Encore by Tangerine Dream was, without question, one of most significant elements of the soundtrack of my teens. This amazing double live album, recorded during Tangerine Dream’s Spring 1977 US Tour (with studio overdubs – see Phil’s unboxing of the In Search of Hades box set), was among my most played LPs following its release in the autumn of that year.
I remember reading a fabulous NME article during this period examining the effect the band were having on, no doubt chemically-altered, American audiences at the time. That reaction is very much in evidence in the crowd reactions on this wonderful set.
There’s no denying the “trippy” ambient nature of the music. Although I was already a fan, it wowed me in a similar way, with the strongest stimulant in sight being the odd can of full-fat Coca Cola.
Each of the four sides is a very different themed soundscape – Cherokee Lane, Monolight, Coldwater Canyon and Desert Dream.
Living in the States well over 40 years after the album’s release, I can identify more strongly than ever with the influence of the band’s surroundings on tour here, in terms of the musical imagery of Encore.
Desert Dream, especially, resonates very strongly with my own experiences in the Nevada desert. It very accurately suggests a subtle environment with sinister undertones of ever-present danger underneath a relentless sun. When the album came out that was indeed just a dream for me, but it was interesting to note how my imagination then closely matched the actual desert experiences I would have decades later.
This iteration of Tangerine Dream was, in my opinion, the very strongest, consisting of the trio of Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann. Encore followed 1976’s classic studio album Stratosfear, indeed many leitmotifs explored in that album are in evidence here.
It’s not easily accessible music and, due to the way synthesizers tend to date music, very much of its time. However the late Edgar Froese’s amazing guitar improvisations on Coldwater Canyon are as close as the Tangs ever get to timeless conventional rock stylings. It’s a stunning track.
A word too, for the amazing and beautiful piano/synth section that introduces Monolight. Probably my favourite section of the whole two record set, seen here as a near mint original 1977 UK pressing on Virgin.
Chris Wright | Now Spinning