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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pick of early Dream
"Atem" was Tangerine Dream's fourth album, released in 1973. In many ways, it marks the group's furthest departure from the world of rock and pop and the closest they ever came to the sound world of the classical avant garde. It is interesting to note that, for the first time, no guest musicians are credited, suggesting that the group of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and...
Published on 27 Jan 2003 by Steve Benner

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Subtext of Darkness.
I recently listened to 'Zeit', Tangerine Dream's monumental precursor to 'Atem' and I have to say that, while 'Atem' is still very good in places, it just doesn't have that wow factor that 'Zeit' has. This, however, is not wholly to be unexpected because it is usual after an artist creates something very original and expends almost all their energy on it that they don't...
Published 19 months ago by Alexander J. Dunn


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pick of early Dream, 27 Jan 2003
By 
Steve Benner "Stonegnome" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
"Atem" was Tangerine Dream's fourth album, released in 1973. In many ways, it marks the group's furthest departure from the world of rock and pop and the closest they ever came to the sound world of the classical avant garde. It is interesting to note that, for the first time, no guest musicians are credited, suggesting that the group of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann was settling down to working together and becoming more confident of their sound world.
The opening title track, 'Atem' (the German word for 'breath') clearly builds upon earlier TD material, like 'Alpha Centauri' and 'Zeit', being similar both in scale - it is over 20 minutes long - and style. In many ways, it is an updating of "Electronic Meditation", with Chris Franke's tom-tom drumming providing the main impetus over mostly organ and synth sounds in its early parts, and for its almost organic overtones. Present for the first time, though, is the distinctive sound of the mellotron, which was to become so much a Tangerine Dream trademark throughout the mid- to late-70s. 'Atem' is a beautifully structured work and has an exquisite central section, with a quiet heartbeat pattern played on tom toms, over an eerie mellotron loop and some beautifully textured patterns of white noise and, later, throbbing VCS3 sounds. At this point, TD comes close to the sound world of the electroacoustic musicians, especially of the French Canadian acousmatic school.
The next track, 'Fauni-Gena' is another largish work (almost 11 mins) which continues in a similar vein. The sound world here is suggestive of the primitive rainforest, with, once more, a haunting mellotron loop over the sounds of exotic birds and other creatures (whether real or synthesised is never obvious) carrying the listener's imagination off to far away times and places. Once more, it is highly redolent of the acousmatic school of composition.
'Circulation of Events' is another typical early TD meditative piece, featuring sustained organ and synthesiser notes over a rising VCS3 pulse. The final track, 'Wahn' (another German title: this one means 'delusion' - in the sense of that which gives rise to insanity!) is unique in the Tangerine Dream canon, however, in consisting of little beyond vocal utterings (grunts, mutterings, screams, shouts and so on) echoed and reverbed, before a rising percussion line restores some semblance of decorum and a gentle mellotron theme sings the work to a close. This is a track owing more to Ligeti's 'Aventures' and 'Nouvelles Aventures' and works of that ilk, than to anything from the rock or pop world. Perhaps the closest you can get to this nowadays would be Trevor Wishart's 'Vox cycle'.
This CD is a remastered release from original master tapes by TD's own Eastgate studio, so is probably as definitive a release as could be achieved. Its analogue origins remain apparent throughout, however, with tape hiss being quite prevalent, especially through the quieter passages, of which this disc has plenty. This needn't put you off, though, as the material more than makes up for these technical shortcomings, and I'm happy to report that the release is free of any particularly disturbing remastering artefacts. Although its 40 minute total playing time is less than generous by CD standards, this was typical of its day and this disc remains highly recommended to anyone wanting to explore the realm of early Tangerine Dream, or other works out of the mainstream of 1970's pop.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Superb Sounding TD Re-issue!, 20 Oct 2006
By 
DSR (out beyond the sticks) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
I didn't discover this album until well after I first heard their follow-up "Phaedra", so can't give a fair answer as to whether this would have blown my mind the same way. Despite this, there are some wonderfully moving sounds here, composed with much imagination, showing what the band could do just before the "sequencer" era took over.

