reason, which is another reason it takes so long to get into in my opinion.
Put plenty of effort in though and you'll find a real gem of an album. The first track is immediately accessible, which is one reason I never cared for it overmuch... The other tracks grew slowly on me as the years passed. I've loved "Invisible Limits", when things really kick off. The sequencers even blend and fade as in Rubicon Pt 2. The ending though seems flat to me (perhaps this wasn't the originally intended mix for this track, as there's an alternative version I've heard that is much "busier")...
As for the production and remastering, I'm glad nothing severe has been done to the masters on this occasion. Removed tape hiss has to be replaced with something, otherwise it sounds horrible, as most CD versions of the first Shadows LP from 1961 testify. The fact that most of the tracks are fairly quiet and sparsely mixed probably makes things worse, but It's better to leave fairly well alone I think.
A real curates egg this CD. Many "newer" fans love it to pieces and I'm finding more to appreciate here as time goes on. Give it a go, you may love it from the outset...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out Of This World!!!,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)What a great album this is. After the moody, atmospheric soundscapes they had made in their early days, Tangerine Dream had tapped into accessibility a little bit with their 'Ricochet' platter. With 'Stratosfear', the band had released a record that at times keeps to the tried and tested formulas of mellotrons and sequencers etc, but the difference between this album and others is that there is so much more to offer musically. The group play like a band and introduce acoustic and electric guitars as well as plenty of percussion. There are also so much more melodies and genuinely memorable tunes.
The title track is a swashbuckling piece with a memorable theme, and still stands the test of time as one of Tangerine Dream's most enduring and popular tunes.
'Big Sleep In search Of Hades' has an unusual blend of heavenly melody and spooky, horror movie atmosphere.
'3am At The Border Marsh Of Okefenokee' has that Arizona road movie feel with lots of underlying menace.
'Invisible Limits' completes the album in traditional Tangerine Dream style.
Listening to 'Stratosfear', it becomes increasingly obvious why the band would become hugely successful in creating movie soundtracks. I can't think of many other bands who can create such brooding and creepy atmospheres as well as Tangerine Dream. There are moments on this album when you almost feel compelled to look over your shoulder, or hide behind the sofa.
'Stratosfear' is a joy to listen to and ranks among their finest ever studio efforts. The impact that Tangerine Dream made both musically and culturally is still being felt today, and although there have been many imitators, Tangerine Dream were very much pioneers of this kind of music, and their legacy will never be equalled.
'Stratosfear' is testament to that. A fine, fine album that fans of both electronica, prog, krautrock and instrumental music in general will fall in love with. Wonderful stuff.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Massive Waves of Atmospheric Floating Chords,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)The four tracks on TD's 1976 album range from four to eleven minutes in length. The best is the title track with its Pink Floyd opening before the sequencer commences.
For once there is a track that is well-titled: `The Big Sleep in Search of Hades' is indeed like a troublesome dream sandwiched between meandering flute and harpsichord pastorales that reminded me of the Moody Blues.
Another well-titled piece, `3am at the Border of the Marsh from Okefenokee', follows. The sound of the marsh at night is evoked by harmonica and the drip-drip of water. Then massive waves of atmospheric floating chords take us on a nocturnal journey into and over the waters.
The final piece, `Invisible Limits', has a beautiful opening on flute that progresses to the single toll of a bell. A string of guitar solos then appears amongst the sequencers, but the track - and the album - ends, alas, innocuously.
So, quite a good album from TD's early years. I note that the meandering and undulating flute is uncredited. (I cannot believe that the technology of the time could reproduce it so perfectly by electronic methods.)
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some great tunes; shame about the CD,
By A Customer
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)In the 1970s, each new Tangerine Dream album seemed destined to redefine the band anew. Their fourth album for Virgin, "Stratosfear", was no exception. Released in 1976, this album saw the band departing from their previous explorative and improvisatory style, moving instead towards a style more readily associated with the world of pop music. In short, the album proved once and for all to those doubting souls that the band members were perfectly capable of writing a catchy tune if they wanted to! For there is absolutely no shortage of tunes on this disc, all of them highly memorable, from the brash and aggressive synthesiser lead of the title track, right through to the closing lilting mellotron line of 'Invisible Limits'.
The general sound world is rather different from earlier Tangerine Dream albums too: something that is obvious from the very opening, with its gentle guitar introduction. For although the earlier hallmark swept filter treatments are still very much in evidence throughout the disc, this album uses many more synthesiser voices that are imitative of traditional instruments (albeit usually with a new twist) than can be found on earlier TD albums. Whereas previously the extension of the sound world into new and previously unexplored realms was the main aim, here the band is clearly more concerned with the traditional musical elements of harmony and counterpoint-as well as with a somewhat punchier presentation.
