[Review] Tangerine Dream: Electronic Meditation (1970)

The quark-gluon plasma of electronic music, representing a soupy state of quasi-classical music and experimental science.

Kronomyth 1.0: EM equals madness squared.

Scientists believe that, between the big bang and the creation of the worlds, matter existed in a soup-like plasma state. Electronic Meditation is its musical equivalent: a primordial soup of sound that would coalesce over time into Zeit, Atem, Phaedra. Taking their cue from the early noise collages of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream filters them through the classical structure (or non-structure, depending on how you see these things) of musique concrete to create a post-modern tone poem. The individual sections of Electronic Meditation morph together into one long piece featuring the same musical (?) elements including groaning cellos, electric guitars (plucked, scratched and sometimes played), organs, crashing drums, flutes and even broken glass.

In some ways, hearing this album is like discovering that the beacon of oddness from “Instellar Overdrive” is actually a star with its own solar system. There will be a tendency on the part of listeners at first to mistake Electronic Meditation as an experiment of accidents. It is, rather, chaos by design. The bass/cello, keyboards, guitars and drums are engaged in an alien dialogue from a shared manuscript. When order and calm emerge from chaos, as they do briefly during “Journey Through A Burning Brain” and “Ashes To Ashes,” a method to their madness also emerges. As a word of caution to later TD listeners, the album title is very misleading; there are no synthesizers or electronic instruments featured on the recording, and the music is anything but meditative. Instead, Tangerine Dream has recorded an orgy of sounds in a daunting and frightening musical opus.

Original LP Version

A1. Geburt (Genesis)
A2. Reise Durch Ein Brennendes Gehirn (Journey Through A Burning Brain)
B1. Kalter Rauch (Cold Smoke)
B2. Asche Zu Asche (Ashes To Ashes)
B3. Auferstehung (Resurrection)

Musik & manuskript by Edgar Froese, Conny Schnitzler, Claus Schulze.

The Players

Edgar Froese (6-saitige gitarre, 12-saitige gitarre, orgel, klavier, glasscherben), Conny Schnitzler (schlagwerk, peitsche, metalistabe, brennendes pergament), Claus Schulze (cello, geige, addiator, 2.gitarre). Produced by Hans Ulrich Weigel and Klaus Freudigmann.

The Plastic

Released on elpee in 1970 in Germany (Ohr, OMM 56004) and on elpee and red vinyl elpee in Japan (EMI Odeon, EOP-80618) with diecut gatefold cover.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in Germany (Ohr, 556 004* not sure which is reissue).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1972 in New Zealand (Interfusion, L-35450).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in 1976 in France (Virgin, 70051 red/green label).
  4. Re-issued on elpee, cassette and compact disc in 1987 in the US (Relativity, 8068-1/4/2).
  5. Re-released on remastered compact disc in the UK (Jive Electro, CTANG-4).
  6. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 1996 in the US (Sequel, 1032-2).
  7. Re-issued on elpee in 1999 in the UK (Essential, ESMLP-345).
  8. Re-issued on remastered compact disc in 2002 in the UK (Castle Music, CMRCD565).
  9. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 2005 in the UK (Earmark, 42020).
  10. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on March 26, 2012 (Reactive) and in Japan (Arcangelo, ARC-7045).

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