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Tangerine Dream


- Studio, released May 1980 -


CD release UK 1984 (red)
Photo: Monique Froese

CD release UK 1984 (purple)
Photo: Monique Froese

CD release Europe 1995
Photo & Design: Monique Froese

CD release Germany 2008
Artwork: Edgar Froese

Download release 2008
Artwork: Edgar Froese

CD release Germany 2009

HQCD release Japan 2009 with obi


1.Tangram Set One 19:47
2.Tangram Set Two 20:28
Total running time40:15
1.Wisdom And Tragedy [2008 re-recording]7:44
2.Dragon In The House [2008 re-recording]4:21
3.Wu Wei [2008 re-recording]4:43
4.Leaving The Masters For Good [2008 re-recording]2:03
5.Point Of No Return [2008 re-recording]10:53
6.Dream Puzzle [2008 re-recording]5:02
7.Terra Coda [2008 re-recording]4:35
Total running time39:21


Recording date1980
Recording site(s)Polygon Studios (Berlin)
Composer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Johannes Schmoelling
Musician(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Johannes Schmoelling
Producer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke


In 1979 Edgar Froese met Johannes Schmoelling, who joined Tangerine Dream to reestablish the trio status of the group. This line-up would come to be regarded by many fans as the strongest in the band's history. Edgar Froese in a 1981 UK interview with Mike Beecher: "It was very difficult when Johannes first came with us. Remember, it took Christoph and me about six years to work out things with Peter Baumann. We realize how fortunate we've been to be able to work together as equals who contribute to the music composing, structure, interfacing and manipulation of the instruments in performance. When we split with Peter, we could have contacted many respected musicians across the world, but no-one would have fitted into the band. There were a lot of big names wanting to join us, but we ended up taking an absolute unknown musician who worked as a sound engineer in a Berlin theatre."


The first record project of the new line-up was Tangram (the title originating from a very old Chinese puzzle), released in the spring of 1980. Once again the music filled up two complete sides of an LP and had a warmer, almost symphonic sound than previous TD albums. Tangram is regarded to be one of the most dramatic albums ever released by the group. The mixture of smoothness with familiar TD elements landed the album in the British Top 40.


The Tangram Intro Sound

Jurgen Vitrier, a TD fan from Belgium, who had always been fascinated about the intro of Tangram Set One, after some research found out that it had been made on a Prophet-5. So he tried to recreate it and to prove that it was not just sampled from the original recording he added a variation to the end. The result can be listened to via Youtube.


From 30 Years Of Dreaming

When Schmoelling joined Tangerine Dream, the band took a new direction and the long improvisations with a very simple harmonic base, or even just a drone, were replaced by more complex harmonic structures and composed pieces.

Schmoelling: "Before I joined, I felt the music of Tangerine Dream was basically built on sequencer loops, more or less in one key, with little harmonic changes and long ongoing sessions of improvisation. When I joined we tried a mixture of more structured elements with more jazz-orientated chords, composed melodies and synthesizer solos close to rock". (Interview with Mark Pendergast, January 1994, Tangents)

The first result of the work of this new trio was the album Tangram, which was recorded in Franke's new Polygon studio in Berlin. It was recorded during the spring of 1980 and was released in May the same year.

Tangram is one piece of music split up by the two sides of the album and it is much more diverse and softer than previously. It is much more interesting, and chord progressions form the framework around the melodic structures and synth or guitar solos. On side two is a very convincing solo which sounds like it has been played on some kind of guitar synthesizer, but in an interview Schmoelling revealed that he actually played it on a keyboard after practising a lot on how a real guitar player would perform his playing!

Again, the cover was made by Monique Froese with her beautiful and atmospheric photographs: on the front cover is some kind of strange red laser beam, which breaks out of the cover. On the inner sleeve, she has made a big Tangram figure of mirrors, which reflect the white snow in a winter dressed forest. [...]

A Tangram is, by the way, a very old Chinese puzzle; a square is broken up in certain fragments and with those it is possible to make a vast number of other forms and figures. A Tangram was used for telling stories. [...]

It is a very convincing and wholehearted album, and all the details have been carefully worked out, and Tangram is absolutely one of Tangerine Dream's best albums. After its release it could also be found on the English charts.