Not that there is anything the slightest bit traditional about the music on this disc, mind. All four tracks here are routed firmly in the world of 1970's synthesiser music. They are all good strong compositions with a nice amount of variety of pace, mood and style. Some are pure pop or rock, while others have a more classical feel-like 'Big Sleep in Search of Hades', with its minuet-and-trio-type construction and a lilting mellotron tune played over a harpsichord ground.
'3am at the Border of the Marsh from Okefenokee'-with its gentle opening, rising to a searing peak before a soft tune and a gentle sequencer pulse are allowed to take over-is one of the most beautiful ballads the band has ever written. This track also has a prominent mellotron presence, as well as some lovely, synthesised harmonica and a goodly spread of gorgeous electronic textures.
'Invisible Limits' is the disc's longest track, clocking in at nearly 11 and a half minutes. This is another gentle, tuneful song, featuring massed synthesised strings, gently tapping and babbling sequencer pulses and some lilting guitar and synthesiser lines-as well as lots of changes of pace and mood. Whilst the overall feel is very New Age ambient, the final three minutes are pure contemporary experimental-revelling in lots of prominent echo and reverb effects. A very neo-Classical piano line emerges from this section, to be joined by a mellotron line for a very sweet duet, which sings the disc to a close.
For many, though, the most memorably track on this disc is its first: 'Stratosfear' itself. With a tune and a beat that both drill their way deep into your brain, from which there is no extricating them, this track will be with you long after the CD has finished playing! As, indeed, will much of the rest of the album.
In common with all of the other TD releases for Virgin, this disc was recently subjected to a new digital remastering. Unlike most of the other releases, this has not actually done very much, here, to improve on the original. The sound remains a little muddy and also very quiet in places. No real increase in dynamic range is noticed until halfway through the final track-where it then comes as something of a shock! Another criticism I would level at the disc is that the inter-track gaps, at just 2 seconds each, are way too short. It's not as if space on the disc is tight, even, with the whole thing being barely 34 minutes long in total. Which brings me to my final grumble: OK, so the original disc was only this long too, but surely, Virgin, the time has come to start doubling up some of these older releases onto one CD? As they stand, these early TD releases are not exactly the best value in the world!
In conclusion, then, while the music here is all consistently excellent, I feel it is necessary to dock one star from the overall rating, because the disc's short duration and the rather less-than-perfect production standard. Pity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars invisible limits of mysterious beauty,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)Invisible Limits epitomizes the beauty one can find within the music of Tangerine Dream if he is willing to engage his inner space and...give it time. Especially now in the 21st Century this music may at first appear both futuristic and already dated, but after a while you will notice the purity of this electronic expression and the peacefulness of your destination. Invisible Limits, the final chapter of this album , to me personally frankly might be the most amazing 11 minutes of cosmic rock music I know (perhaps next to Klaus Schulze's Floating somewhere between 10th and 21st minute). There is some intense melodic beauty in other compositions of Tangerine Dream like in Ride On The Ray, for instance, but the magic of Invisible Limits approaches me in its mysterious way. This is the song you can safely play on repeat 1 for a couple of days and get a lot out of such experience. Substance-wise there is more going on here within these 11 mega minutes than there often is on many 80 minutes of cd space.
I can understand that someone might not care that much about beginning this album title piece Stratosfear itself but to say that TD's greatness ended prior to the release of this album, is to have skipped over Invisible Limits. And you can easily skip it over if you don't listen to it carefully at least a few times, so you can really get there.
To me personally the musical development of Tangerine Dream since their ambient experimental beginnings of Alpha Centauri in 1971 lasted until the 1986 release of Underwater Sunlight because their music had come its entire course only by then, from the colorless sound risen out of noise to the full melodic expression of easily approachable undeniable beauty for all. The concept of artistic destiny is often quite different for ambient electronic musicians beginning their careers at the stillness of sound, from the much more mainstream situation of artists like David Sylvian or Mark Hollis and many others who progress into silence. And when the destiny of Tangerine Dream was fulfilled completely in 1986, sure, it would have been great if Edgar Froese was able to turn his spaceship back at that time and position it somewhere between Rubycon and Stratosfear, or Rubycon and Force Majeure, and circle around that space for a few years, showering us with more gold. The ship went forward with Hollywood as its main destination and the crews kept on changing.
