Years (decades?) after first hearing Phaedra this is only my second encounter with Tangerine Dream. I guess that sort of tells you everything you need to know about how I felt about Phaedra at the time. (I didn’t really know what to do with it. I knew it was “good” but I also knew it didn’t do anything for me.) So here I am now, years later, approaching its sequel, something many people feel like is sort of Phaedra 2 and I haven’t listened to Phaedra in probably close to a decade. Whelp…
It reminds me of something I listen to rather a lot: there’s a huge “Echoes” vibe to that piano effect, one that is pretty hard to shake. I know that it’s hardly the only thing going on here, but the only other piece I can think of, off the top of my head, which uses it is “Echoes”. Also the intro to part two reminds me of the “noise” section (or as my friend calls it, the “whalesong section”. (This is very much not “Echoes”, though, no matter how “progressive electronic” it is.) Anyway, I found it a little hard to get over, sorry.
But this is still a pretty monumental electronic piece, whatever I may associate it with. Like I wonder about many of these ambitious ’70s pieces (both in electronic music and in prog) I wonder how much the nature of the LP shaped it. Was it intended as a coherent performance that they had to create a break for, or was it assembled piecemeal? I don’t know that it matters, but it’s interesting (for me) to think about.
People write about how influential this has been and you can definitely hear it, especially if you’ve listened to any ambient music. (There is more going on here than much ambient, but it’s still very much on that spectrum.)
But for me it’s one of those pieces that I need to take time with. On an intellectual level, I understand why it’s a big deal. But, as with Phaedra I don’t find myself getting excited about it (even though I know that, given when both of these albums came out, they would have been exciting for listeners at the time). I wish I could get more excited about it. Maybe I will in the future.