on 5 April 2012
Here we have five unadulterated Edgar Froese albums, in their original form recorded for Virgin Records and issued without the sonic vandalism usually associated with Froese reissues. The real jewel here is the original `Epsilon In Malaysian Pale', which has been unavailable on CD for many years. `Aqua' and `Epsilon' both sound sonically improved (specificaly missing some clipping/distortion which plagued earlier CD issues). `Ages' has its best track `Golgotha and the Circle Closes' restored for the first time on CD, and `Stuntman' and `Pinnacles' flow nicely into each other...so, 6LP's worth for £12. Bargain !
There are also 4 bonus tracks scattered around within the set, each taken from the LP `Edgar Froese Solo 1974-79' and previously unissued on CD. The annotation of these is a complete shambles: `NGC 891', and `Pizzaro' would appear to be correct, but `Epsilon' (from Solo 1974-9) is actually `Tropic Of Capricorn', and `Tropic Of Capricorn (from solo 1974-79)' is actually `IF 810'.
Why EMI can't employ one of the legions of TD trainspotters out there to check these things I don't know.
So there you have it, brilliant sounding, great value and subject to the easily avoidable careless mistakes we have become accustomed to.
on 6 May 2012
I thought long and hard before buying this box set because i`ve got it all on other lps and cds, but the lure of extra tracks and remastered albums swayed me so i ordered it and it arrived yesterday.
Aqua sounds lovely, like nothing else on the planet, full of gurgles and swooshes and eerie electronic soundscapes. Upland, especially, is wonderful with it`s gothic organ drones and is something to put on to scare trick or treaters away at halloween - they won`t come back!
The main draw for most Edgar afficionados to buy this set is Epsilon, unavailable in original form for many years, and his finest work. Both Epsilon and Maroubra Bay are a genre on their own, probably nearer to Vaughan Williams than Tangerine Dream. Both tracks send shivers down my spine every time i hear them with Edgar giving a masters demonstation on how the Mellotron and analogue synths should be played. But,and it`s a big but, what happened to the bottom end on the remaster, my original Brain lp has got loads more oomph in the bass department. The remaster has a lovely clear sound for sure, but sounds a little weaker than the lp. And why oh why didn`t the engineer doing the remaster take the opportunity to get rid of the prominent tape hiss on the album. And who made the balls up of including the alternative version of Capricorn where the alternative Epsilon should be! Criticism apart, it`s lovely to see this masterpiece available again.
Ages sounds better than on previous releases and has some good tracks but the general consensus seems to be that it is a matter of taste.
Stuntman is a classic with Edgar showing what could be done with the then new digital synthesisers. It would be like Samoa and A Dali-esqe sleep fuse are breathtaking.
Pinnacles is Edgars experience of the australian outback in musical form and is very spacious and laid back with a very different feel to it than previous works, very nice in it`s own way but heading off into the blander territories which Edgar would soon explore.
All in all this is a very important box set, both for fans of Edgar Froese and students of electronic music who can trace the development of it led by one of it`s masters. The musical world of today would be very different without the genius of Edgar Froese.
on 6 April 2012
The Edgar froese solo albums were a revelation when first released,more technical then Klaus Schulze but not as melodic as say "La Dusseldorf" this is Froese at his best.
The first Cd has all of the "Aqua"album on it,which is still wonderful,a calmincly peacefull album,that soothes and nurtures,the disc ends with "Epsillion in Malaysian pale(part one0 which is split into two seperate discswhy was this not afforded a disc of its own? as it is distracting to have to change discs half way through.
I must say thet "NGC891" on the"Aqua"section still sounds stunning,even after all these years,parts of this CD included the artificial dummy head sterei mix ,which when heard on headphones is astonoshing, ignoring the fact that it is split over two CDS it is still a remarkably fine track.
When these discs were first issued they were issued in beautiful,laminated ,gatefold sleeves,how things have changed
CD2 Starts of with part 2 of "Epsillion in Malaysian pale" with the magnificent "Maroura bay",this is then followed by an alternative version of "Epsilion"to round things off,with regards to EIMP.
Next up is "Ages" sides one and two,perhaps his most undated album,with its pulsing beats and rhythms 1st is
"Metropolis"is very reminiscent of Kraftwerk in effects if not melody,followed swiftly by "Era of the slaves" and "Tropic of capricorn"which is almost classical in composition with its piano work and at twenty minutes long it holds the attention throughout.