My personal favorite albums of Tangerine Dream really depend on what mood I want to be in. Sometimes the need for 11 minutes of personal magic could make me reach for the Stratosphere, at other times Pheadra or Rubycon could have delivered the most proper ambient background to the state I am at. Ricochet's multi-layered rhythms provide spectacular tempo whenever I need to dive deeper into some things. Sometime Cyclone would be my choice if I happened to be under the progressive rock influence or in a mood for. And many times I would go back to Force Majeure which I might be connected to in a very special personal way of planning my major life changes to, back in 1979.
Coming back to Stratosfear to me this album gets progressively better. It starts with the energetic Stratosfear track, very familiar to many from its inclusions during TD's live shows. It is a good track but I like the acoustic overtones of The Big Sleep In The Search Of Hades just as much. 3AM At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee is the perfect title to this eerie piece of music with plenty of space inside of it. Its peacefulness becomes the perfect ground for what comes next. It is possible that Invisible Limits is just my personal obsession, but from the very moment it starts I am simply blown away. The melody line just starts pulsing gently along and it is very unassuming and simple, but the atmospheric background which appears in about 0:43 with a simple flute melody over it is perfect and the way all of the above interact in such a peaceful way until in 2:50 the gentlest drum beat appearing only for a few seconds on the entire song brings on a.... loud splash. From 3:10 to 5:10 it is a typical Tangerine Dream at work but than about 5:30 this gorgeous western theme appears for only a minute or so. Right before the 7:00 we got a complete change of mood, brought by a very interesting synthesizer sound and only the echo of our melody is left and we are approached by pure space atmospherics. And out of that moment of silence in 9:00 the motif of Ludvig von Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata appears, as a gorgeous piano and flute interplay, and it ends this album in a very romantic way. Such absolute perfection completely improvised proves the accord and harmony of this genius crew of the Tangerine Dream spaceship.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upper stratos,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)What struck me first about this album is how TD switched from the relentless pulsing of steadily-built mood patterns to a more melodic
approach. Guitar and flute play a prominent role in this, weaving in and out of washes of keyboard. The result is quite beautiful, reminiscent of some of Pink Floyd's more electronic moments, but with far more finesse. 'The Big Sleep...' is especially bewitching and quite out of character. '3am...' is haunting and 'Invisible Limits' awe-inspiring.
Though not a diehard fan, I own several TD albums and this is the only one, apart from 'Rubycon,' that I can be in any mood to want to listen to. A good place to start.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnifique....what more can you say?,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)STEVE BENNER CERTAINLY KNOWS HIS TANGERINE DREAM? :-)
having been a synth programmer, arranger, and writer of electronic music myself, and seen the progress of synth technology in the last 15 years with my own eyes (im 29, so the rest is "borrowed" or read history, and the odd use of an old modular system), i have to say that a lot of imagination, creativite juices, and er money went into this beautifully exquisite creative peak..for their 70's phase at least
There's not much use commenting on each track...all are so drenched in "feeling" and "mood", that only an affecianado of electronic music, with a heart of stone WONT be moved by this
it sadly, i guess also showcases that PETER BAUMANN was also quite a vital force in their "creative glue", as his abscence meant the next two studio albums sounded a little like hard work...
nonetheless, im sure it was great then, because even though the SBM(super bit mapping) remastering technology hasnt done much (YOU CAN HEAR HISS IN SOME TRACKS ON THE SILENT PARTS- especially INVISIBLE LIMITS!), and is only 34 minutes...this is a good point to start your TD journey
infact i can say it's like a good meal....it leaves you wanting more!...once your into this...you wont forget it
NO HESTITATIONS HERE....BUY IT!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering masterpiece in electronic music,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)This is indeed a true master piece. It contains some very beautiful moments of almost divine characters. It is not a "background" music piece, it does demand a degree of involvement from the listener.
All analog Synthezeisers, sequencers and similar. And at times flute and guitars.
If you like Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and such, this album ought to bring you a lot of joy. The old Tangerine Dream are original and inventive, however stay away from albums after the 1980's. These are awfull, and shows that the talents has left the group.
Do also listen to the live album, "Richochet" from the mid 1970's.
The only drawback about this CD, is that the sonic sound are slightly thin and undynamic. The old vinyls are much better, which shows that the transfer from the original mastertape, somehow went wrong in the process of making this CD.
However, that should not prevent you from purchasing this CD. The music is a high level over the common.
5.0 out of 5 stars At last,
This review is from: Stratosfear (MP3 Download)After 30 plus years I finally replaced my vinyl version with digital. It was great back then and still is.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars turnips,
This review is from: Stratosfear (Audio CD)turnips
a bleeding big feild of loverly luscious turnips good for me good for you and all the animals too TURNIPS !
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