HiQualityCD. Tangerine Dream Eastgate Era collection vol.1
- Lights of Beijing
- No More Candles Burning
- Silence the Barking Monk
- Snow on Dragon's Peak
- Stranded Without Shade
- Summer in Shauxi
- Cloud Face
- The Fourth Gate Knights
- Tiger Forest
- Year of the Monkey
- Zhu Zhanji
Great Wall of China is obviously the soundtrack to a documentary about the Chinese Wall. Overall a badly produced album, but also a work of routine, with nothing to go down in history.
However, it starts really well, with the outstanding opener, called Meng Tian. On the same height as the best from Mars Polaris, it means it's catchy, uptempo electronica, with fresh energy. The most remarkable is the lead melody. A sampled female voice, repeatedly announces the word "substance", and I wonder if it refers to drugs, or just because the track has some substance.
Summer In Shauxi is a fierce anti-climax upon Meng Tian. It sounds like something from Optical Race, and it is a mystery to me, they still go in for this disgusting sound. The tempo is so slow, and everything falls apart. Terrible!
The South Gate Knights has great sequencing, but also the clinical sound, that was to be heard throughout the worst moments on Mars Polaris. An overly exposed synth, resembling human voices, saying "aaaaayyyy", is also used on the album Inferno from 2002. Sometimes it is pretty annoying!
However, the track deserves a high amount of credit for the sequencer, which has -approach to it.
Silence The Barking Monk, which is nominated in the category of "TD's funniest song titles", is musically not funny at all. We talk about a really low-budget production without frills, that makes Rockoon sound good. A shame really, since a decent production could have saved it.
Apparently, Zhu Zhanji should be the name of a girl. This track is also a victim of the same weak production, like the following four tracks.
However, I would point out that Meng Tian and the final, slightly psychedelic tracks, Tiger Forest and Cradle Of Prodigies, raise the rating to 6/10.
2006. Jacob Pertou / Denmark
Generally, I find Tangerine Dream recordings either grab me right away or take several listening to appreciate (or not). This recording is one of the exceptions to that rule. My initial listening had me intrigued, but not raving about the music. There was something there, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Overall, the disc has the marks that we have grown to expect from a TD release, such as immaculate sound quality and moving beats interspersed with ambient interludes and synthesizer sweeps, but there was more here. Finally it dawned on me. Most TD die-hards divide the amazing 30 plus year career of the band into 4 or so distinct eras. This recording seems to be blending many of those periods into a single cohesive whole.
While the disc keeps the contemporary digital sound the band found in the 90s, some of the tracks will appeal to lovers of their 70s sound. For example, check out the bass sequence on The South Gate Knights. In some ways it compares to Stratosfear 1995 from their recording Tyranny of Beauty, which combined the mid-70s song structure with digital equipment and the 90s mind set.
Another example of this era mixing would be Lights of Beijing which has a lovely piano melody reminiscent of their sound of the early 80s, but again pulled into current TD style. It seems the band is proving that they have not forgotten lessons they have learned. There are more atmospheric and experimental sounds on this disc than on other recent releases.
One example is Silence of the Barking Monks with some icy crackling crystal sounds. These sounds, though perhaps odd if taken by themselves, are weaved into the layers of the music adding to the mood and depth of the disc. This CD is a soundtrack to a U. S. made film documentary about the Asian architectural wonder. The listener will find an occasional Asian vocal sample and ethnic rhythm giving sections of the music a Far East feel, but the most Oriental inspired track is Tiger Forest which has more of the tones associated with Asian music. This is not overdone, however, as is sometimes true with worldbeat recordings, and the music remains very much TD.
The TDI literature about this disc mentions that it is the 91st recording from this band, which is astounding output from artists of any sort of music. Over their long career they have been innovators and even genre creators. While this disc may not push the emusic envelope, this era blending sound takes idea samples from their best works and mixes it into a pleasurable montage.