Electronic Meditation is the debut album of Tangerine Dream (TD) published by the Ohr record label in 1970. It started the TD-period known as the Pink Years, named after the pink ear of the Ohr-logo. It's a tape-collage kraut rock album, using the technology of the time rather than the synthesized music they later became famous for. The album was recorded in a rented factory in Berlin, October 1969, using just a two-track Revox tape recorder. The instrumentation ranges from conventional instruments such as guitar, organ, drums and cello to various custom-made electronic devices implemented by Edgar Froese, and special soundscapes like broken glass, burning parchment and raw peas being shaken in a sieve. The only voice on the album can be heard backwards at the end of side two. You can actually hear Froese reading from the back of a ferry ticket from Dover to Calais. The original LP had a balloon inserted on the cover. Later on the album cover contained a disturbed image of a dismembered doll and patch leads.
Electronic Meditation is the only TD-album that features the line-up of Edgar Froese (six and twelve-string guitar, Farfisa-organ, piano, tapes, sound effects), Klaus Schulze (drums, percussion, metal sticks, sound effects) and Conrad Schnitzler (cello, violin, guitar, typewriter). On later CD-reissues it was revealed that two other musicians participated who were previously not credited: organist Jimmy Jackson and flautist Thomas Keyserling. I never had the chance to listen to this album until I got hold of a reissue released by Esoteric Recordings that not only sounds good, but also looks good. In the booklet a lot of historical information and additional pictures can be found.
After listening to the album I can only conclude that Electronic Meditation strongly deviates from all the other albums of the huge TD back catalogue. This is a real rock album made with rock instruments; it's actually kraut rock, the musical style invented by German musicians in the late sixties and early seventies. The album probably has the most deceptive title ever, because it's neither electronic music made by synthesizers, nor meditative!
Musically Electronic Meditation is quite similar to albums like A Saucerful Of Secrets (1967) and Ummagumma (1969) by Pink Floyd. However, I also noticed the kind of music that Schulze later on would record with Ash Ra Tempel after he had left TD. Sometimes I even heard hints of Jimi Hendrix, but also from their compatriots of Amon Düül, another kraut rock band from those days. The five tracks are certainly worth listening to; I think the music is better to digest than the material on their early real electronic albums. Electronic Meditation appeared to be a nice way to discover how TD started their career. Although I knew that they didn't start as an electronic band, the music on this album is a pleasant surprise, especially because I've always been a bit of a kraut rocker!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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