Review: Under Cover – Tangerine Dream

Tangerine Dream Under CoverTangerine Dream has carved out a delightful legacy for all of their ambient treasures dating as far back as 1969.  With such classics as Stratosfear (1976), they have pushed the envelope of electronic music as far as could be pushed.   This German band has also been responsible for memorable soundtracks to films that include Sorcerer (1977), Legend (1985), Thief (1980), and many others.

The remarkable thing about the band is its unique ability to transition through periods noted by their compartmentalization of years (The Pink Years, The Virgin Years, The Blue Years, and so on, up through the present time.  Throughout those revolving door years, with many line-up changes, Tangerine Dream has persevered using many different styles to successfully maneuver through the decades.

Recently, the current band (with mainstay, Edgar Froese, and Thorsten Quaeschning, Iris Camaa, Christian Hausl, Bernhard Beibl, and Linda Spa) recorded a vocal album with the Tangerine Dream sound filling it with covers of familiar tracks.

The album, Under Cover, contains 14 tunes.  From “Cry Little Sister”, and “Everybody Hurts”, which are decent reworks, to a genuinely good “Space Oddity”, and a fascinating version of Kraftwerk’s brilliant “The Model”, Tangerine Dream has done a good job of it.  Of course, you’ll need to be a Tangerine Dream fan to appreciate what you are hearing, and why some aspects have been modified to fit into the TD mode (like “The Model”, which loses its steady techno rhythm to create a classically flavored tune).

Tangerine Dream 29.08.08 Waldbühne Northeim LC

“Hotel California” gets a strange re imagining, while two Leonard Cohen tunes, “Suzanne”, which sound bloody perfect, and “Hallelujah”, comes off sounding great.  Other covers include the interesting take on Bowie’s “Heroes, a good re-work of Alphaville’s “Forever Young”, and a pretty good cover of  the Pink Floyd classic, “Wish You Were Here”.

You’re going to have an affinity for Tangerine Dream to allow this to work, with the two Cohen covers being the only exceptions given how well they come off.  While I do have my favorite Tangerine Dream periods and recordings, I’m always intrigued by their pathways.

Release Date:  October 16, 2012 (US), 2010 (UK)
Label: Cleopatra Records
Availability: CD

–Matt Rowe