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  • Zeit
  • Customer Reviews



on January 15, 2011
Tangerine Dream's "Zeit" is the best ambient music album I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Its musical soundscapes are mind-blowing. They range in ambiance from the sedate to the insistent. Though each of the four tracks runs nearly twenty minutes, they never lose their intensity as they explore their separate themes to the full, leaving the listener satiated and (in my case at least) smiling.

How to describe this kind of music--everybody brings something different to it...the music blows electronic bubbles that drift through your mental horizons, sometimes tickling your brain, other times gently carrying your mind to distant shores, and still other times challenging you with eerie soundbursts. "Zeit" is best heard in a quiet room with headphones on, because there is a lot going on here that will reward you only on multiple listenings. Depending on your own mood, you may even perceive the songs differently as you listen to them repeatedly.

In short, I never get tired of this album. If you like ambient music with a dark feel to it, I predict you will love "Zeit."
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on July 2, 2003
One reviewer said that this album is like a black hole that sucks you in, and I can say that I completely agree with that...
I'm most fond of TD's albums Phaedra, Rubycon, and Ricochet, so this album took a little more getting used to. First of all, it's a LOT darker than anything else that I've heard from them. The second track features throbbing organs, and in the middle of it, some weird gurgling sound that freaked me out the first time that I was listening to it. (Well, I do have to admit, it was in my bedroom, late at night with only a red light shining, so the creepiness factor was at a definate high.) Secondly, Zeit is much slower than anything else that they've done. I'd compare it to giant planets moving about in the cosmos, slowly rotating and floating. Finally, this is without a doubt the most uncommercial thing that these guys have ever done. If you're not in the appropriate frame of mind for listening to this album (you've got to be sitting down, relaxed and patient), you're going to miss out big time and not enjoy it at all. If, however, you let the album take you over and pull you into its dark cosmic glory, it will take you on a journey of outer space. I'm serious! This album has a really specific flow, and even each song blends into the one before it. Really cool stuff, but be forewarned that you might not be able to look at music the same way after getting into this album...
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on March 21, 2006
Why do the Relativity and Castle reissues of this album sound so muddy? With an album like "Zeit" it matters. I've got a single-disc version on Jive Electro from 1986 ] and it sounds cleaner than any of the R/C versions. So what happened? The problems seem to be: using second or third generation dubs instead of the master tape, not enough treble (heavy-handed use of noise reduction?), and too much volume. These flaws create a murky, squashed, "mono" feel that ruins one of the best things about this music: the SPACE. Space music should sound spacious, no? When you remove tape hiss, you remove sonic detail. I would urge anyone interested in this album to look for older CD issues, pre-1990. My 80s vinyl (on Relativity!) also sounded very good.

5 stars for the album, 1 star for this version = 3.
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on November 22, 2011
The VCS3 was a small but highly programmable synthesizer in the early 70's and allowed you to make a wide range of strange if not particularly musical sounds. It was easy to make beeps, rumbling drones, bees buzzing, strange bells, unearthly trills, grinding rhythmic noises and a very convincing water splashing sound. It was not so easy to make popular music with it but that was clearly not Tangerine Dream's intention with this album.

The first side "Birth of Liquid Plejades" stands out as being mostly musical. It begins with what sounds like cellos unable to stay in tune. Every note that implies a melody is quickly cut off with a conflicting note. The second section is mostly Florian Fricke playing a single long note on his Moog briefly interrupted by other quick notes causing an echo effect (this trick is used a few too many times) while Froese slowly grinds notes on a highly processed guitar. The piece ends with ex-member Steve Schroyder playing organ chords but not in any order that implies a musical progression. In fact the cut just suddenly ends mid-chord. Maybe that's when Schroyder was fired.

The last three sides of Zeit sounds like a Tangerine Dream notebook of the most interesting sounds they were able to coax out of their new VCS3s, organs and Froese's guitar effects. There are attempts to bookend the songs with a theme. "Nebulous Dawn" starts with a "braaaap" sound announcing its beginning along with some nice vibraphone but falls into waves of dissonant electronic sounds (sounds like the VCS3 ring modulator) with little structure. "Origin of Supernatural Probabilities" begins with a mournful melody and a spooky breathing sound in the background which fades into Froese playing similar mournful chords through a barely recognizable guitar. After this promising beginning, the track becomes another showcase of VCS3 drones and random organ sounds. The title track starts with an ominous drone and Froese sliding chords into deep echos. The tuneless drone expands, contracts, moves around, and slowly changes through the piece giving the track a uniform if intentionally monotonous sound. The rest is mostly Froese sliding dissonant chords and notes on his guitar through countless echo units and reverb. It ends with a few vibraphone notes that almost sound pretty before suddenly ending.

What makes Zeit timeless is that despite all the electronic noise, it doesn't sound very dated. It sounds nothing like the simple clichéd bleeps and bwops that has makes much of the electronic music of the 70's hard to listen to now. Tangerine Dream somehow managed to avoid falling into these traps by selecting the most complicated and interesting sounds and carefully mixing them with appropriate amounts of echo and reverb to disguise their origins and not even attempting to pass it off as music. At first the pieces sound unstructured but repeated listenings show that a remarkable amount of effort was made to select and mix sounds together and organize them in some way that sounds interesting although it's impossible to say why.

