Recorded during the North American Tour March/April 1977.|
- Cherokee Lane [16:23]
- Monolight [19:36]
- Coldwater Canyon [17:39]
- Desert Dream [17:36]
All written and played by Chris Franke, Edgar Froese and Peter Baumann.
During the 70ís, Tangerine Dream concerts were unique. Because of the delicacy of the analog equipments, the German trio improvised every evening a new show. Certainly, certain lines got closer, but The Mandarin Dream espoused on the spot the main lines of long concerts where the sequential fury supported the ferocity of synths, keyboards and Mellotron, as well as the rather rock approach Froeseís guitar. Encore is the archive and the sound witness of this almighty North American tour in 77, of which I was lucky to be in Montreal, which demonstrated that EM was more than an identifying floating music.
A strange metallic and spectral wind raises sound particles of a lugubrious placid atmosphere. The intro of Cherokee Lane dives into a syncretic sound universe where lines of old dark organs float and are criss-crossing in a waltz for wandering souls. They are getting lost in the waddling rhythm of a soft sequence, perfumed by soft layers of Baumannís oniric Mellotron. Erratic and staggering, sequencer chords embrace a fine fluty and a warm bass wave, guiding Cherokee Lane towards a violent heavy rhythm, expected quite well and hardly appreciated by an audience which remembers the first sequential heavinessís of Cherokee Lane. A strong rhythm on a striking bass line, Cherokee Lane lets hear a skillful fusion of previous albums Rubycon and Phaedra. Synths and Mellotron boil on swirling and exhilarating rhythms, freeing furious synth and Mellotron solos, harpooned by the sequential tenacity of Franke which strums the movement with violent chords. The synth roars and hems its solos in a perfect symbiosis with the Mellotron, while Cherokee Lane becomes more and heavier before quieting very slowly beneath the reflectors of twilights.
Monolight begins with a flighty piano which gets astray on airs of Rubycon. A soft piano, a little bit melancholic, joins by a brief passage Mellotron before it gets vanished in a hell filled of metallic squeaking and rumblings as well as roaring of terrified synths. We would believe to be in the psychedelic Pink Floyd era on Ummagumma. A light percussion rolling is getting out of there, accompanying keyboard keys and synth breaths which shape a splendid melody. A tender melody which hangs a sigh on the soul and which fades out in these metallic sonorities which collide in a heavy din, the same melody that will be the only single out of Encore and is propel Monolight towards a powerful sequential movement, bitten by a heavy bass and encircled by magnificent howling synth solos. Monolight forks off for a monumental synths trio which sings a superb melody with fat and symphonic solos which move in the sky and fill the air while crossing of Stratosfear. Monolight continues its melodious road towards rumblings of sulfur and ends its fury towards a wonderful piano that musical hells clutch of their synth shadows.
Cold and resonant keys fall as last drops of an icy autumnal rain to open Coldwater Canyon. Very heavy and psychedelic, Coldwater Canyon is Edgar track title. On a musical structure in constant declension, and which looks like a slow and jerky movement of Stratosfear, Edgar releases his electric madness that leads in a pure improvisation, such as a rock star accompanied by its docile stooges. Twisted solos, bitten by heavy riffs and spiral loops, glance through a movement minimalism which gradually is getting out of breath. Itís a cutting-edge track which distances itself from TDís repertory, although keyboards pads, sequences and hatched percussions don't lie about their origins. There are melting in boiling atmospheres as electronic, progressive and heterogeneous. I quite liked it, but I do prefer a more equal sharing between synths and guitars.
Desert Dream encloses this live double album with a long atmospheric track which is stretching in a thick cloud of floating and ambiguous tones. It is the pure electronic magic of analog years that goes into our ears with a very ambient intro with heterogeneous sounds which float in a dreamlike universe. The whole thing ends by a beautiful mixture of electric piano, symphonic synth and foggy Mellotron, recalling the steams of Invisible Limits on Stratosfear.
Encore reflects, in a condensed way, the unique magic of Tangerine Dream concerts in this era. Every evening was a different musical happening which delighted the fans. It was pure improvisations on sound effects and surprising laser plays that gave unique moments, engraved in our contemplative memoirs, of which mine.
Sylvain Lupari / Guts of Darkness
Tangerine Dream's second live album, this time a double, would also be the final album of the Froese-Franke-Baumann line-up. It was recorded during the band's North American tour of March-April 1977. Unlike Ricochet, which though technically a 'live' album had basically no audience presence, on Encore the audience makes their presence known at certain points, lending the recording proper live ambience.
I think this album probably will hold its greatest appeal for those who picked it out of its chronological context with the other 70s albums. If you did track the band's output chronologically, chances are that by the time you reach Encore, you may find it to be redundant with what came before (though on the other hand, perhaps you might find it to be this line-up's grand summary statement of that style). The main idea is yet again 'C minor with modal soloing.' Sticking to this key (or A and E, two other alternatives), according to Edgar Froese, was a requirement of their equipment at the time. However, for anyone who has Rubycon, Ricochet, Stratosfear, and Sorcerer in their collection, this sounds pretty much well-exhausted by this point. To this foundation, the band provides different add-ons and variations (e.g., most of the tracks open up with spacious prelude improvisations) to provide some color.
"Cherokee Lane" is probably the most conservative of the four tracks in terms of duplicating previous work, and quite ironically given what I just said above, it is the piece on here I like the most. As the band goes past the opening abstractions of the prelude and starts gearing up with the sequencers and string Mellotron, and once more as these slowly build from flame to fire, the audience shrieks with delight, reminding us what a great live show these guys must have put on back in the 70s.
"Monolight" provides greater departure. It begins with classical grand piano gradually given auxiliary support by other keys, which then dissolves into a clattering of sounds and effects. After this enigmatic prelude, the track formally begins with a brief, classically styled vignette that represents the most thoroughly composed moment on the album, weaving through major and minor keys with the main melody played on Moog. After this section concludes, the remainder of the track becomes business as usual, with nothing of great interest occurring, and eventually ends where it began reprising the prelude.
"Coldwater Canyon" is for me the album's low point. Generally speaking, the track doesn't really go anywhere, and on top of this, hefty portions of it are given to showcasing tedious guitar soloing from Froese. I've never quite been very impressed with his guitar work as the focal point of interest; it certainly does not justify the time it eats up here.
The band concludes with "Desert Dream", the only track to fully depart from the C-imposed sequencing, moving through a lonely, 'Western in space' theme to a funereal march on a trumpet-synth with accompanying Fender Rhodes and Mellotron. It is probably the most original work on the album though doesn't entirely gel. Towards the end, just as the band seems set to strike up with another block of music, this curiously fades away and the audience erupts into concluding cheers. In retrospect, a strange swan song for a legendary line-up.
Following Encore, Peter Baumann left the band to pursue a solo career, though interestingly he would re-unite with Tangerine Dream in a different context about a decade later, as the founder of the new age Private Records label, signing his former band for a few years.
He eventually sold the Private label to BMG Records in 1994 and appears to have since retired from the music biz altogether.
2006. Joe McGlinchey