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Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri

30 May 2011
4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Format: Audio CD
ESOTERIC/REACTIVE Remaster 2011:
This, the latest reissue of the early Tangerine Dream classic goes the extra nine yards and blows all previous issues out of the water by virtue of sound quality, artwork, sleevenotes and bonus material. There is of course only so much which can be done with tapes which are 40 years old, but to my ears this sounds cleaner and brighter than any previous issues, so much so that it really is like listening to it with fresh ears. The artwork is fully restored from the original OHR release, with much attention to detail, like the fact that the band's name did not actually appear on the front sleeve. The 16 page booklet contains all the elements of the original release, along with session photographs and much more besides. Framing this is a very well informed and fascinating essay by TD expert Andy King, a man who really knows his history. There is much information here which was new to me and really helps immerse one in the spirit of the times.

Bonus material consists of the 8 minute `Ozillator Planet Concert' from the long lost `Ossiach Live' album, and both sides of the legendary `Ultima Thule' single presented in chronological order, and in better quality than ever before.

The original album itself sees the first appearance of Christoph Franke, alongside once only member Steve Schroeder and guests Udo Dennebourg and Roland Paulyck, all of whom add to the density and mystery of the music under the leadership of mainstay Edgar Froese. It sees TD using synthesizers for the first time, albeit in a very primitive way. The main sound textures are generated by Froese's glissando guitar, organ and in perhaps the most exciting section of the first side, Chris Franke's excellent post-Nick Mason drumming.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Another good quality Tangerine Dream re-issue courtesy of Reactive/Esoteric.

As fans of the band will doubtless already be aware, this was their second album, and saw them moving beyond the guitar-based psychedelic scragglings of previous work, incorporating EMS synthesizers for the first time, thus adding a whole new sonic dimension to the proceedings.

The CD packaging is very nice, with all the original artwork restored, more archive photos, and an intelligent essay.

The remastering of the album itself seems well handled - comparing with the sound on the mid-80s Jive Electro CD I owned, it's been beefed and warmed up a bit and sounds less brittle and tinny.

Also included are three bonus tracks: both sides of the rare 1971 Ultima Thule single (a kind of sub-Hawkwindy workout, featuring Froese's first use of the mellotron) and 'Oscillator Planet Conzert' from a rare 1971 Austrian compilation album. Whilst these tracks are a treat for completists, claims that they are "appearing on CD for the first time" and somewhat questionable: they sound very much to my ears as if they've been re-mastered from vinyl copies, rather than the original master tapes. You can clearly hear the the tell-tale periodic sound of a needle rustling in the grove as the record spins round, and associated crackles and pops and general tinny top end. Ultima Thule part one is the most noticeable in this respect. However, if the original master tapes are no longer in existence, I guess it can't be helped! And they're still perfectly listenable, and if they weren't included we'd all be complaining :)
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Format: Audio CD
1 Sunrise In The Third System 4:20
2 Fly And Collision Of Comas Sola 13:03
3 Alpha Centauri 22:00
Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Published By – Zomba Music Publishers Ltd.
Recorded At – Dierks Studios
Made By – DADC Austria
Glass Mastered At – DADC Austria
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By Steve Benner TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Jan. 2002
Format: Vinyl
"Alpha Centauri" was John Peel's recommended Import of the Year in 1971: an accolade that was partly responsible for Tangerine Dream's subsequent signing with Richard Branson's Virgin Records. The TD line-up at this time was Edgar Froese, Christoph Franke (his first appearance) and Steve Schroyder, with guest performers Udo Dennebourg (flute and voice) and Roland Paulyck (synthesiser).
If you're unfamiliar with Tangerine Dream's early "Kosmische Musik" period, then this disc may come as something as a shock. It is, however, a good place to start an exploration of their early music. Apart from being their first real release ("Electronic Meditation" was only ever intended to be a demo tape!), it also contains an excellent cross-section of the styles of playing which characterised TD's early years, having meditative pieces with long drawn out organ chords over gurgling VCS3 oscillators, flighty flute lines woven through Christoph Franke's jazzy, often improvised drumming and, of course, a general other- or out-of-this-worldliness pervading everything.
'Sunrise in the Third System' is a short (4 mins) opener, which sets the scene for the music to follow. Gradually swelling organ chords build beneath a simple guitar line while rising synthesiser wails and a dancing flute part before coming to a gentle climax and descending rapidly again into silence. 'Fly and Collision of Comas Sola' is a longer (13 mins) epic, with more soaring, cosmic synthesiser sounds and organ chords over Froese's guitar strummings eventually being drowned out by a veritable battle between guest flautist, Udo Dennebourg, and Franke's increasingly frantic drumming--a true masterpiece!
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