Review Summary: Another gorgeous outing with Tangerine Dream
Have you ever heard an album that felt exactly like riding your favorite roller coaster? With little warning, your whole psyche, your whole demeanor and your whole perspective on your surroundings is thrown into a loop as you’re taken up down and all around. There’s complete unpredictability throughout, each second is a rush of adrenaline, and the album as a whole is a welcome rush of blood through your veins.
Tangerine Dream’s Stratosfear
manages to do exactly that. One of the earlier albums driven by electronic synthesizers, it is more refined and carefully arranged than similar tracks being released today and maintains its age with grace. Like the other releases by Edgar Froese and company, the album navigates through all kinds of emotions, swerving effortlessly from sprawling, otherworldly harmonies to simple ambience. Using what was available at the time to literally invent sounds, part of Stratosfear
’s charm lies not only in its incredibly moving set of pieces, but with an instrument that is less than a decade old, what’s truly incredible is how effortlessly they manage to do so.
The album’s title track pushes us forward and wills us along for the journey, jogging ahead and willing us to keep pace. ‘The Big Sleep’ lulls and soothes, ‘3am’ gives us a deeper sense of the marshy and mysterious realm, but by sprinting through the finish, ‘Invisible Limits’ (famously sampled in DJ Shadow
) becomes the most memorable thing on the record. Each track is so separate and distinct, their very own decadent pieces, yet they manage to come together magnificently to tell a beautiful story in supernatural form.
One of the few qualms one can have with the album is that it struggles to truly distinguish itself against Tangerine Dream’s incredible 1970s catalog. Whereas Phaedra
and to an extent Rubycon
had greater wow factor that at times made life itself stand still, Stratosfear
is content to bring you alongside it. And just as if walking hand in hand with a close friend through a new adventure, Stratosfear