Recorded 2005 at Eastgate Studios Vienna|
- Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares
- Movements of a Visionary
- Sequent C
Performed by Edgar Froese
T. Quaeschning - flute on track 4
When the album "Phaedra" hit the album charts worldwide back in 1974, no one had foreseen such a remarkable career of a new musical sound created by Tangerine Dream. All instruments were new and unknown to the audience. The sound itself was the opposite of all common music at those days. During the concerts the band created an uncomparable atmosphere. Now, more than 30 years later you can listen to the modern form of this classic recording. The material has been re-recorded by using partly the same kind instruments as on the original recording. Also the new digital technology has played a keyrole during various recording sessions. It was not the intension to please all the TD purists and analogue fans but you will have an idea of how the band is still connected to the style and trademark that has made them so original.
The additional title "Delfi" has been composed 2005 in the spirit of the seventies.
2005. Press information
It's almost hard to fathom that it was over 30 years ago when Tangerine Dream made history with their groundbreaking release "Phaedra". The album was partially responsible for changing electronic music as we know it and paved the way for the ambient and techno music that was to become popular decades later.
Now in 2005, TD-leader Edgar Froese has gone back and re-recorded the entire "Phaedra" album from scratch using the latest in musical technology along with some of the instruments used in the original recording. While nothing can take the place of the original 1974 album, "Phaedra 2005" offers a fresh perspective on a timeless classic.
The new version of the title track is an expansion of the arrangement first heard during Tangerine Dream's live concerts in 1988. The present version heard here runs for 11-minutes (six minutes shorter than the original 1974 version) and is centered around the fast-paced sequencer and simplistic melody that was the crucial part of the original. Unlike the 1974 which was mostly improvised in the studio, the 2005 version is a genuine composition with an outstanding arrangement.
"Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" is very similar to its original counterpart with its thick layers of mellotron and synth washes. There are some noticeable differences though especially with the additional mellotron flutes and modern synth sounds.
"Movements of a Visionary" retains the frentic sequencer pattern of the original while adding percussion and updated keyboard sounds while "Sequent C" features the prominent flute of Thorsten Quaeschning duplicating Peter Baumann's original recording with a slightly different twist.
"Sequent C" is also one minute longer here than the original version.
The new track "Delfi" is an excellent coda to the album with the sounds of today's TD mixed in with the musical ideas of the early days. It is essentially a rhythmic minimalist piece which doesn't go through many changes but still maintains a certain level of excitement with its driving rhythms and sequencers.
The big question about "Phaedra 2005" is - Was it really worth it to be re-recorded? The answer is "Absolutely". The original "Phaedra" and its 2005 redo are two distinct and different albums and should be treated as such. Like Stravinsky who was always revising some of his most famous works, Edgar Froese has every right to do the same (and has done so on many occasions) and in the end, has created an outstanding classic of what was already a classic to begin with. Definitely Recommended!
2005. Louie G. Bourland / USA
In connection with the announcement of this album, there was from my side, a great deal of skepticism concerning a re-recording of Phaedra - Tangerine Dream's biggest commercial success.
In the year of 2002 a moderately successful box set entitled The Melrose Years, featuring re-recordings of Optical Race, Lily On The Beach and Melrose, was released.
In the years of 2004-5 the entire solo production of Edgar Froese comprising the years 1974-1983 released, with the soundtrack to Fassbinders Kamikaze 1989 being the exception. These releases were acceptable, as some of the original albums are almost impossible to find, and if Edgar wanted to re-release them, he had to re-record, to avoid controversies with Virgin. By the way, I consider Edgar Froese's old solo albums a testground for new equipment, and an update was exciting. I jumped at the re-recordings of Epsilon In Malaysian Pale and Macula Transfer, otherwise I would have never heard those two classics.
In the year of 1974 Phaedra was released by Virgin Records, their first album on that label. It reached Gold status on the British charts, and many looks back upon it as an electronic milestone - righteously.
The original Phaedra is like all the other Virgin albums are, still easy to find, and one could marvel at the purpose of yet another re-recording.
Ironically, Jerome was heard on the original album, at a playground, at the end of the title track, but he didn't participate in the 31st anniversary recording, of that very album!
Nevertheless, the year of 2005 didn't see much collaboration between father and son. While Jerome used unheard long time to redefine his own sound on the outstanding Neptunes, Edgar's earlier visions of a true progressive band was replaced by (more or less successful) retrospects on the last 31 years - album wise that is. The best being his collaboration with Schmoelling on Kyoto, where a contemporary stamp was added to the 22 years old tapes. The worst example was Phaedra 2005, only recorded by Edgar Froese, and a little flute by Thorsten Quaeschning on Sequent C.
The project was almost doomed from the beginning, as you easily could pretend how the album would sound, when you already had heard some of the re-recordings of the aforementioned solo albums. It may sound like a paradox, as I find these albums alright. What I am trying to say, is that Phaedra from 1974, doesn't have the same status.
It's because Phaedra.. ...Isn't impossible to get. ...Not only is Edgar Froese, but also Peter Baumann and Chris Franke.
...is perfect and doesn't gain anything artistically relevant by a re-recording.
Edgar hasn't even dared to change anything on the originals. The title track is based upon the 1988-version, at that time a modern item on the Optical Race tour, here with the usual addition of unfocused synthpads - aka Tangentization. I wouldn't mind this layer being completely scrapped, because it would remind me of the version they performed, when I saw them at the Shepherds Bush Empire in 2005.