The previous reviewer got it spot on. The title track starts heavy, climaxes and then goes into a gentle, but very varied soundscape, drawing the listener in to get lost in its vistas. The section starting at around the ten minute mark still sends shivers down my spine, as does the "helicopter" section at the end...

The last track, "Wahn", is the one I keep going back to. It starts with almost primitive voice shouts and screams bathed in effects and very beefy percussion which then gradually calms down, finishing the album all too soon.

The remastering for this version is really good too, sounding more like the early LP's to me than the rather muffled (in my opinion) Jive CD release I also own. There's a freshness and inner clarity here that adds to ones enjoyment and shows what modern (re)mastering can do. I'm glad that the hiss hasn't been got rid of either, as attempts to do this can spoil the sound.

A Sincerely recommended "transitional" album from TD's classic line up.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pick of early Dream, 7 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
"Atem" was Tangerine Dream's fourth album, released in 1973. In many ways, it marks the group's furthest departure from the world of rock and pop and the closest they ever came to the sound world of the classical avant garde. It is interesting to note that, for the first time, no guest musicians are credited, suggesting that the group of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann was settling down to working together and becoming more confident of their sound world.
The opening title track, 'Atem' (the German word for 'breath') clearly builds upon earlier TD material, like 'Alpha Centauri' and 'Zeit', being similar both in scale-it is over 20 minutes long-and style. In many ways, it is an updating of "Electronic Meditation", with Chris Franke's tom-tom drumming providing the main impetus over mostly organ and synth sounds in its early parts, and for its almost organic overtones. Present for the first time, though, is the distinctive sound of the mellotron, which was to become so much a Tangerine Dream trademark throughout the mid- to late-70s. 'Atem' is a beautifully structured work and has an exquisite central section, with a quiet heartbeat pattern played on tom toms, over an eerie mellotron loop and some beautifully textured patterns of white noise and, later, throbbing VCS3 sounds. At this point, TD comes close to the sound world of the electroacoustic musicians, especially of the French Canadian acousmatic school.
The next track, 'Fauni-Gena' is another largish work (almost 11 mins) which continues in a similar vein. The sound world here is suggestive of the primitive rainforest, with, once more, a haunting mellotron loop over the sounds of exotic birds and other creatures (whether real or synthesised is never obvious) carrying the listener's imagination off to far away times and places. Once more, it is highly redolent of the acousmatic school of composition. (Check out the Diffusion i Media web pages to find out more about this kind of music, as unfortunately Amazon don't sell any of it!)
'Circulation of Events' is another typical early TD meditative piece, featuring sustained organ and synthesiser notes over a rising VCS3 pulse. The final track, 'Wahn' (another German title: this one means 'delusion'-in the sense of that which gives rise to insanity!) is unique in the Tangerine Dream canon, however, in consisting of little beyond vocal utterings (grunts, mutterings, screams, shouts and so on) echoed and reverbed, before a rising percussion line restores some semblance of decorum and a gentle mellotron theme sings the work to a close. This is a track owing more to Ligeti's 'Aventures' and 'Nouvelles Aventures' and works of that ilk, than to anything from the rock or pop world. Perhaps the closest you can get to this nowadays would be Trevor Wishart's 'Vox cycle'.
This CD is a remastered release from original master tapes by TD's own Eastgate studio, so is probably as definitive a release as could be achieved. Its analogue origins remain apparent throughout, however, with tape hiss being quite prevalent, especially through the quieter passages, of which this disc has plenty. This needn't put you off, though, as the material more than makes up for these technical shortcomings, and I'm happy to report that the release is free of any particularly disturbing remastering artefacts. Although its 40 minute total playing time is less than generous by CD standards, this was typical of its day and this disc remains highly recommended to anyone wanting to explore the realm of early Tangerine Dream, or other works out of the mainstream of 1970's pop.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the most accessible of the early albums., 26 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
'Atem' certainly could be seen as the band taking an entirely new direction, 'Zeit' definitely being a turning point in the band's discography and style. They lost none of the percussiveness as heard on Alpha Centauri (conclusion of Fly and Collision of Comus Sola) but took the long dream-like sequences of Zeit and developed them, without losing any of the sense of unease and other-worldliness that had been evident so far. The title track, with its almost grandiose opening, is a joy to listen to; the intensity finally giving way to pacifying and yet somewhat unnerving melodies, which constantly change and develop as the music shifts along. It is never boring, as one never quite knows just what is around the corner. 'Fauni gena' is arguably the closest thing on the album to the title track of Phaedra, in that one can begin to pick out shifting electronic rhythms emerging out of the other-worldliness that was previously mentioned in this review. 'Circulation of Events', about half the length of the previous track, is soothing enough, though never quite makes it. It simply drifts, but doesn't actually go anywhere. Finally, 'Wahn' lifts us out of our reverie, due to some almost Stockhausen-like voice tuning bursting in on the scene, and Froese's mellotron taking up the main melody. On the whole a most satisfying album, and one which I think takes us down more avenues than we would otherwise think. Recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars splendid reissue, 4 May 2012
By 
feline1 (Brighton, Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
Reactive/Esoteric have done a great job with this reissue of Tangerine Dream's fourth album. (I assume most readers are already familiar with it - it was their first to make big use of the mellotron - say no more :)

