Raum by Tangerine Dream

Release date: February 25, 2022
Label: Kscope / Eastgate

When Edgar Froese, founder of Tangerine Dream passed away at the age of 70 on January 20th, 2015, it was the end of an era. They were the band that broke all barriers from krautrock, electronic music, new wave, and post-punk. Inspiring bands and artists like Steven Wilson, The Future Sound of London (The Amorphous Androgynous), Cut Copy, and Susumu Hirasawa. But in April of that year, they decided to continue.

In 2017, the Post-Froese era began with their 150th release and their 30th main studio release with Quantum Gate. It was based on sketches and musical ideas that Froese left and a companion to their mini release Quantum Key in 2015. Now in 2022, the band’s next release Raum, features more of the archival recordings from Edgar as the band are preparing a UK tour titled, From Virgin to the Quantum Years.

This is the second release since Froese’s passing. Raum is an intriguing follow-up. And I wasn’t so sure on how I would react to it after I put my earphones to experience what I was about to explore. So let’s take a deep dive into the chamber space for Raum.

‘Continuum’ begins with a heavenly synth choir introduction before the beatbox electro-drum beat sets up a train ride into another journey that begins with mid-spec vibrations going from tunnel to another. The dance beat on ‘Portiro’ gets you up-and-running.

 

You can hear synthesisers doing this call-and-response with one another while having these noir-like chases that keeps you guessing until the curtain opens up by revealing a natural surroundings of watery landscapes. Both ‘Along the Canal’ and ‘What You Should Know About’ is a return back to their golden years from Virgin Records.

One being a ladder climb to the first half of Rubycon, with some 8-bit structures from the NES game, The Legend of Zelda. There are some amazing vibes that are thrown into this epic fantasy that the group bring forth to this composition. Did I forget to mention that there’s some beautiful mellotron vibes to the mix? Once you hear it, you might want to tug your heart hearing that sound once more.

The sixth track has some bubbly effects that takes you into the Cave of Crystals in Chihuahua, Mexico and Lebanon’s Cave of the Three Bridges which have these magical and hypnotic skylights, filling up our atmosphere channeling the Autobahn years from Kraftwerk.

But then we head back down to Earth in the years of Film Scoring that the band travel back into the Sorcerer years with ‘You’re Always on Time.’ You hear clocks ticking, and Hoshika’s violin making it sound like an action-packed arrangement as the group make their way home for the 19-minute composition, ‘In 256 Zeichen’.

This here, is a unique composition. You feel the ambience, the meditation, calm surroundings, and travelling at the speed of light to keep those pumping irons up and running. From that, there’s Pachelbel-sque loop motif in D and the visual scenery of modern civilisation.

Next, it jumps into the ocean by taking listeners into exotic locations which are filled with stories that are being told in front of our very eyes for what the band are doing. As we are in our houses, getting comfy, and taking some chill pills, Tangerine Dream head out with one more giant piece that clocks in at 14 minutes. And that of course is the title-track.

The closing number brings to mind on where the future will be heading next into the 22nd century. There’s some strong momentum by opening these massive grey clouds and bringing in this gorgeous sunlight to clear out those messy rainy days that we’ve been having for a long, long time.

Facing some of those sequences in the title-track, you can feel the walls cracking and you have no idea if you have a plan B to make a quick run out of the city. But getting out of the city can be tricky and very hard at times. It’s sort of like Gail Simone’s dystopian graphic novel, Leaving Megalopolis where the super heroes, who once were protectors of the city, now have become killing machines destroying the good people of Megalopolis.

After my first run-in with Raum, it didn’t grab me on the first listen. I was thinking to myself, “Why did I waste my time with this? Why are they continuing? It doesn’t feel right without Edgar Froese.” But then I gave Raum a few more listens on my earphones. And the more I listened to it, I began to realise that as I’ve mentioned earlier that Raum is an intriguing release this year.

Yes there will be a dividing line in the sand for fans of Tangerine Dream who want to see if the band can continue or not without Froese, But Raum itself is going to be talked about in the years to come. Some may love it, others may not. However, in the end, Raum is very much a challenging, meditated, and transfixed release for 2022.

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