At this very concert, where they promised to perform the entire Phaedra live (they didn't), one could buy the ep called Space Flight Orange. This ep included the track called Jupiter Space Doors, which was built upon the same foundation. This track was remixed in the Dream Mixes genre, apparently by Jerome, and had more youthful vitality and nerve. Not a bad starting point, if works are to be updated!
Structurally, Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares sounds very unchanged, but the analogue sounds has, in comparison, been replaced by a tame digital sound. The version reminds me suspiciously a lot of the Tangents version!
Movements of a Visionary suffers from the same digital fate, but a rhythmic sound of a train on railroad tracks, reminiscent to Trans Europe Express by Kraftwerk, raises the level a bit.
Sequent C is the most successful of the re-recorded tracks, because Thorsten Quaeschning plays the flute, and adds a fresher approach, than the old, bilious Edgar Froese.
The bonus track is called Delfi, and the self-important Press Information claimed it to be written in a 70'es style. It is quite a good EM-track, but with a snag in the fact that it's just another track from the new production!
Phaedra was mostly like I expected it to be. Delfi was heard a few times on Edgar Froese's homepage, and only the three-minute track, called Sequent C, attracted some attention. Phaedra 2005 is easily enjoyable and listenable, but not necessary, honestly.
I think Edgar has changed his view on the old material quite sometimes. In a statement in 2003 he refused to do a 'wheelchair' version of Rubycon (i.e. performing Rubycon with old equipment) at the London gig .
At the same time a re-recording of Phaedra, the all time classic, could also be labeled 'wheelchair', if you interpret the word as 'uninspired' and 'not being creative to the originals'! A Rubycon 2007 might be in the melting pot?!?
2006. Jacob Pertou / Denmark
The original 1974 Phaedra was an epiphany for me and the repercussions from my first listening to this album shortly after release have stayed with me for life! The fact that so much of the original title track were improvised (the sequenced part at the beginning was apparently a slowed down bass "burble" that was slowed down to its component notes and brought into tune with Edgar's Mellotron I understand) gave it a spontaneous and almost dangerous quality that hasn't dated.
So what of this version then? I'd seen in a record shop a disc with Phaedra 1988 on it and at the time didn't buy it for one reason or another. However this re-make caught my interest and being such a fan of the original, which still gets played very regularly, I just had to buy it, despite various poor reviews elsewhere.
To be honest, I find any comparisons with the awsome original a bit insulting to it, so poor is the "new" treatment of the title track. The sequence is "wrong" and the simple theme totally incorrect to me; so much so that I wonder if Edgar had actually listened to the original before he recorded this. There's absolutely no atmosphere at all and it's all so rushed, clattering drums being the "climax" of the track rather than living, breathing sequencers rising in pitch and then repeating over and over before appearing to explode into delay.
It could be that the bare bones of this track were laying around on an old hard drive (or DAT tape) somewhere since '88 and this was edited and expanded upon for this version, I don't know........
The other tracks aren't so bad. Mysterious Semblance is largely similar to the original, with a minimum of tinkering. Movements' is quite an interesting update, the train track "percussion" adding to the grounded feel Edgar has introduced (although the original version is more "out there").
As for poor old Sequent c, the original is totally buried and the track is unrecognizable.
Delphi is ok I suppose but forgettable...
I almost feel insulted myself when listening to this CD and wish Edgar could have called it something else (in the spirit of Phaedra). In fact the Phaedra '05 mix on TD Plays TD sounds better to me.
If you prefer the nineties era TD then you will almost certainly disagree with my sentiments. If, on the other hand, you love the "analogue era" of this bands very long history, then you may feel as I do...........
2007. DSJR / UK
In reviews of retro/Berlin School cds regularly the phrase "Tangerine Dream-like sequences" comes by. I also make myself guilty of that. These sequences have made quite an impact on EM. TD started this on the cd "Phaedra" (1974). The sequences were produced by Chris Franke with the aid of a Moog sequencer. I am not sure if Franke can be called the "inventor of the sequencer sound", but he certainly was a pioneer. "Phaedra" ("Green Desert" not counting) was also the album on which TD introduced the sound that would dominate their forthcoming records: long stretched out sequences, many Mellotron sections, and a large amount of atmosphere. Though, personally, I prefer the next, more melodic albums "Rubycon" and "Ricochet" to "Phaedra", this album is absolutely a classic. For years it had become a habit of Edgar Froese to rework TD pieces and his own music. Almost all of his solo albums have been released in this form (in my opinion with varied results) and with "Phaedra 2005" he undertakes a complete TD album for the first time.
The title track is still often on the set list of their concerts, so this rework is not completely new. It is rather similar to the live versions. Opening with digital sounds, rhythms fall quickly in and the legendary sequence follows as well as the simple, but striking, melody. The track is shortened because the original lasts about 11 minutes. The experimental second part has been left out.
"Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares" has remained quite intact. This moody Mellotron piece is only accompanied with some modern sounds.
Another story "Movements Of A Visionary" is a calm sequencer work, with stereo-effects, filled up with some digital, percussive effects and the sound of a steam train. In the beginning, this annoys me a bit. The ambient sounds become strong at the end.
A new band member, Thorsten Quaeschning, plays the flute in "Sequent C". The diverse layers of flute provide an interesting new look on this piece.
The last track "Delfi" is a new composition in a "Phaedra" style. It starts strong with effects, a nice sequence and a strong melody. At a certain time rhythms are added, but happily these don’t become too lively because that wouldn’t fill in the context.
I can imagine that some fans will not be very happy with the "digitizing" of this classic, but I think Froese has done it with taste and respect for the original. So, for me, it can be called a successive project.