CD3 starts with the remainder of "Ages" (Side three and four) "Nights of automatic women"is basically an early upeat dance track,with brilliant plying,rather like an instumental Amon Duul 2 with its seering solos and electric violin sounds,"Icarus" follows,a menacing bass synth starts,with a repetative mid paced tune "Chilrens deeper study"is more scarry,but still good to hear again
"Ode to granny A" puts me very much in mind of "baby you;re a rich man"by the mighty Beatles.
Trac five is "Pizzaro and Attahaullpa"and has a very eastern influence to it,very mesmerising indeed.
The next is "Golgaha and circle closes" with its floyd like tones,then two alternative versions of tunes already played before side one of "Stuntman" arrives(Stuntman/It waould be like Samoa/Detroit snack bar dreamer)bring CD3 to an end.
CD4 Continues with side two of Stuntman(Drunken Mozart in the desert/A Dali esque sleep fuse/Scarlet score for Masquelero).
The final part of the jigsaw,"Pinacles" completes the set(A specific gravity of smile/The light Cone/Walkabout/Pinnacles)
This musically is a fine set,however it falls down badly on presentation in many ways
1).....For a compilation of this size,why only a flimsy 8 page booklet,that lists six albums,when only five are issued
2.....Spelling mistakes in the booklet
3.....Bulky plastic CD cases when digi paks are better.
The set is excellent value for money,so i can't complain too much!!!!
on 18 April 2012
Tadream and Froese fans will be enthused that this collection includes Epsilon and Pinnacles, two albums that for some reason have ben hard to get on CD. Also included is the track "Golgatha" missed off the original and all subsequent CD issues of the Ages album, and previously to my knowledge only once available on CD as part of a Dream/Froese missing links compilation - nice to have it all together at last. Oddly missing is the album Macula Transfer, not a Virgin release (Brain records I believe - Klaus Schulze's label) but a studio offering from this era. Also absent is the OST album Kamikaze 89, which definitely came out on Virgin as I have a copy of the LP! But both missing albums are pretty duff so no big loss there. A great collection of electronica from Tangerine Dream's still remaining front man. Would have been nice to have some liner notes explaining his solo career, we just have to make guesses in the total absence of any accompanying literature....
on 21 March 2015
God bless you Edgar to hear of his recent passing was a shock ,the master of TD's best works and an ever present in years of changing line ups. This cd showcases his solo material with some of his best creations a must for lovers of Froese and TD now creating music in a celestial realm at a cosmic address unknown.
I'm one of those people that doesn't like all sorts of things being done to original recorded material for a modern day audience with tiny stereos or i-pods, although if enough care is taken (and money spent!) it can work well, as with the Beatles' remasters, which have had all sorts done to them to get the sound as it is today's remasters. This set has apparently been compiled from fresh transfers of the original recordings and only a little touching up here and there been done - to minimise the effects of clipping/distortion I believe - rather than wholesale no-noising etc. which can affect reverb and the natural decay of the music into the noise floor. Remember, the early albums (first two?) were recorded on far simpler gear than the main Tangerine Dream albums of this period I understand.
The music is, well, quite wonderful in the most part. Tracks and indeed, albums not available on CD for years have now become available again, although there are a couple of omissions. For the price asked, I'm not complaining. I also understand the track listings in the booklet may have been revised now too on later batches, although I'm not manic about these things as the music comes first.
Wonderful stuff and at a fantastic price. Thank you!
on 21 April 2012
Edgar Froese? A challenging name for most British folk to even pronounce, never mind listen to. However in 1973, Richard Branson had discovered to his surprise long complicated instrumental music could be sold by the millionfold to earnest young men up and down the country (see Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells). And thus, Virgin Records' next signing was Tangerine Dream, German purveyors of extremely long and cosmic electronic instrumental epics. 1974 saw their 'Phaedra' album reach unlikely heights in the top 10, and Bransen saw fit to give T.Dream's main man, Herr Edgar Froese, free reign to release solo albums of long cosmic electronic instrumental music too! (Would such a thing ever happen today?!) Over the next decade he'd bring out half a dozen solo albums for Virgin, 5½ of which are collected here.
AQUA (1974) is a seminal, genre-defining work. Deeply ambient watery electronic gurgles for 20 minutes! Tumbling endlessly repeating analogue sequencer riffs, skeins of moog and mellotron draped over them!
EPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE (1975) is my personal favourite album of all time. No other record has such consistent power to work as a mood altering substance! A veritable jungle of reverb-drenched mellotron and softly burbling analogue sequences - totally hypnogogic. David Bowie went public as a major fan (and not long after went to the same studio in Berlin, to record 'Low'...)
AGES (1977) is probably the most inappropriate double-album ever released during the punk rock era :) As with contempory Tangerine Dream recordings, it saw Froese move towards a cleaner, perkier, less cosmic sound, punctuated with real drums and the odd wigged-out guitar solo. Not without its moments.
STUNTMAN (1979) and PINNACLES (1983) continue in this vein - rather too anondyne and musical in places... perhaps it was the fault of "progress" in technology, but Froese's output sounded less like incredible evocative 'how does he do that?' soundscapes, and more like just some bloke playing a keyboard with his fingers. Still the odd good bit here and there though.
Plus points of this box set:
- the sound quality is good from a sensitive remastering (by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering)
- the price makes it excellent value for money
- the 5½ albums are squished across 4 CDs, rather than each being given their own disc: so it doesn't make for very satisfying listening per disc (probably more aimed at people who rip CDs onto their computers)
- the excellent original 12" gatefold album artwork has been reduced to a 1" thumbnail of the front covers
- clumsy mislabelling of track names and other typos.
(the one labelled 'Epsilon in Malaysian Pale alternate version' is actually an edit of 'Tropic of Capricorn', and the one labelled 'Tropic of Capricorn alternate version' is actually 'AF 811' - from the Macula Transfer album, which is otherwise omitted from this set, as it wasn't released on Virgin).
on 18 May 2013
I purchased this boxed set for only two of the albums, "Aqua" and "Epsilon In Malaysian Pale". "Ages", "Pinnacle' and "Stuntman" are good in parts, but fail to have the impact of Edgar's first two works. As my review title says, the remastering here is exemplary and as for good value, well that's 5 full stars. Would you believe that I paid £11.99 for the "Epsilon" first generation CD back in 1987! And that price for a poorly transferred to CD version as well.
"Aqua" and "Epsilon" are just pure early Virgin era Tangerine Dream and for Mellotron fans, "Epsilon" is a "Must Have".
on 18 April 2012
I first purchased these albums when I was at school in 1987 on mid-price (£3.49) vinyl LP's. I updated most of them all with compact discs in 1991 which were mastered in the 1980s. Ages was released in 1997 missing one track to squeeze the orginal double album onto a single CD. Solo 1974-1979 has never been released on CD.
So here we have a four CD set containing nearly all of Edgar's solo back-catalogue in one package. They have also been remastered. The bonus tracks alone (taken from the Solo 1974-1979 album) make this set worth buying. Even if you were lucky enough to get an original 'Epsilon in Malaysian Pale' CD during its limited 1980s release, the mastering on this new set is far superior. Ages is presented for the first time with all the tracks of the original double album.
My only niggle is the big mistake... the alternative version of 'Epsilon in Malaysian Pale' listed as a bonus track on the packaging is not actually on the CD. It seems that the tracks on Disc 2 have been messed up....
I don't know why these albums have taken so long to be released. You would of thought with the success of Tangerine Dream, Edgar's solo works would have been milked dry over the past twenty years or so.
Obviously, this CD set has been worth the wait. I can STRONGLY recommend this set to any fan of electronic/synth music. It's only £12.00!!
on 4 April 2012
So for years many of us have apparently been badgering EMI to re-release Edgar's solo material (and I've had one response that might not be considered professional given that I was offering to buy something I knew they had) and always been turned away. Then, it's Christmas come early. Five solo albums, one a double, across 4 CD's and all apparently remastered. Certainly, 'Aqua' the legendary 'Epsilon In Malaysian Pale' which I'm listening to as I write, sound crystal clear with excellent dynamics and is certainly a vast improvement on my LP to vinyl to MP3 transfer which I've reluctantly accepted and enjoyed for many years. 'Aqua' also sounds wonderful. Additionally we get four of the remasters from the Solo 74-79 issue (which I never bought, but they are nice to have as extra's) although one bonus I would have liked is Edgar's track from the TD box set (Tangent ? - it disappeared on a house move some years ago).
The pedantic may say that only 'Aqua' and 'Epsilon' are real star recordings in the collection, and although I might agree, there are a number of very good tracks across the other three albums that make this such good value that I feel five stars is deserved. The down side of the bargain price is that the insert is very basic with little of the original art work even though it's referred to in the credits.
Worth the wait and the asking price ? Most definitely.