DREAM OF HADES

How many times have you bought the same album? I don’t mean by accident—that’s simply forgetfulness, a free giveaway from Universal Ageing Inc—but because some new and improved whiz-bang re-issue of one of your favourites has appeared.

Of course there’s always a sweetener. The lure of restored artwork, a promise of revelatory sound, alternate versions, a contemporaneous live set… There must be a team of record company executives sitting in a plush, glass-walled office somewhere, chortling as they plan another assault on the resources of pathetic baby boomers with more money than sense.

I speak, as would be transparently obvious to regular readers, as a pathetic baby boomer with more money than sense. (Except for the more money part.)

And what, you sigh, is the latest absurd indulgence to add to the groaning weight of underplayed music threatening the foundations of Schloss Vinyl Connection?

It is a 12” boxed set of 16 CDs…

based around 6 previously released albums.

All of which I have on individual disc plus a 2-CD set compiling the first four

as well as four of the six on vinyl.

There is a lavishly produced hard-cover book…

that will probably tell me little I don’t already know.

There are, in addition, two Blu-ray discs…

though I don’t have a Blu-ray player.

It may have cost less than the Apollo 11 mission, but not by much.

That’s the case for the prosecution. 

What arguments can the defence possibly muster to counter these damning indictments?

  • The band, Tangerine Dream, were my first electronic love.
  • At 52 titles, they hold the bronze medal for most entries in the VC catalogue. (Is that a plus?)
  • The 12” box will sit beautifully in the vinyl shelves.

Pitiful.

As convincing as Donald’s hair and Boris’s bonhomie.

But wait, there’s more.

  • Contemporaneous live material—concerts recorded around the time of a studio album’s release—are something I’ve always enjoyed. It’s especially interesting for electronic music as the studio sounds are so tricky to re-produce on stage (or were, before the advent of laptops). There are three totally new concerts included with In Search of Hades, each filling two CDs.
  • The legendary Coventry Cathedral concert finally gets an official release.
  • There is a completely new studio recording—Oedipus Tyrannus—that few had even heard rumours about. It begins with atmospheric electro-acoustic improvisations evoking very early TD while the sequencer material is pure Phaedra. Amazing.
  • Steven Wilson did some re-mastering/remixing. (Is that a plus?)
  • Although the first four Tangerine Dream records are rightly revered for their invention and boundary-pushing (read more here), it is these albums recorded on Richard Branson’s Virgin label that brought the band worldwide fans and fame.
  • All six previously released albums are very worthwhile and three—Phaedra (1974), Rubycon (1975), and Stratosfear (1976)—are bona fide classics.

In 1968 or thereabouts there was a club called Middle Earth in Covent Garden and on a memorable occasion there I introduced—for the first time in this country—Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. It was a very moving moment in my life, it really was. And this is as moving a moment, for me anyway, and I’m sure it will be a memorable evening for you. So would you welcome please, Tangerine Dream.  (John Peel introducing Tangerine Dream at the Rainbow, London, 24th October 1974)

You may well have been thinking, ‘Who the hell is he trying to convince?’ It’s a good question, and one for which there is an equally good answer, if only I could think of it. In the absence of any plausible justification, I’ll simply say that the package is wonderful and has already brought much pleasure to a number of late evenings after the family has retired. Headphones are deployed, a small tumbler of liqueur is acquired, and those mesmerising analogue synthesisers start to weave their magic…

As I sit, and synth, and sip, I wonder. Would anyone other than a passionate Tangerine Dream fan spring for this lavish package? 

Probably not, but they could. If you’ve heard enough 70s electronic music to know you like it’s spacey, often beat-less meanderings, then this would be a brilliant place to start. In one box you would have a cornerstone of German electronic music and some of the most beguiling dreamscapes ever committed to tape. And a beautifully produced book with some new material and fascinating clippings from the time. You might never need to buy more.

Except perhaps for some Klaus Schulze…     or Robert Schroeder…         or Ulrich Schnauss… 

The night before last I was driving home—three lane highway, by myself—very late at night, listening to Phaedra… it was one of the great moments, really, of motoring. Driving along with the white lines going past on either side, the sound of the wheels on the road and the wind and Phaedra. A dangerous combination and a very exciting one. If you have a car and you do any driving I would recommend trying it.  (John Peel introducing Tangerine Dream at the Rainbow, London, 24th October 1974)

46 comments

  1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    I bought the Kruder and Dorfmeister K&D sessions twice and would happily again, many times.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is a massive banquet, Bill. But I reckon you’d love it. Maybe that next bonus cheque… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Appears so…I get spooked by Tangerine Dream for some reason though. A fissure opened in my brain somewhere like an exposed nerve.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, I can get that. Try streaming ‘Rubycon’ sometime. It has more rhythmic anchors than some of the earlier work.

          Like

        2. pinklightsabre · ·

          Nice, in it now. Have to love the internet. Thanks for the tip. I could use an anchor (that will keep me up vs draw me down).

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Nicely said. Now stop interrupting. I need to read the latest pinklightsabre post.

