Tangerine Dream
Rubycon


5.0
classic

Review

by e210013 USER (259 Reviews)
March 11th, 2024 | 18 replies


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A great work from the band. Probably the peak of their career.

“Rubycon” is the sixth studio album of Tangerine Dream that was released in 1975. The line up on the album is Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann.


Tangerine Dream is one of the most influential progressive electronic groups of all time. Despite their clear psychedelic influences, they were never really a true psychedelic outfit. They became more a natural partner of their countrymen band Kraftwerk, in spite of the natural musical differences of both bands. Tangerine Dream was the founder of the Progressive Electronic sub-genre and Kraftwerk was the founder of the Tecno Music. The music of Tangerine Dream has made an enormous impact on ambient, new age, techno, trance, prog rock, as well as modern film score composition. They’re responsible for the release of almost a hundred of studio albums and more than fifty live albums.

“The Virgin Years” of Tangerine Dream began with “Phaedra” and “Rubycon”. Tangerine Dream’s debut for Virgin, “Phaedra”, is rightfully regarded as one of their definitive classics. “Phaedra” showed that their musical expression had evolved and progressed without losing any of the depth and mysticism of their earlier best works. The most noticeable new feature in their sound was the inclusion of complex, sequenced electronic rhythm patterns that slowly evolved and changed shape underneath the atmospheric sounds of Moogs, Mellotrons, flute and lots of electronic equipments.

So, after “Phaedra”, how could Tangerine Dream follow up an album that not only had been an unexpected international breakthrough, but also one of their definitive artistic achievements? It was an easy thing. They just further perfected the previous formula of that album, and came up with not just their most perfect work but perhaps also the best album of this entire sub-genre. “Rubycon” is, like “Phaedra”, an album that marks the transition from the “cosmic music” of their earlier years to the sequencer-emphasized music of the middle and late 70’s. On “Rubycon” both components are masterfully combined, from the long, rhythm and melody-free introduction, in which free noises are gradually displaced by powerful inserts of the Mellotron, through a sequencer-dominated part, to the free final part, which is a very distinctive thing. “Rubycon” is one of the few albums where you can say that not a second is mediocre or wasted. It’s a peak as high as the band possibly ever could reach. It was their first album consisting of just one forty minute long track that only was broken up by the two sides of the vinyl record. “Rubycon” offers two long sound paintings, which consist of free constructions of various electronic sound sources and repetitive sequencing loops rhythmically shaped sections, which in turn are underlaid with the wobble, hiss, wave and boom of the same electronic sound sources.

“Rubycon” is an album that commenced precisely where “Phaedra” ended. It starts with a lot of atmospheric and mellow soundscapes performed on the Mellotron and the synthesizers. After a while the sequencers start which provide for pleasant rhythms. The frequent organ and piano parts move strongly towards the sound that Pink Floyd produced on “Meddle”. It has some sounds where the mood alternates between dark and light, before it beautifully and graciously rises up toward a grandiose and haunting part with some fantastic atmospheres that in a dream take us to the ocean. It quiets down after a while, and starts to build up some tension to prepare us for the sequenced part. Together with eerie Mellotrons, distorted piano-chords and droning organs, the electronic sequenced rhythms carry you away in the same dreamlike state as “Phaedra” did. The second part of “Rubycon” starts rather mysteriously and mellow, but gets into higher gear by the use of sequencers. It begins quite dark and sinister, with an almost metallic, gloomy tone dragging up and down that evolves into a spooky Mellotron-choir in the same tone. The part with the sequenced rhythms is a bit more dramatic and energetic here than on the first side, and features some effective backwards guitar from Froese. The sequencer part ends in something that sounds like electronic swells toward the shore. The finale is a bit brighter, consisting of Mellotron-flute around dreamy and mysterious synths that conjure up images of light. The music is magic.


Conclusion: “Rubycon” is like “Phaedra”, an impressive work from the experimental early phase and the sequencer heavy time in the middle of the 70’s, but oriented a little further towards the later. The Moog synth is used more often than on its predecessor, which makes the soundscapes appear more structured overall. Of course, the impression of uniformity also comes from the fact that there are only two pieces with the same theme. The free form parts that are still available appear more mature and sophisticated than their predecessors. “Rubycon” is a standard work of the Berlin School. If you are interested in electronic music you should check it, and its predecessor “Phaedra”. People who want to find whether they like such “futuristic music” must check it too. This is one of the best, Tangerine Dream’s albums.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
March 11th 2024


5311 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It’s really hard for me to choose what the better album of Tangerine Dream is. With a band with more than 100 studio albums it’s clearly difficult to do that. However, I’ve no doubt in choosing what my three favourite studio works of them are. They are, probably by this order, “Ricochet”, “Rubycon” and “Phaedra”. Yeah, I know that some of you will say that “Ricochet” isn’t a true studio album. Technically that is true. The album was really recorded live. But, what is also true is that “Ricochet” is a completelly new work.

But, beyond that, what really is imporatnt is that “Rubycon” is an impressive work, one of the best made in this kind of music. It was made in the golden era of the band, and became a trully classic electronic prog work.

Check it for the first time or revisit it. But what is really important is that you can enjoy it. The great classics never die.



Jethro42
March 11th 2024


18281 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stratosfear is the one I've listened to the most. I don't have any favorite ones.

Pikazilla
March 11th 2024


30446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

slaps

parksungjoon
March 11th 2024


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

timeless

e210013
March 12th 2024


5311 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Stratosfear is the one I've listened to the most."

Yeah and I can see why Jethro. It's an album easier to check more times than this one or "Phaedra". "Stratosfear" is also one of their albums which I return to more often.

e210013
March 12th 2024


5311 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm glad that you also love this album, Pika.

e210013
March 12th 2024


5311 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I completely agree park. This is indeed a true timeless work.

TheIntruder
March 14th 2024


779 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I need to check more albums of this group. I never checked much attention to them. I am only familiar with Ricochet and Sorcerer due to the reviews of you and Divaman. So, I think its is time to spend some more time with them. So I am gonna follow with this one. Meanwhile nice review thought. Pos.

parksungjoon
March 14th 2024


47235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

if you like those two you will most likely love this, phaedra and stratosfear



earlier material is quite a bit different in what its trying to do

Rowhaus
March 14th 2024


6263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is quite the fun little trip. Been meaning to revisit this group.

TheIntruder
March 14th 2024


779 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the tips parksungjoon.

Rowhaus
March 14th 2024


6263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Part 2 is basically the GTA V five-star wanted level soundtrack

e210013
March 14th 2024


5311 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You really need to check and pay more attention to this great band, Intruder. I agree with park with the recommendation of those albums. Anyway, all their albums that belong to the Virgin Years are all very interesting to check, I mean the albums since "Phaedra" to "Hyperborea". And you musr check too the albums of the first period, especially "Alpha Centauri", "Zeit" and "Atem". These three works are linked with their pshychedelic phase, "The Pink Years.

e210013
March 14th 2024


5311 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, Row, do that. Listen to this band is really a great fun trip, at least for me.

TheIntruder
March 14th 2024


779 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for your tips too, e21.

hobblepot
March 15th 2024


2947 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is probably my favourite album of all time, no cap

e210013
March 15th 2024


5311 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice hobblepot. Thanks for share your opinion with us on my review about this great work.

TheIntruder
March 22nd 2024


779 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Rubicon is a masterpiece. So, 5.0.



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