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Crossing the Rubycon

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 82% (6 Votes)

My reach certainly exceeded my grasp with my first purchase of a Tangerine Dream album, Rubycon.  I picked it out the same way I picked out most albums back then, the cover was intriguing and the price not too bad.  I became a little worried when I realized there was just one song spread over two sides of the LP, but I had heard a good bit of Pink Floyd and expected something similar.  It wasn’t.

In fact Rubycon is one of those albums that I kind of ignored for some years, taking it out as a novelty now and again, until one evening I put it on as background music for some reading I had to do.  Within minutes I was ignoring the reading and listening to this fascinating album.  It is thirty-five minutes of weirdly atmospheric, evocative music. It was probably the first contemporary piece of music I ever tried to study, though instead of a book of knowledge it simply remains one of those great albums to return to.  It certainly ages better than many of the radio hits of 1975.

Ambient or Flowers?

While Brian Eno is truly ambient, fading into the background and only coming to the fore now and again, as a picture on your wall does—Tangerine Dream is much more prominent, on the table before you like a vase of strange flowers. Which is to say, Tangerine Dream is less ambient than Eno.  Tangerine Dream is not as easy to read to—and it changes the room you listen in. 

If you want to meditate or read, Rubycon is not the album/track to put on; it never fully disappears into the background, no matter what you are doing while listening to it. But if you are in the mood to listen to something a little different, early electronic music to be exact, then be assured Tangerine Dream used the technology of their era to create music that sounds brilliant today, quite an accomplishment considering the extent to which the world has changed since then.  Rubycon is a masterpiece of its time.

Check out our review of Franz Kafka-The Castle.



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