Third album from Germany's premier electronic group
Tangerine Dream's kosmische phase is probably best served by their amazing double album Zeit, released in the UK on Virgin Records (VD2503) in 1972. At this point, the band consisted of Froese, Baumann and Franke. In my opinion, this was their strongest line-up. Zeit is one of my all time favourite 'headphone' albums and is also one of those best listened to in the dark as this is when you get the full force of the record – the sprawling, pulsing, sometimes haunting sounds that shift between channels really hammer home the feeling of floating helplessly through space; just an insignificant speck in the vast emptyness of the universe that surrounds us. In true Tangerine Dream fashion, each of the four sides consist of one track each, enabling the band to sufficiently explore the different cosmic sounds that their instruments can provide. In terms of the individual tracks, there's not a lot between them. It's when you consider the album as a whole, with the pulsating throbs intertwined with semi-melodic VCS3 synth sounds that bring the rewards. The drone and ear splitting shards of sound that are provided on Nebulous Dawn can, if you're in the right mood, sound like what the beginning of time might've sounded like. Origin of Supernatural Probabilites slows everything down, dumping you into a haunted graveyard at 3am. Zeit follows in a similar fashion. Translated to 'Time', this track explores the beginning of time itself with more droning and wailing depicting time's being.
Onto the record itself. Recorded in Stommeln and Cologne in 1972, Zeit is composed of four 'movements', one per side. As with almost all Tangerine Dream albums, the sleeve is designed by Froese with wife Monique getting their child represented in the gatefold. The sleeve's striking cover of the Sun during an eclipse is offset by an image of the moon on the rear. The inner gatefold depicts a sprawling moonscape with what looks like a skull (it isn't) in the top left hand corner. I'm not quite sure what this represents. The 'Two Virgins' labels now take on the later, green design, having changed from the previous white one of earlier Virgin Records albums.
A great album and one of Tangerine Dream's best.
1. Birth of Liquid Plejades
1. Nebulous Dawn
1. Origin of Supernatural Probabilities
Side 1 – VD2503 A6E
Side 2 – VD2503 B6E
Side 3 – VD2503 C5
Side 4 – VD2503 D7