After their East Berlin gig in 1980, Tangerine Dream became rather popular behind the Iron Curtain, especially in Poland. They were one of the first major western bands to perform in a communist country. That's why the band, then consisting of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Johannes Schmoelling, released a double live album of one of their performances called Poland, The Warsaw Concert, recorded during the winter tour at the end of 1983. Unlike many other western bands and because of the abstract nature of the music and the lack of lyrics they didn't undergo any censorship from the authorities. Poland was the first album TD recorded for the Jive Electro-label, marking the beginning of the so-called Blue Years.
You might say that Poland was recorded under very difficult circumstances. After a lot of red tape, TD finally left West Berlin and rolled over the border into Poland. Since it was December temperatures had plummeted to minus 15 degrees Celsius, which is extremely low even for Polish winters. The musicians had to wear gloves and power failures were quite normal. In addition, the sub-zero temperatures had erased their equipment's memory banks several times. In the end they wondered many times if it was worthwhile the efforts. However, Edgar Froese told the press that even when they should have suffered a lot more troubles than they already had, it was still worth the effort.
When you listen to the recordings nothing indicates that so much went wrong during this Polish trip. After an introduction of the popular radio journalist Jerzy Kordowicz, you'll hear a band in a rather good shape performing the typical TD-music on synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines of which the latter two provide for strong rhythms on most of the tracks. Sometimes the music sounds as if it were a movie score or just ambient music. That's not that strange because over the years TD wrote many soundtracks like Thief, Risky Business, Firestarter , L'Affaire Walraff and Wavelength, just to name a few. Moreover, TD was one of the first bands that played ambient music anyway.
Later on Poland became a key album in the band's repertoire, loved by their most devoted fans. Personally, I experienced it as a nice musical journey listening to the album for the first time. The reissue of this record is undoubtedly the best one so far. This time all tracks are available, which wasn't always the case on the other reissues. The fine liner notes, the equipment list and many pictures in the booklet make this release a must have for all fans of Tangerine Dream.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013