After listening to it for another month, perhaps I should give Tangerine Dream more credit for having the guts to create a double album that completely defies all conventions of song structure. Except for some bookends there is no real melody. Except for Schroyder's organ in one song there is no real rhythm. Still, this wasn't a lazy collection of random electronic noises. Maybe it was the equivalent of giving conventional rock music the middle finger.

I can imagine Klaus Schulze recording the similar Irrlicht by himself but I can't imagine how three band members came to decisions about how each piece on Zeit should go. They must have had pages of notes to keep track of the VCS3 programming since there is little repetition. Did they start with one improvised layer and add subsequent layers of noise? Did they argue over which buzzing drone sounded more appropriate or that one sound wasn't loud enough in the mix? How three people could make an album like this is almost as mysterious as the sound itself.

Fans of this kind of puzzling sound/music may want to check out Zoviet France (":zoviet*france:" is their official name I believe). This mysterious group combines droning electronic sounds and indecipherable audio clips into a form similar to Zeit. Any similarities to music are purely accidental.
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on May 16, 2015
Perfection in delivery & quality! Darn happy with this seller! Thank you so much! 5 Stars!
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on May 1, 2008
"Zeit" was only Tangerine Dream's third album release and a more courageous popular music release would be difficult to imagine. I mean, what group nowadays would be likely to use an instrumental line-up of four cellos, organ, vibraphone and gliss guitar for its opening number? Or dare attempt a work of almost 80 minutes duration with not a single drumbeat, tune or melody, or even variation in pace from the deathly slow? Yes, here you have it: the ultimate forerunner to Dark Ambient!

"Zeit" dates from 1972, but for many, this music remains completely outside of time and stands forever timeless (German speakers will note the pun!) [Ohr's faith in Tangerine Dream must have been enormous, given that this was a double album when released on black vinyl! I remember my (imported) copy, bought in my student days, cost almost a whole term's rent!]

Subtitled "largo in four movements", "Zeit" is, in fact, a single, large-scale work, intended to be experienced at one sitting and I would encourage you to play it this way. The pace is, as the title suggests, unremittingly slow. And the volume level is never high (indeed, there are times when it descends to levels barely audible). You can expect no excitement here. And yet, this music is never boring. From the moment the cellos begin their long drawn out groans, until the music's final dying gasp, the slow unfolding of magical musical ideas is always completely captivating and absolutely spell-binding with the power to hold one's attention throughout the whole 76 minutes of this double album. And although the disc's analogue origins are noticeable at times, they are never intrusive.

As I have already suggested, the sound world of "Zeit" is completely unlike any popular music release either before or since (not strictly true: there were a couple of German groups attempted to emulate the style shortly afterwards, but not with any degree of success) and it remains hard to categorise even now, but then one thing that this music opens to the mind to just how pointless it is to try! The movements' titles (and the cover's paintings) indicate a spacey theme to the music, suggested, I suppose, by the tranquil and meditative nature of the playing and also by the futuristic glissando tones that feature throughout, and gurglings and bubblings of early synth oscillator circuits (beautifully used). Ironically, anyone looking for similar material would do well to try the visionary organ works of Olivier Messiaen, or the works of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, both of whom will be filed away under the Classical music heading here on Amazon.com.

Whatever your normal musical tastes, I urge you to try this disc, as it is a thing of rare beauty. But beware: it may alter your whole life...
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VINE VOICEon September 10, 2009
This 1972 release is fantastic and uses low, dark drones maintained on synthesizers to create a hypnotic effect. I found that it was pretty easy to get lost in the drones and lose track of time (late at night that is). Just like the minimalist composers (e.g., Terry Riley), Tangerine Dream was attempting to induce a sense of timelessness on Zeit - much as one might experience while under the influence of LSD.

This album features the classic lineup of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, and the newly recruited Peter Baumann for the first time. They are joined by Popul Vuh founder Florian Fricke on Moog synthesizer (on one track), a cello quartet, and former member Steve Schroyder on organ (who was with Ash Ra Tempel at the time).

The album is comprised of four lengthy tracks in the 16-20 minute range that are somewhat similar in terms of mood - eerie and brooding. There are only subtle changes within a given piece, which are all heavily ambient. Instrumentation is generally restricted to synthesizers, although low pitched drones on cellos make an appearance on the first track and the Hammond organ makes an appearance here and there. The hypnotic effect arises from the static, motionless quality of each piece - there are no wild electric guitar solos or abrasive found sounds on this album.

This reissue by Castle Music is not too shabby and features detailed liner notes along with some low quality (and tiny) photos of the group. The sound quality is good. The jewelcase comes with an outer cardboard case.

