Peter Baumann: Romance ’76 (1976)

Kronomyth 1.0: BICENTANGENTIAL. The funny thing is, I was totally into this record when I first heard it in 2002 (about 25 years after the fact). The solo Tangerine Dream albums had been pretty boring up to that point, which for me consisted mostly of a motley assortment of Froese, Franke and Schulze discs. Then I heard Haslinger’s World Without Rules, Froese’s Stuntman, and now I’m not so in love with Romance ’76. It’s still a solid solo album that puts Peter Baumann on a level with co-creators Franke and Froese which, as the “cute” one in Tangerine Dream, may come as a surprise to some. Yet it’s not the rich world of discovery it might have been. What first struck me as the disc’s directness now seems slightly superficial; the classically influenced “Meadow of Infinity” appears a poor man’s Carmina Baumana in spots, while the opening “Bicentennial Present” feels unfinished. Of course, in a dark room with headphones, Romance ’76 is an interesting experience. So are any number of Klaus Schulze discs. So is an electric clock. I’m not retracting my favorable opinion of this album, or the fact that it’s still better than I expected from the ostensibly “junior” member of Tangerine Dream (Franke is actually a few months younger), I’m simply inching away from my original “best TD solo album you’ve never heard” review (which you can still read at All Music Guide). Stylistically, the first side sounds like contemporary Tangerine Dream scaled down (“Bicentennial Present”) or Grosses Vater (“Romance,” and that would be a reference to Cluster’s Grosses Vasser), while the second side is a mix of classical and electronic music that isn’t likely to overshadow the work of Igor Stravinsky anytime soon but has its share of interesting shadows suitable for dark rooms. Since I have heard Repeat Repeat (sub-Numan nonsense) and suspect Strangers is a repeat of the same, Romance ’76 and Trans Harmonic Nights represent the bulk of Baumann’s solo work, with this record the most likely to please Tangerine Dream classicists (i.e., fans of the band’s 1970s output).

Original LP Version
A1. Bicentennial Present (4:46)
A2. Romance (6:02)
A3. Phase by Phase (7:35)
B1. Meadow of Infinity (Part One) (5:10)
B2. The Glass Bridge (3:27)
B3. Meadow of Infinity (Part Two) (5:43)

All tracks written by Peter Baumann.

The Players
Peter Baumann (instruments, mixing) with H. Baumann (conductor on B1), members of The Philharmonic Orchestra Munich (B1). Produced by Peter Baumann; mixed by Ottmar Bergler.

The Pictures
Cover by Cooke-Key Associates London. Make up by Mary Hillman.

The Plastic
Released on elpee in September 1976 in Germany (Virgin, 28 311 XOT), the UK (Virgin, V2069), the US (Virgin, PZ-34897), France (Virgin, 2473 713) and Japan (Virgin, YX-7173-VR). Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Virgin, VIP-6917). Re-issued on compact disc in 1990 in the UK (Virgin, CDV 2069). Re-issued on elpee in 2016 in the EU (Bureau B, 007589). Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 2016 in the UK (Esoteric Reactive, EREACD 1034).

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