TANGERINE DREAM – CHALK, BRIGHTON 23.3.22
The New York Times have referred to Tangerine Dream as “The world’s leading synth band”. This is a really bold statement when you think of the likes of Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode to name just two. But clearly with this German electronic music group being founded in West Berlin in as early as 1967, they might just have a point.
Thanks to local promoters Atom Presents, Tangerine Dream are this evening playing live in Brighton at the popular Chalk They are making a rare appearance here in the city in order to showcase material from the past five decades as well as highlighting their 2022 ‘Raum’ release. The tour has been going under the banner of ‘Tangerine Dream – From Virgin To Quantum Years 2022’ and tonight is date 16 and the closing night.
It is the first time that they have played the venue, having previously played Brighton Dome on at least four occasions – 8th November 1974, 10th June 1976, 17th October 1981 and 24th March 1986.
Despite a number of rotating members over the years, the band has achieved ongoing success. After releasing a huge number of records throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Tangerine Dream ultimately became synonymous with the “New Age” music genre.
Electronic music aficionados were gathered here in quiet anticipation for the forthcoming two and a half hour sound-and-light spectacle, which was to be filled with lush soundscapes, atmospheric synth sequences and ambient layers that were to spill out across the whole venue.
As anticipated there was no crowd barrier in operation this evening. Prior to the band taking to the stage the soundsystem was just playing the sound of waves crashing instead of music.
The stage lights dimmed at 7:20pm and a trio of musicians took to the stage. Thorsten Quaeschning was centre and thus masterminding the performance and to his left was Paul Frick and on the opposite side of the stage was Hoshiko Yamane.
There were no less than 16 vertical tube lights spread across the wide stage at varying levels, as well as a trio of searchlights and a duo of upward pointing mainly red circle lights that were controlled from the back of the venue by Fink. Nondescript videos were projected onto the rear of the stage for the duration of the show, but these were partly obscured by a fabulous bank of what seemed miles of wires and flashing lights from the electronic equipment. This was a rather impressive setup for such a compact venue. It certainly looked like they had brought the whole studio with them, just like Kraftwerk used to back in the day.
Thorsten said “Good evening Brighton” and we were off on a fantastic journey. You could have heard a pin drop as the crowd eagerly waited in anticipation as to what compositions they were going to be served. I strongly suspect that no two nights of the tour were musically the same, which was rather refreshing.
I had taken up position right at the front and ‘Stratosfear’ from their 1976 ‘Stratosfear’ album was the opener for this evening. It was fascinating standing there resting on the stage watching the trio busing themselves. It was astounding as to how they all recalled which notes to play and which knobs to twiddle. It’s like watching the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Jean-Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk all rolled into one.
Thorsten was wearing his coat and scarf for the evening and would occasionally play the notes of his Manikin Electronic Memotron or Moog keyboard and then lean over it towards the transfixed motionless crowd and smirk at us as in “Here you go, take that!”. And indeed we did! He would orchestrate Hoshiko and Paul simply with his gazing eyes and eyebrows, as well as the occasional subtle slight nod.
Tangerine Dream’s music does not contain any singing and just two of the seventeen selected numbers had sampled vocals. There is certainly no idle banter with this lot. They let the music do the talking and it was track after track with no fillers. In fact there was no communication towards us until the set had concluded.
Hoshiko was dressed in black and her main instrument was her Yamaha electric violin (or it could have been an electric viola) which she would caress with her bow whilst adjusting the sound with her foot via the bank of pedal boards. At times, she reminded me of Nash The Slash, but nowhere near as manic as he was.
Paul in his dark jacket was engrossed in his Korg D1 Digital Piano, Korg Electribe Sampler and other equipment.
The music performed this evening ranged from the title track from the 1974 ‘Phaedra’ album, right through to their current 2022 ‘Raum’ release, which included four numbers, the title track, ‘You’re Always On Time’, ‘Portico’ and the Orbital-esque ‘Continuum’.
As I looked around the room, I noticed a few souls standing there with their eyes closed shut. They were letting the music flow through their body and thus whisking them away to some enchanting otherplace. This soundscape would have been perfect at the Laserium (at the Planetarium adjoining the Madame Tussauds attraction) in London from 1977 to 1990. It was recognisable by its green dome and they used to put on lazer light shows there to similar music, such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Pink Floyd.
The sound as you would expect this evening was crisp clear during the whole performance, which commenced at 7:20pm and ran until 9:14pm, whereby the trio vacated the stage for two minutes, only to return and play live again until 9:52pm.
The music this evening in small parts reminded me of Jean-Michel Jarre, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Kitaro, John Foxx and late 80s Depeche Mode. All of which I have previously seen live, whereas this evening was my debut encounter with Tangerine Dream and I for one am very pleased that I attended tonight. It was an honour to be standing about 10 feet away from pure geniuses. Every selected number had multiple layers of sounds, which you could listen to on many separate occasions and yet still find something new hidden within their depths. I would love to see them live again at some stage in the future.
Thorsten finally took to the mic after they had finished and stated that this has been the best tour he has had with Tangerine Dream.
