Wednesday, December 16, 2015

rubycon / ricochet / sorcerer

Tangerine Dream crossed into a new paradigm with the threefold divergences of studio sophistication, improvisational expressiveness, and cinematic soundscapes.   After four albums (Electronic Meditation  in 1970,  Alpha Centauri in 1971,  Zeit  in 1972,  and Atem in 1973) on the German Ohr label, the trio found a larger audience  in 1974 with Phaedra their first album on the British Virgin Records.  They returned to The Manor Studio in the village of Shipton-on-Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England, north of the city of Oxford  with  Edgar Froese on guitar, bass, organ, Mellotron, piano, percussive objects, gong, Moog, synthesizer, string ensemble, sequencer, electronics, computer, drum programming, drums, harmonica, vocals, and accordion;  Peter Baumann on synthesizer, organ, electric piano, and vibraphone;  and  Jerome Froese on guitar, keyboards, drums, and percussion.  

Edgar Froese:   "When the band walked into the Manor for the second time, we were weighed down by the success of 'Phaedra'. There was a pressure to 'do it again' but one has to point out that Simon Draper and Richard Branson at Virgin did not pressure us to be commercial. The attitude was that Tangerine Dream could do whatever they wanted on record, which was a very unusual practice for a record company. The recording of 'Rubycon' was a very floating process. Unlike the 'Phaedra' production there was never a break in the creative flow. The band had been on tour for most of the previous year and was now hot to spend a month working on new music. Because of the commercial success of 'Phaedra' the sequencers could now be technically better equipped. At that time this branch of technology was fairly unknown and any technical alterations had to be custom-built. This was a very extensive undertaking and most of our 'Phaedra' earnings went into new equipment...I had orchestral instruments recorded by the BBC for my mellotron, at the time a very luxurious thing to do. One can hear an oboe on 'Rubycon Part 2' as well as numerous string sections and horns. The biggest problem, however, was the inconstant power supply at the Manor. At the time there were electrical problems throughout the Oxford region and sometimes the power was cut off for two to three hours at a time. We had to interrupt recording sessions when this happened or conect our synths to electrical generators. Chris's Moog often played completely random sequences because of the unstable electrical current driving the oscillators. It was a crazy situation. When we finished recording there were twelve hours of music from which to mix the final master."

full album:

"Rubycon, Part One" – 17:18
"Rubycon, Part Two" – 17:35

4th October 1975, Coventry Cathedral

Their first live album 'Ricochet' was culled together from a series of concerts in France and the UK with additional recording done in the studio.  Chris Franke:   "The concerts were much too long to use in one context. We had to edit about forty or fifty hours of music, kilometres of tape to find the most important parts, the most typical things of us. We were very satisfied with the results...Ricochet is probably my favourite, because it proved that when we create live music, it is always different. When we create in the studio we pursue particular directions and we experiment, and it becomes more polished, but somehow the live work remains more classic. Ricochet still says something to me...Ricochet was the first album we really had a concept on. We had sixteen tracks, so it was the first album where we really got in touch with overdub technology -- it was much more formed".


full album:

1. "Ricochet, Part One"   17:02
2. "Ricochet, Part Two"   21:13

Much of "Ricochet, Part Two" was taken from this show:  

October 23, 1975
Fairfield Halls (Croydon)

00:00 - Part One (20.31)
20:35 - Part Two (30.15)
50:50 - Part Three (10.54)

At the end of the year, they also began working on their first movie soundtrack, marking the beginning of one of their primary creative outlets.  

Froese recalls: "Sorcerer was recorded on an old 8-track Ampex in Berlin. It was one of the four machines that were in Abbey Road Studios in London, and which were sold after the Beatles era. We had rented an old movie theatre in Berlin, and made a small studio out of it. The Moog was very useful, and by this stage we were quite versed in its use. We also used a Fender Rhodes piano, guitars, and even Revox tape machines as delay units".

Franke: "William Friedkin had heard our music in Los Angeles. He rang up and said he liked it, that it was innovative and new, and that he'd like to do a film with it. He was interested in having the music playing for the actors on set. We felt very independent -- it was just us in a room in Berlin, with an 8-track and the script".

full album

All songs written and composed by Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke, Peter Baumann.

1. "Main Title"   5:28
2. "Search"   2:54
3. "The Call"   1:57
4. "Creation"   5:00
5. "Vengeance"   5:32
6. "The Journey"   2:00
7. "Grind"   3:01
8. "Rain Forest"   2:30
9. "Abyss"   7:04
10. "The Mountain Road"   1:53
11. "Impressions Of Sorcerer"   2:55
12. "Betrayal (Sorcerer Theme)"   3:38

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