All in all, this is a very hypnotic album by the group that is closer to ambient than the electronic art music that they came to be known for (starting in 1974 with Phaedra). Very highly recommended.
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on December 2, 2001
It took me a while to try anything from Tangerine Dream, because all I heard was their more mediocre recent releases being played on NPR. But once I got a hold of Stratosfear, figuring their 1970s material would be better, I was right, and wasn't disappointed with that album. I was only a matter of time before I came to this earlier release, Zeit, originally released in 1972 on Ohr. This is one truly bizarre album, and I remembered saying that about Pink Floyd's Ummagumma. The best way I can describe the music (if you can call it that) is imagine the middle part of Pink Floyd's "Echoes" from Meddle (you know, the wind sounds), but it's like that for four sides. Nothing in here that even remotely resembles music, as close to music as it gets is that killer Pink Floyd-like Hammond organ at the end of "Birth of Liquid Plejades". Mostly the album is nothing but four sides of electronic effects and creepy wind sounds. No drums. And just like Ummagumma, Zeit truly falls in the "love it or hate it" category. In other words, if you're expecting a more upbeat, sequencer heavy album, like Ricochet, or you like their more mediocre, new age-y albums released in the last 15 or so years, you'd probably won't like this album. Zeit also marks the debut of Peter Baumann as well. Previous member Steve Schroyder (who briefly joined Ash Ra Tempel) had only appeared on "Birth of Liquid Plejades" (apparently the band started recording with him in it, but he quickly left and Baumann came in). Everything about Zeit is so creepy, it's not for the faint of heart to say the least. I heard that Edgar Froese's son, Jerome Froese (the baby featured on Atem and many other TD albums, and a TD member for over 10 years now) hates this album, which is probably a big reason why their recent material is just so mediocre and why they will never return to their space rock roots. So if you want something off the wall and you don't want to hear music that plays it safe, give Zeit a try.
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on October 12, 2003
Tangerine Dream are still going today and, including numerous compilations, have almost 200 albums in print! This, however is by far their best album. It also has dated very well: there's something on every single other album of this bands work that places/dates it into the specific period in which it was created. Except this one.
It's rare to have a TD album that doesn't have any sequencer rhythms and/or drum parts on it, but this one, at 76 minutes has neither. It just allows the patient, observant listener to get lost in it completly for the entire extended time. Yes, it is dark,(but not "evil" sounding) but it works well, and actually makes for a good Halloween-vibe as well or for reading some good fiction to (Poe and the like..)
Well, the band, such as it exists today (founder Edgar Froese the only constant member, is now joined by his heavy metal rock guitar-oriented son, Jerome), could never do this today even if they tried. I'm sure the other musicians on this album (Peter Bauman, Chris Franke, Steve Schroyer, and other guests) contributed a great deal to this music.
Matter of fact, of all the other TD albums out there, only "Rubycon" even begins to scale the peak reached here (note, however, that the bands second album "Alpha Centauri" did have it's moments as well, but does sound very dated).
I just wanted to add my vote here because it's a shame only 4 other people have voiced their opinions here. Please read their excellent reviews, for I think they actually expressed the music in their reviews much better than I have here...
3 people found this helpful
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on June 2, 2000
"Zeit" was only Tangerine Dream's third album release and a more courageous popular music release would be difficult to imagine. I mean, what group nowadays would be likely to use an instrumental line-up of four cellos, organ, vibraphone and gliss guitar for its opening number? Or dare attempt a work of almost 80 minutes duration with not a single drumbeat, tune or melody, or even variation in pace from the deathly slow? No record company would surely release anything like this today! "Zeit" dates from 1972, but for many, this music remains completely outside of time and stands forever timeless (German speakers will note the pun!) [Ohr's faith in Tangerine Dream must have been enormous, given that this was a double album when released on black vinyl! I remember my (imported) copy, bought in my student days, cost almost a whole term's rent!]
Subtitled "largo in four movements", "Zeit" is, in fact, a single, large-scale work, intended to be experienced at one sitting and I would encourage you to play it this way. The pace is, as the title suggests, unremittingly slow. And the volume level is never high (indeed, there are times when it descends to levels barely audible). You can expect no excitement here. And yet, this music is never boring. From the moment the cellos begin their long drawn out groans, until the music's final dying gasp, the slow unfolding of magical musical ideas is always completely captivating and absolutely spell-binding with the power to hold one's attention throughout the whole 76 minutes. And although the disc's analogue origins are noticeable at times, they are never intrusive.
As I have already suggested, the sound world of "Zeit" is completely unlike any popular music release either before or since (not strictly true: there were a couple of German groups attempted to emulate the style shortly afterwards, but not with any degree of success) and it remains hard to categorise even now, but then one thing that this music opens to the mind to just how pointless it is to try! The movements' titles (and the cover's paintings) indicate a spacey theme to the music, suggested, I suppose, by the tranquil and meditative nature of the playing and also by the futuristic glissando tones that feature throughout, and gurglings and bubblings of early synth oscillator circuits (beautifully used). Ironically, anyone looking for similar material would do well to try the visionary organ works of Olivier Messiaen, or the works of the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, both of whom will be filed away under the Classical music heading here on Amazon.
Whatever your normal musical tastes, I urge you to try this disc, as it is a thing of rare beauty. But beware: it may alter your whole life...
43 people found this helpful
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