Tangerine Dream tonight are:
Thorsten Quaeschning – bandleader, music director, synthesizer, sequencer, drums, guitar (2005–present) Recording engineer; (2003–2005)
Hoshiko Yamane – acoustic violin, electric viola, electric violin, cello, Ableton Push controller, looper, synthesizer (2011–present)
Paul Frick – synthesizer, piano (2020–present, guest: 2018-2020)
Tangerine Dream setlist:
‘Stratosfear’ (from 1976 ‘Stratosfear’ album)
‘Dolphin Dance’ (from 1986 ‘Underwater Sunlight’ album)
‘Betrayal (Sorcerer Theme)’ (from 1977 ‘Sorcerer’ abum)
‘Continuum’ (from 2022 ‘Raum’ album)
‘The Dream Is Always The Same’ (found on 1984 ‘Risky Business’ (soundtrack album)
‘Kiew Mission pt.1′ (from 1981 ‘Exit’ album)
‘Raum’ (from 2022 ‘Raum’ album)
‘It Is Time To Leave When Everyone Is Dancing’ (from 2017 ‘Quantum Gate’ album)
‘Love On A Real Train (Risky Business)’ (found on 1984 ‘Risky Business’ (soundtrack album)
‘You’re Always On Time’ (from 2022 ‘Raum’ album)
‘Choronzon’ (from 1981 ‘Exit’ album)
‘Los Santos City Map’ (from 2020 ‘Recurring Dreams’ album)
‘Tangram, Set I’ (from 1980 ‘Tangram’ album)
‘Portico’ (from 2022 ‘Raum’ album)
‘Ricochet’ (inc Paul Frick ‘Piano Intro’)
‘White Eagle’ (from 1982 ‘White Eagle’ album)
‘Phaedra’ (from 1974 ‘Phaedra’ album)
(Outro track) ‘Tangerine’ by Frank Sinatra
What others have said about Tangerine Dream:
“…an organic, ever-shifting and evolving sonic structure…” – The Guardian
“After 51 years, and some changes of cosmic address, Tangerine Dream are still Tangerine Dreaming.”- The Quietus
“The Egyptians, the Aztecs and the ancient Irish all thought that the right combination of notes would cause stones to levitate. Tangerine Dream must have had something like this in mind.” – New Musical Express
“T.Dream or not T.Dream? – They have made the music the star of the show, not the musicians and not the means of making the music. A new creative energy.”– John Peel/BBC London
“They are far away from any conventional music philosophy …” – David Bowie
“Tangerine Dream was a big inspiration, specifically their work ‘Rubycon” – Daniel Miller and Alan Wilder/ Depeche Mode
To find out more about Tangerine Dream visit their ‘linktree’ HERE and continue reading below……..
Additional reading – Background information on the band:
Tangerine Dream are an electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese in Berlin.
Their ground-breaking record ‘Phaedra’, released in 1974, reached gold status in the UK, and was the band‘s first success on the Virgin Records label to whom they had recently signed. The recording became a milestone in electronic music. Over the last 55 years, Tangerine Dream released more than one hundred albums. Their early ‘Pink Years‘ albums had a pivotal role in the development of Krautrock. Their ‘Virgin Years’ albums helped define what became known as the Berlin School of electronic music. These and later albums were influential in the development of electronic dance music.
Although the group released numerous studio and live recordings, a substantial number of their fans were introduced to Tangerine Dream by their film soundtracks, which total over sixty and include ‘Sorcerer’ (William Friedkin), ‘Thief’ (Michael Mann), ‘Risky Business’, ‘The Keep’, ‘Firestarter’, ‘Legend’ (Ridley Scott), ‘Near Dark’, ‘Shy People’, and ‘Miracle Mile’. In 2013, Tangerine Dream composed the original score for Rockstar’s video game ‘Grand Theft Auto V’.
After Edgar Froese’s death in 2015, Tangerine Dream’s line-up tonight now consists of Thorsten Quaeschning (since 2005) as musical director, Hoshiko Yamane (since 2011) and Paul Frick (since June 2020). The band has now returned to the classic sequencer driven sound and ‘Quantum Gate’ (2017) is their best-selling album since 1987. Tangerine Dream a few years back they played live concerts at Dekmantel Festival Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Barbican Hall in London. Every performance ends with a live session, a real-time composition that can last from 20 minutes to two hours.
The latest studio album ‘Raum’ was released in 2022 and performed on their tour ‘From Virgin to Quantum Years 2021’.
Additional reading – The Musicians:
Thorsten Quaeschning, Berlin-based and classically trained musician (multi-instrumentalist besides piano/synthesizer) and composer, is a long-time member of Tangerine Dream since 2005. Shortly before Edgar Froese’s death in 2015, Edgar put him in charge as the Musical Director of the band. Thorsten and the new generation of Tangerine Dream composed the successful studio album ‘Quantum Gate’ on the basis of Edgar Froese’s musical sketches – released in 2017 and nominated for the Progressive Rock Award. Furthermore Thorsten also performs with his solo project Picture Palace Music and is writing film music as a soloist (Cargo).
Hoshiko Yamane is a Japanese Berlin-based classically trained violinist and composer. She has been a member of Tangerine Dream since 2011. After she graduated with the Master of Fine Arts in Japan, she moved to Berlin. She also graduated with a diploma in violin from the University of Music and Theater in Rostock, Germany. During her study she performed with the Brandenburgisches Staats-orchester. Hoshiko already collaborated with many renowned international artists like Jane Birkin. In 2013 she started her first electronic solo project (Tukico) and in 2017 she released her first solo album ‘A Story Of A Man’.
Paul Frick was born in 1979 in Berlin. He took composition classes from the age of twelve with Il-Ryun Chung. From 2000 to 2008 he studied composition with Friedrich Goldmann at Universität Der Künste Berlin. Together with Daniel Brandt and Jan Brauer he forms the group Brandt Brauer Frick. In August 2018 Paul Frick’s solo debut album ‘Second Yard Botanicals’ appeared on Apollo/R&S Records. Paul Frick joined Tangerine Dream in 2020.
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