The original artwork is fully restored, with plenty of extra photos, and an insightful essay.
The album itself seems to have been nicely remastered: comparing to the mid-80s Jive Electro CD that I already owned, the sound is louder and has noticeably more top end - the old CD sounds like there's a pillow over the speakers in comparison. Having said that, there's no "loudness wars" malpractice, with the dynamics still maintained - the music still peters out into silence when it's supposed to.
The bonus disc with a previously unreleased 40 minute live performance from Nov 1973 is also a real treat. The sound quality is very good for an old bootleg live tape. The material is real vintage stuff... Froese is making great use of his newly acquired 'Compact Phasing A' unit, and the EMS Synthis are bubbling away to great effect. (The moog sequencer has yet to arrive, but other than that crucial element, many of the sounds at this gig are not dissimilar to what would appear on the following year's "Phaedra" album.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Subtext of Darkness., 5 Mar 2013
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
I recently listened to 'Zeit', Tangerine Dream's monumental precursor to 'Atem' and I have to say that, while 'Atem' is still very good in places, it just doesn't have that wow factor that 'Zeit' has. This, however, is not wholly to be unexpected because it is usual after an artist creates something very original and expends almost all their energy on it that they don't wait long enough for their powers to return. Hence, you get so-called 'transitional' albums - works which are neither one thing nor the other and consequently fail to impress.

But, as I said, there are great moments on this album including the very quiet section in the title track which immediately follows the furious tribal drumming of the opening section. This passage is just so atmospheric, even sublime. The magic is that you genuinely can't tell what instruments you're hearing - they are just strange organic sounds.

