TANGERINE DREAM - MALA KUNIA
EASTGATE / CUP OF MUSIC
Released November 16th 2014
As Edgar Froese (pronounced 'frozz-ah') remarked at the end of the debut concert of The Quantum Years performed in Melbourne on 16/11/14, “I am the one responsible for all this, from 47 years ago”- or words to that effect, as he was overcome with emotion and having trouble articulating.
Should we really be surprised at the fact this concert drew such a massive audience.
More surprising was the huge range of ages, and the fact that half the audience were woman.
It must be said, despite the pulverizing volume of the performance, very few punters left before the end. Believe me, it was chest-crushing loud, but absolutely crystal clear. A sonic as well as a visceral pleasure.
Oh! how those fans on the standing-room level downstairs swayed, bopped and boogied to those beautiful, implacable rhythms. As Country Joe McDonald once suggested, electric music for the mind and body.
We oldies in the balcony chose the sweet seats, and if you could take your eyes off the visual spectacle long enough, could clearly hear the sonic tricks that had the sound bouncing back and forth and side to side.
To coincide with this performance, we had the release of the new so-called Cupdisc (or E.P.) - 'MALA KUNIA'. What modesty, to call a 55 minute album a mere E.P.
In fact, this is being introduced with the promise that it is but a fraction of a larger work due for release in 2015. We should be so lucky.
The visit to Melbourne served to introduce both the new lineup, and the album.
The new members are from right;
THORSTEN QUAESCHNING- keyboards. ULRICH SCHNAUSS - keyboards and electronic percussion. HOSHIKO YAMANE - keyboards, pads, electric violin, cello. and on the left side, Edgar.
The album features four tunes composed by Edgar, and three co-written pieces. The title reflects an interest Edgar has in the culture of the Indigenous People of Australia.
This time, the inspiration is drawn from the DREAMTIME mythology of the two tribes believed to have inhabited the ULURU region. The 'MALA' tribe were the people of the sun, and claimed the eastern locale as their stamping ground. The 'KUNIA' lived in the western locale, and were thought to be a people of the shadows.
The song titles are all related to this thematic link.
The album leads with 'SHADOW AND SUN' - thus encompassing the main theme. A shimmer of reversed tapes fades into a vintage propulsive sequencer line, with splashes of synth, incidental sounds, and percussion. It fades out on a skittish sequencer line. A fine opener.
'MADAGASKUNIA' depicts the people of the sun. The high melody lines strongly suggest wide, blue horizons. Punctuated with very metallic-sounding piano chord stabs, and electronic twitterings that conjure the birds in flight. Quite lovely.
'MADAGASMALA' reflects, of course, the people of the 'shadow'.
It starts with a slow 'tribal' percussive beat played on the synth. Various synth. lines again conjure the open spaces, but this one has a more dramatic, perhaps darker feel to it. The appearance of chiming chords ushers in a section in double time, which lifts the mood markedly. Synthesized bell peels echo the melody line. It falls back into the initial rhythm for the concluding section.
'BEYOND ULURU' starts with shuffling percussion from under which drone lines emerge. This is an excellent piece and using as it does, some classic TANGS voicings, and could easily sit on any of the mid-Virgin Years albums. Some of the percussion reminds me strongly of the percussion on Peter Gabriels' 'PASSION' album.
'VISION OF THE BLUE BIRDS' kicks in with percussive strike, and moves into a richly detailed sound field punctuated with stuttering keyboard lines and an evolving rhythm. I know they are not blue, but damned if the rhythm line did have me picturing brolgas in their mating dance.
'SNAKE MEN'S DANCE AT DAWN' arrives with the sound of message sticks etching out the beat. The washes of sound that move in over the top are strongly linked to this beat. Some of the 'patches' sound very early vintage, and a welcome return they are.
'POWER OF THE RAINBOW SERPENT' closes the album. This is the most 'urban' sounding selection on the album. For me, it conjured images of Euro-centricity, not the outback. So, maybe a miss on that score, but it remains a very beautiful piece, and I would suggest it brings the listener back into Tangerine Dream Central.
A welcome and comforting stop after this sonic rendering of the DreamTime.
Produced and performed by TANGERINE DREAM, with mastering by regular live album colleague, Harald Pairits, this album suggest that Edgar may be on the verge of a late summer, career wise. He has been quoted as saying three more years, and then rest. If this standard is maintained, he may be exiting on a high note.
A walking encyclopedia of music, David’s broad music knowledge is a valued member to the team. Without music, there would be no HiFi. Look out for his words on current, past and future music, as well as album reviews.