We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams…
Tangerine Dream are still living the dream – and Edgar Froese’s vision lives on within it. Before he sadly passed away in 2015 – noting ‘a change of cosmic address’ – he gave his blessing to continue the project, to fully realise and complete his last musical vision of their Quantum Years. And so, with Thorsten Quaeschning (synth), Ulrich Schnauss (synth and Ableton), and Hoshiko Yamane (violin), the dream is able to live on. The project took recent scientific findings in the fields of quantum physics and quantum philosophy and turned them into sound, transforming the methodical elements of science and mathematics into musical expression and emotion, without ever formalising the music or lessening its playful soul. This was the sound of freedom. Nothing but freedom.
Subtitled Quantum of Electronic Evolution, a single, glowing synth opened a majestic and continuous two-and-a-half-hour set. As it coiled around the airspace, the music seemed to relay a birth – of time, of a soul, of a single vision. Its heartbeat thrummed gently within the confines of the womb, although confinement was never an issue – it just doesn’t exist within their music. Their music is less of the world and more of the universe, an expansive, transcendent living being, or, in the words of The Orb, ‘A Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain’.
The volume increased, producing a swelling rush of blood. Yamane’s violin entered occasionally, the sparse, echoing notes slicing through the air, hanging in the space and then bleeding into a growing, layered network. The music segued and then moved into the digital age with a number of stutters, bleeps n’ bloops, while Quaeschning’s keys sparkled like crystalline stars. Time-stretched synths and loose beats coalesced, forming an easy marriage between beat-drops and airy weightlessness. A chord progression pregnant with a spectrum of vivid, intense colour arose, splashing against the eardrums and giving off plenty of emotion while influencing the brain-altering chemicals which favour warm emotion over the cold, sterile light of science. Like an orbit in itself, it both revolved around the laws of science and grew distant to it. The white-hot electronics were as healthy as a peach (and glowing just as radiantly), and special mention must be also given to the lighting, which was nothing short of spectacular. Dancing in time with the beats and their sequences, the lights emitted an ultra-bright rainbow of colour, zig-zagging in all directions and drenching the chapel in an array of pulsating auras and UFO-glows.
Taking the music to advanced levels of consciousness, the synths melted boundaries in the palm of its glowing hand. An electric guitar solo burned a deeper layer of synth, peeling its skin away to reveal a minute of pure euphoria. The equipment has changed, at least in some areas, but it’s more like evolution. Although it isn’t the 1970’s, and nothing escapes the claws of modernisation (looking at you, Ableton), the core remains true to itself. With its trademark, expansive textures, the music’s eyes haven’t changed, but it’s all grown up now.
The transparent music seemed to pass through everything. Time stopped in this deep pool of sound, and glorious, golden moments emerged from its transcendent webbing.
The music was evolving, born in the past but ultimately belonging to the future – always belonging to the future. Their music spoke to the universe, being an integral part of its makeup, at one with it, emitting a pulse (like that heartbeat) from a bright, blue orb. There was a touching tribute to Edgar as images came up on the hanging screen, floating high in the blue sky, passing through barely-there clouds, before ending with some more experimental improvisation. The music lifted in the resulting silence, but this dream continues. It was never corporeal music, anyway. The dream continues, living on in nights such as this, as well as in the spirit.