Monday, 23 May 2016

Tangerine Dream - Hyperborea (1983)

Mentioned this album a little while back as being my Tangerine Dream of choice, and been listening to it a lot this past week - so why not post it?

Hyperborea closed the book on TD's association with Virgin Records, and for me it's the finest they did in the 80s - maybe their last great album, although some solid live releases were still to come.  The late great Edgar Froese was at the helm as always, Chris Franke still on board; but relative newcomer Johannes Schmoelling really makes his mark on these four tracks - the culmination of a sleeker, harder-edged TD than the liquid, open-ended Moog/VCS3/Mellotron improvs that they'd arrived at Virgin with nine years earlier.

Froese on this album is often said to be looking back to his 60s psych origins and interest in Indian music, and No Man's Land is a fantastic opener, droning through nine minutes of electro-raga.  The title track's two distinct sections follow through the periscope of the album cover to perfectly describe the nightless Arctic expanses of the mythical Hyperborea.

After a short, poppy end to the first side of the album, we're treated to a good old side-filling epic in Sphinx Lightning.  Moving through different sections that always keep you engaged, including a becalmed middle that oddly reminds me of similar-vintage Vangelis, it's a fine summation of an underrated period in the history of a phenomenal group.  Rest up in Hyperborea, Edgar.

No Man's Land 


  1. Yes, the end of an era. There were still some great (if intermittent) achievements under the TD banner for about another decade yet though. And yes, 'No Man's Land' is truly visionary. Good share.

  2. the link is down, just wanted to let you know. superb stuff on your blog btw

    1. many thanks for the heads-up, that's the link now updated.

  3. I concur with you on the strength of this album. It was high time for TD in 1983, and this album is as sharp-focused and imaginative as they come. However............., there's one gripe. I never could fully accept the side-long track 4 because of its ending. The ending is simply flat. Why would you conclude all that build and complexity with something akin to a TV jingle? Can, by comparison, would usually follow a heavy crescendo with something more. It might have been a forced compromise, as Sphinx Lightening is a rich and rewarding composition otherwise.