Mala Kunia, new from Tangerine Dream. I had many reactions when I first played this album, all of them good, some of them astounded. Mostly though I felt like I was home after a long time away. Now nobody get offended, but to me *this* is Tangerine Dream. Pulsing rhythms, interwoven melodies, pounding drums, soaring guitar, sequencers aplenty, with the bands signature textures underneath it all laying the foundation.
Except it’s new, too. Bit crushers on the drums à la Nine Inch Nails, some sequences that feel like they could be straight out of Synergy, twiddly little, well, sounds, everywhere, as if there were a host of forest creatures infesting the studio. Reminiscent of Robert Rich, of course. And I’m sure Tangerine Dream were influences on all of these, but it’s good to be surprised by all these little things on a Tangerine Dream album.
But it’s classic Tangerine Dream as well. Synth leads filled with more sonic texture than you could believe, and those shimmering pads everywhere, the solid concrete framework it all hangs on, the burbling sequencers that drive things forward. It’s classic Tangerine Dream. Analog synth leads solid as granite, digital synth leads shimmering like the northern lights, even some funky bass lines at times.
New personnel; don’t know anything about them yet. Perhaps that’s a bit of the reason for their less pop song sound nowadays. Or maybe I just haven’t been paying attention recently. And it’s not like I’ve ignored them for the past 20 years. I do have 43 of their albums in iTunes after all. It’s just that there’s something about this album that’s captured me, maybe something I was missing that I didn’t realize wasn’t there any more.
It’s there now though.
One thing to note is that according to Edgar Froese this is the beginning of the final chapter for his band’s almost 50 year run. Mala Kunia is apparently to be the first in a series of albums called “The Quantum Years,” culminating in the 2017 anniversary of the band’s founding. Also, in the spring of 2015 there’s going to be a “fuller” release of this album as this one is only the overture to the full version. You’ll still get your money’s worth this time out though as Mala Kunia is almost an hour long.
So stay tuned, it looks like the next three years (or maybe more properly their last three years) could be interesting ones for Tangerine Dream.