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Stratosfear

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 12, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Tangerine Dream hit the U.S. charts again with this 1977 LP, which gave piano and guitar (not to mention harmonica and harpsichord) equal billing with the synths and effects. The hypnotizing title piece joins Invisible Limits; The Big Sleep in Search of Hades , and more!
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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30
10:37
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4:28
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8:49
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 12, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B00000DR5J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,578 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In 1975, I was still in college with my most recent subscription Rolling Stone in my lap, when I noticed a curious advertisement.
It pictured a black box on a floor. On the side of the cube that could not be seen from "camera" angle, the box was opening, throwing a ghastly light on a woman, cringing wide-eyed and screaming, perched atop a chair in her throws of agony.
The caption read: "There Is No Escape From A Tangerine Dream."
Of course, this was "the" announcement for Stratosfear and the introduction proper to the USA of the German band. Curiosity got the best of me, and with no inclination what-so-ever, I took a slash! I plunked my hard-earned money down and took home The Dream, and I've been with her ever since. Up to that point, the earlier albums (phaedra and the progenitors) were only available as "import" albums, at least in my cow-college town in eastern Washington state.
I have to say, I've been entranced reading almost every review for all these "old" and "new" TD albums here. It has been quite entertaining, especially the divisions between the old fans and the newer, in what they like. Franke-ly (pun-intended, I missed his leaving), I like them all! Each incarnation of TD has something new and creative to offer, and at my age, if I don't keep an open mind, and enjoy new flavors of the month, then I might as well just lock myself in my room with my Beatles, James Taylor, and Pink Floyd records and never come out.
For those of you actually reading this review, here's what I really have to say. Start your Dream collection with this CD. Then work your way slowly in both directions (before and after).
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Format: Audio CD
In the 1970s, each new Tangerine Dream album seemed destined to redefine the band anew. Their fourth album for Virgin, "Stratosfear", was no exception. Released in 1976, this album saw the band departing from their previous explorative and improvisatory style, moving instead towards a style more readily associated with the world of pop music. In short, the album proved once and for all to those doubting souls that the band members were perfectly capable of writing a catchy tune if they wanted to! For there is absolutely no shortage of tunes on this disc, all of them highly memorable, from the brash and aggressive synthesiser lead of the title track, right through to the closing lilting mellotron line of 'Invisible Limits'.
The general sound world is rather different from earlier Tangerine Dream albums too: something that is obvious from the very opening, with its gentle guitar introduction. For although the earlier hallmark swept filter treatments are still very much in evidence throughout the disc, this album uses many more synthesiser voices that are imitative of traditional instruments (albeit usually with a new twist) than can be found on earlier TD albums. Whereas previously the extension of the sound world into new and previously unexplored realms was the main aim, here the band is clearly more concerned with the traditional musical elements of harmony and counterpoint - as well as with a somewhat punchier presentation.
Not that there is anything the slightest bit traditional about the music on this disc, mind. All four tracks here are routed firmly in the world of 1970's synthesiser music. They are all good strong compositions with a nice amount of variety of pace, mood and style.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a great album released in 1976 that shows the band weaving aspects of psychedelic rock into their electronic compositions.

The musicians on Stratosfear comprise the classic TD lineup and include Chris Franke (mini-moog, Hammond organ, percussion, loop mellotron, and harpsichord); Edgar Froese (mellotron, mini-moog, 6 & 12 string guitars, grand piano, bass guitar, harmonica); and Peter Baumann (mini-moog, Project electronic rhythm computer, Fender electric piano, and mellotron). Just a quick scan of the instrumentation indicates that this is a mellotron-heavy album with instruments typically associated with a rock band, e.g. guitars, bass guitar, and (believe it or not) a harmonica. Trust me, they do a great job of making the harmonica sound "otherworldy" and eerie and it fits right in with the generally creepy mood of the album.

The individual tracks are somewhat short by TD standards and range in length from 4'32" to 11'35". My general impression of the overall sound is that along with the brooding electronica, there is a bit more of a psychedelic feel to the tracks (especially The Big Sleep in Search of Hades). Specifically, there are times when the music sounds like the dreamier moments of late 1960s Pink Floyd...the track Julia Dream comes to mind in fact. This has a lot to with the instrumentation, which includes passages of bass guitar, acoustic piano/Hammond organ (with minute modulations in minor keys a la Rick Wright) harpsichord, heavily echoed mellotron (with flute setting), and soft electric guitar. Of course this is a Tangerine Dream album however, and the psych passages pretty much take a back seat to the pulsating and brooding electronic soundscapes that made them famous. I just love the combination though.

All in all this is yet another wonderful album by Tangerine Dream and is highly recommended along with all of their albums released from 1970-1980.
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