The other highlight is the entire of the second track, 'Fauni Gena'. It is based on a simple idea; birds chirping behind various Mellotron sounds such as its famous flutes and strings. This track is spellbinding and very relaxing to listen to even if it does contain a subtext of darkness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant music, 4 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
quality and tracks take me back down memory lane, a joy to listen to, especially when relaxing with eyes shut and a glass of wine
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pick of early Dream, 16 Jan 2002
By 
Steve Benner "Stonegnome" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Atem [VINYL] (Vinyl)
"Atem" was Tangerine Dream's fourth album, released in 1973. In many ways, it marks the group's furthest departure from the world of rock and pop and the closest they ever came to the sound world of the classical avant garde. It is interesting to note that, for the first time, no guest musicians are credited, suggesting that the group of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann was settling down to working together and becoming more confident of their sound world.
The opening title track, 'Atem' (the German word for 'breath') clearly builds upon earlier TD material, like 'Alpha Centauri' and 'Zeit', being similar both in scale-it is over 20 minutes long-and style. In many ways, it is an updating of "Electronic Meditation", with Chris Franke's tom-tom drumming providing the main impetus over mostly organ and synth sounds in its early parts, and for its almost organic overtones. Present for the first time, though, is the distinctive sound of the mellotron, which was to become so much a Tangerine Dream trademark throughout the mid- to late-70s. 'Atem' is a beautifully structured work and has an exquisite central section, with a quiet heartbeat pattern played on tom toms, over an eerie mellotron loop and some beautifully textured patterns of white noise and, later, throbbing VCS3 sounds. At this point, TD comes close to the sound world of the electroacoustic musicians, especially of the French Canadian acousmatic school.
The next track, 'Fauni-Gena' is another largish work (almost 11 mins) which continues in a similar vein. The sound world here is suggestive of the primitive rainforest, with, once more, a haunting mellotron loop over the sounds of exotic birds and other creatures (whether real or synthesised is never obvious) carrying the listener's imagination off to far away times and places. Once more, it is highly redolent of the acousmatic school of composition....
'Circulation of Events' is another typical early TD meditative piece, featuring sustained organ and synthesiser notes over a rising VCS3 pulse. The final track, 'Wahn' (another German title: this one means 'delusion' - in the sense of that which gives rise to insanity!) is unique in the Tangerine Dream canon, however, in consisting of little beyond vocal utterings (grunts, mutterings, screams, shouts and so on) echoed and reverbed, before a rising percussion line restores some semblance of decorum and a gentle mellotron theme sings the work to a close. This is a track owing more to Ligeti's 'Aventures' and 'Nouvelles Aventures' and works of that ilk, than to anything from the rock or pop world. Perhaps the closest you can get to this nowadays would be Trevor Wishart's 'Vox cycle'.
Although its 40 minute total playing time is less than generous by modern standards, this was typical of its day and this disc remains highly recommended to anyone wanting to explore the realm of early Tangerine Dream, or other works out of the mainstream of 1970's pop.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exotic Dream, 16 Feb 2010
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
I originally bought this album back in 1975 on the back of having copies of both Phaedra and Rubycon, to look at how the early Dream sounded before their commercial breakthrough with Virgin records and it was quite a suprise. This album sounded so exotic and primodial in comparison to Phaedra, that I would have not expected such an artistic leap between the two albums at that time.
The central "space music" section on the track Atem is similar to track sections on both Phaedra and Rubycon, but the way it is arranged seems more imaginative somehow. The other tracks I like, Fauni-Gena and Wahn seem like nothing I heard by the Dream before and their originality is striking. These 2 tracks have a sinister, primal quality and a sense of an alien life, which is made more eerie by listening late at night. Other reviewers here have already given as full a track by track description as is possible and I can add nothing to their comments.
The album is still a very interesting listen, even after nearly 40 years and is worth a place in anybody's collection of electronic music. As I remember the time in the seventies when this was reviewed, it considered to the best album of the Dream's early years and although I sampled tracks from both Zeit and Alpha Centuri, they never quite impressed me so much as the music on Atem did.
Although Tangerine Dream found greater commercial sucess through their later albums, the imagination and originality of Atem, for me personally, was never to be equalled again. This an album I shall return to often and given it's improved sound on this latest CD version, it will remain a good listening experience.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tangerine Dream...it says it all, 19 Feb 2010
This review is from: Atem (Audio CD)
Early Tangerine Dream.....can't be bad and isn't. But it and listen to it - concentrate on it - changes your out look on music.
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Atem by Tangerine Dream
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