Monday, July 27, 2009
Tangerine Dream - Zeit (1972)
When most people think of Space Rock, they think of Pink Floyd style psychedelia, extended jams with trippy melodies and lots of swirly little arpeggios. That is to say, Space Rock designed for tourists. Zip along in your rocket ship, snap a photo of the pretty nebula and wave to the Martians. It's all very fun, but it resembles space about as much as It's A Small World reflects world politics.
Space is dark. Space is cold. Space is mostly empty. Such is the music on Zeit. Yes, that's right; before Tangerine Dream became insipid purveyors of New Age treacle, they made some truly adventurous and influential albums. Zeit is the longest, the strangest and certainly the most sinister record of their career.
At seventy-five minutes long, Zeit (the German word for "time") is certainly an appropriate title for this double album. The music is divided into four sides, but it might as well be one long piece. The music begins with a cluster of cellos slowly fading in, basically the only acoustic sound on the whole album. The following hour is made up of analogue synths droning and shifting very...................very.........................slowly. One can imagine planets forming out of primordial darkness, rivers of magma gradually cooling and hardening into the crusts of what will - in just a few billion years - become mountains and oceans.
Needless to say, Zeit is a difficult listen, particularly if you try to pay attention to the whole thing. However, those fascinated by the infinite mysteries of the cosmos will be hard pressed to find better mood music for contemplation or stargazing.