1. Tangram Set 1 [19:47]
  2. Tangram Set 2 [20:28]
Recorded 1980 at Polygram Studios, Berlin.
Mixed at Hansa Studios, Berlin.
Both written and performed by Franke/ Froese/ Schmoelling.

Johannes Schmoelling - synthesizer, keyboards
Edgar Froese - synthesizer, bass, guitar, keyboards
Christopher Franke - percussion, keyboards Tangram is one of my long time favorite from Tangerine Dream. Two sides of metamorphic but somewhat controlled work and then again not that much. This was the perfect mix of it. And still each set is like an adventure, and I like these sounds pre-midi with less sampling so much.

These are wonderful landscapes, the growing of the soft sequence in the beginning of set 1 until it change the speed. Then comes a soft part close to unplugged with nice acoustic guitar atmospheres very moody and smooth, just before the relentless rhythmical pulse by a probable drum-machine transforming into a bath of hot pads very movie kind (sounding slow like beginning of part2). This peace leads directly to another sequencing layerings gradually to a kind of very powerful climax to a beautiful ending.
Every part is carefully linked together just like one journey, through valley, mountains, waters or air. This Tangram polygons forms from the ancient Chinese game is a sound-colorful trip through the essential elements of the world, with beautiful organic motion.(The inside artworks with the tangram mirrors beside are by the way perfect, but seem only to be found in the early vinyl version). I was always stuck by the subtle changes of the sequences at the end of set one just before the final orchestra, there is a strange harmonic relations that resonate still in me.
The analog pads in the beginning of set 2 are incredibly thick, hot like beautiful. Then the rhythmical pulse progressively changing is very clever and nicely syncopated, shaping in different form with powerful themes with lead guitar and synths. This makes us come to some more noisy weird transitions and another variation pulse re-appearing again to other soundscapes horizons. This also the opening album for Johannes Schmoelling who was one of the best performer that joined the band.

A main Album, a classic electro-acoustic album, even if the electronic part can seem more present, these moods remain very relaxed an still very melodic. A truly great Work from Tangerine Dream opening the last 20 years of the millennium that will also give big influences to so many artists around the world.
This is my review 31 years after my first listening of the original vinyl in 1980.

2011. Markus / France I've heard Tangram can cure a headache. I never have headaches, but from the beginning of the opening melodic sequence, the music certainly does something to me. If music can tell a great story, Tangram is the proof. The music is incredibly inspired, even without a literary source, unlike The Snow Goose by Camel, which was based on a children's story by Paul Gallico - Tangram has the same grandiose epic quality.
With the entrance of new member Johannes Schmoelling, a new epoch is marked to the band. The legendary Franke/Froese/Schmoelling trio managed to release oceans of records before Schmoelling's departure in 1985. Schmoelling was an organist and worked on theatrical music scores, as he was discovered by Froese. Schmoelling had a very important role with the change towards a more compositorical approach, resulting in abandoning the improvisations on the studio recorded album.
His first album with the band, consisted of only two tracks: Tangram set 1 and Tangram set 2. The first is nothing but sheer brilliance, the latter is a bit more different.

Tangram set 1 is almost symphonic composition-wise - a move made possible with the new polyphonic synths, which had sounds trustworthy enough to resemble a philharmonic orchestra. The highlight of the track is Froese's tormented guitar, mixed with the synth-figure which seems to be a criminal rip-off of the intro from Won't Get Fooled Again, as heard on the magnificent Who album, Who's Next from 1971.The track concludes with the usual, and calm solo pieces.
Tangram set 2 doesn't reach the same, almost classical status, but it is splendid, after all. I hear galloping and neighing synths. The beat reminds me of a train on railroad tracks, presumably the reason TD is such a good travelling companion, when it comes to music on your walkman!
This is the first time Tangerine Dream has been somewhat mechanical, but they do it with style. Even the acoustic 12-string sound sampled (something they did more and more in the future), as it plays the same two chords, repeatedly a couple of times. At the 10 minute mark, the Force Majeure intro returns, but things get into shape with a staccato synth, and suddenly one synth overlaps into another, creating the previously mentioned symphonic effect.
Suddenly, we're into a freaked-out piece, with samples of laughter, that almost bring us back to the psychedelic sixties. It sounds as if the Mellotron is back, too, but that very haunting ghost choir, could be sampled.
Apopros of nothing a synth breaks into the context, and ends the track in traditional TD manner.

Tangram was the perfect way to start a decade of high productivity, including artistic ups and downs. If Rubycon was the blue album of inexplicable complexity, Tangram was the red one.

Jacob Pertou Na dit prachtige album ben ik als trouwe TD-fan afgehaakt. Het is nooit meer goed gekomen.

2008. Renaat Mattheus / Vlaanderen This is one of the landmark TD albums. It was done shortly after Johanes Schmoelling joined TD, and it is the first of a series of exceptional albums that define the 'Schmoelling period' in TD's long and astonishing career.
Tangram is a transitional album that contains the 'best of both worlds', with TD still making concept music and with Schmoelling contributing his own creative ideas. True, this album is too polished, too precise, compared to Cyclone and Force Majeure, but it marks, after all, the beginning of the 80's.
I guess the beauty of Tangram lies in its consistency and continuity; and, yes, in its perfection! It is a beautiful work without weak points, meant to be listened to and enjoyed from beginning to end. I like both parts the same, although I give a slight preference to the introduction of part II, and to the 'creation' sequences halfway through part I.
Not really much else to say about this CD, comparable to White Eagle, Exit, Pergamon and Logos Live, except that, I would love to see TD, currently in decline, make this kind of electronic symphony music again.
But, all the same, I am glad that Tangram is there and I can enjoy it any time I want to!
It is, indeed, today's classical music.

2003. Aionios / Canada I remember hearing an excerpt from this not long after its release, on the 'Friday Rock Show'(BBC1, UK). It blew me away.
I'd just heard Ricochet, and had gone and bought it the next day. Two utterly classic albums from TD's great days. Very different in sound but very similar in presentation. Oh, why did they wander from the path? Some of the themes from Tangram appear on the East Berlin concert recording from ealier that year, which gives this a similar freshness to Ricochet.

For anyone wishing to sample TD from this era, this is one album to listen to, several times.

2009. SB / UK