          Like

  2. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    And how about that Eno reissue of Apollo Atmospheres, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes indeed. I’m going to go the 2CD version, as ambient music is one genre where I prefer digital to analogue. I’ll keep the original vinyl, of course. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Totes! To the digital, get that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. aussiebyrdbrother · · Reply

    I’m currently just up to the `Rubycon’ disc, which sounds pretty damn amazing. The start of the second track with the howling gothic Mellotron choirs was intense! It’s like the piece consumes you, haha. A few weeks back, I was literally driving through some impossibly thick fog during that section, it was supremely frightening and overwhelming!

    Although I haven’t got through every bit of the set (the fully improvised early concerts require endless re-spins at it is), there’s definitely no buyers regret for any of it from me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spot on, Michael. And love your anecdote of a John Peel-esque driving experience. He is, after all, our musical spirit guide!

      Like

  4. Nice! The newest one in my preorder, planned for October release is a box set treatment for Stormwatch by Jethro Tull. Been ramping these down though, given $10/month for streaming at Apple Music (about which yes I do feel guilty tho have made up for it over the years rebuying everything several times!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have seen the ads for the Tull. Does look tasty!

      Like

  5. Thanks, Bruce. This and a positive review of (I think this) TD box set in Uncut has pretty much convinced me I need to fill in this gap in my musical knowledge. ‘As convincing as Donald’s hair and Boris’s bonhomie…’ love it

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cheers Andrew. It was a funny process, this one. As i listened and wrote I move much more firmly towards a “This is a really rich and interesting box” position, almost to my surprise! But it IS great and has the potential, I reckon, for making some converts to Tangerine Dream’s 70s work.

      Like

  6. That is an awesome set! For me Def Leppard’s Hysteria is the one I have bought the most. When it came out, I bought the CD and the Cassette (because no CD player in the car a the time. Wore out the cassette, gave away the CD for some stupid reason and then bought it again on CD, found it on vinyl and bought it. The Deluxe Edition just came out and bought it. The band’s first vinyl box set had it in there so that counts to. And lastly, there is a 45 Singles collection of all the Hysteria singles, so I bought that too. Does that make 6 times? Oh yeah, when they toured that album, I saw it 3 times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely brilliant. In fact, Hysterical! And I bet you enjoy all the versions. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, every single one!!! If I could just find an 8-Track I think I would have owned every possible version.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. To me there’s certainly enough in that package to warrant buying (especially Steven Wilson doing the remixing). Rest assured, you’ve got no judgment from me. I’m the guy who’s probably bought the first Crosby Stills, and Nash album at least five times. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers, Marty. (From someone who has three copies of ‘Four Way Street’) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The sad question is how many times did I need to re-buy an album or CD because it got scratched or broken when I was drunk. Bought lots of “extended dance mixes” of songs in the 80s that I already owned. Does that count?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It all counts, Jeff! A shelf full of musical identity.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I think this is a blatant piece searching for validation, you my friend have it, why would you not buy such a thing if you could?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The gentleman protesteth too much? I’m sure you’re right Neil, but one should never let the truth get in the way of a good story. 😉

      Like

      1. Those have always been my thoughts a tall tale is better than a shallow recitation. I am jealous of that Tangerine Dream.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Steven Wilson was pretty involved right? Some compiling as well.

    Like

  11. Even my Interior Supervisor of Budgets (who reports directly to my Superego) agreed to a duplicate copy of Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus.
    How could it do otherwise?
    (True True True True True).
    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One can only support the internal committee, DD. An exceptional album that one should probably own as many times as the artist’s name appears in the title.

      Like

    2. Nine in one blow!
      Von Karajan’s nine joined Simon Rattle’s Beethoven symphonies today.
      Another triumph for the trivarate.
      ($7 … ‘on ya St Vincent).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bigger sometimes is better.

        Like

        1. These are two different takes on Beethoven and don’t really justify a post about duplicate purchases, yet I couldn’t resist a nod to The Brave Little Tailor as a headline. It was a childhood favourite.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m now quite curious as to who earned the gold & silver in the VC quantity collection!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bless you Mr Stephen. I was hoping someone would ask.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a man of the 70s, I’m guessing the artists released the bulk of their material in that decade? Perhaps Pink Floyd? Bowie?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Shrewd guesses my friend. 🙂
          Bowie is at #4; Floyd are #2.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. My brain is reeling Bruce, how many times?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My brain must be foggy, Joe. How many times what?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How many times have you bought this stuff?!

        Who holds gold and silver btw? I’m guessing the BeeGees and Kylie Minogue.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Tangerine Dream albums? Only a few times. Record, CD, ‘Definitive Eidtion’ CD, this box…

          How the heck did you know about my beloved Kylie? Have you been peeking?

          Like

  14. You definitely have to bracket time to listen to this kind of output but hey what we do for what we dig. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am enjoying, CB. I most certainly am. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just feel good when you are happy Bruce, I can feel it up here in the land of the Orca and various other wild things.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I look at that and I am lost for words. Very creative and funny on the side.

          Like

  15. Wow. I don’t think I’ve bought any album more than once.

    Certainly not more than twice.

    Definitely not more than three times.

    No sir.

    No more than four.

    Liked by 1 person

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