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Baker's Dozen

I Hear New Worlds: Chris Carter's Favourite Albums
The Quietus , August 4th, 2021 08:57

From a clandestine love of ABBA to a mind-expanding teenage encounter with Pink Floyd, via Joe Meek, Wendy Carlos and Tangerine Dream, Chris Carter of Throbbing Gristle writes on the music that changed his life


Tangerine Dream - Phaedra

Phaedra is from that classic line-up of Froese, Frank and Baumann and it's my favourite Tangerine Dream album, and they’ve recorded something like 80 albums! You could hear what direction they were heading on Atem, the LP before Phaedra but this was their first album to use modular sequencers, one of those big Moogs. I know their trademark repetitive arpeggios can be a turn off for some but if you listen closely, or to it as many times as I have, the sequences are not just looping, they delicately and subtly change and morph. Those arrangements of weird cinematic sound design, sweeping filters, sequences, bass lines and their glorious wobbly mellotron pads make for a beautiful album.

Famously Phaedra marked the birth of a much imitated style known as the Berlin School. I haven’t seen Tangerine Dream perform live more than a few times and that was 40 years ago. I loved the aural experience, the volume and the bass but being a gear head I could not stop looking at what gear they had on stage and how they were playing it. I found it totally distracting from the music. I think the best way to listen to Tangerine Dream is on a big fuck-off hi-fi or on some really good headphones.