The album [...] was followed up by a longer tour in most of Western Europe, and that meant the countries south of Germany, and as usual Tangerine Dream did not come to Scandinavia and to this day they still have not played here. Two concerts were also launched in the USA in late November 1980, and the tour in Europe was resumed again in January/February the following year.

© 1999 by Kent Eskildsen




In 1984 the album was released on CD for the first time as part of a series by Virgin. With the exception of Exit, all releases of this series had a similar cover design, using only part of the original artwork in a monochrome border that featured the band and album title.


In 1995 Virgin re-released the album on CD in the so-called "Definitive Edition" series, featuring the original front cover artwork, but like most of the other releases of this series, it contains some little errors: Peter Baumann's name is misspelled Baummann in the booklet; the spelling is correct on the backside insert, but anyway this is the wrong place: Johannes Schmoelling should appear as composer instead of Peter Baumann.


In 2012 the album was re-released as part of the compilation box The Virgin Years 1977-1983.


In 2020 the album was newly remastered by Ben Wiseman from the original tapes and re-released both as part of the Pilots Of Purple Twilight box set and as individual album.


Tangram 2008


In June 2008 a completely reworked version of this album has been released, titled Tangram 2008. It features new cover artwork, completely different from the original congenial design that had be done by Monique Froese. Most probably by mistake, Edgar Froese re-used the same artwork he had already used for the download version of the album The Soft Dream Decade. The originally two compositions are split into seven individual, numbered "episodes" though most of them fade seamlessly into each other.


The Eastgate Music Shop about the 2008 CD release"We hope that all musical offers so far had some extraordinary moments for you. But now we're proud to present you something very special: Two re-recorded classics which are very highly rated not just among the die-heart community -- Hyperborea and Tangram. Both CDs will be limited editions and Eastgate Music will sell just 2,000 copies. These two new recordings will come with a story about the original recording sessions back in Berlin in 1980 and 1983.
If you want to know more about the character of the music on the 2008 versions -- listen to Hyper Sphinx live from the London show last year."


The booklet contains quite extensive liner notes by Bianca Froese-Acquaye:
  • About the album title:
    "During the research of old Chinese paintings, Edgar first heard about the puzzle's philosophy by reading about a servant of a Chinese emperor who crashed with a very expensive tile. The tile shattered in dozens of smaller pieces. In panic the servant tried to patch up the pieces in its original square form. Instead of being successful here, he created lots of patterns and images never seen before. He became a well-known artist in his time."
  • About the original recording session:
    "When the first recording session of Tangram began back in 1980, Johannes Schmoelling joined the band just a few months ago. Confronted with new equipment and working philosophies he had a hard time getting into the TD mechanics which always have been different from any other recording sessions. He finally was a very supportive musician and his contributions on this production was very obvious. When Tangram got released in the UK later in 1980 it became a remarkable success within the world of new popular music." It is remarkable that Chris Franke, who was member of the group at that time, is not mentioned at all in this section.
  • About the new version:
    "The re-recording of Tangram wasn't easy at all. Lots of samples and instruments had to be re-discovered to get as close as possible to the atmosphere of the original recording. At the same time it had to be the sound of 2008. Research for the original synth guitar from the Japanese Roland company as well as endless puzzelings within TD's older sampling library was a very time consuming factor. Fortunately Christian Stettner who had administered a great portion of TD's sound library back in 1980 did also work on the new project. So after a couple of months most of the basic work was done. Edgar did play all the parts by himself. Today -- after 28 years -- Tangram sounds as if it would have been recorded now -- with musical strength and the incomparable TD sound."


In September 2008 the re-release became available as MP3 download at the Tangerine Dream Download Shop as well, and in March 2009 Tangram 2008 was re-released with different cover design as part of an extensive digipack series (consisting of a total of more than 60 CD and DVD releases) by the Germany based Membran record label; in May 2009 it was re-released in Japan as part of a series of HiQualityCDs with mini LP paper sleeves.


1980: Virgin/CBS
Promo-LP [a]: V 2147; white promo labels, gsc
LP [a]: V 2147; red/green labels
Promo-LP [a]: L 37268; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol and sticker
LP [a]: L 37268; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol
1980: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: 202 169; yellow/red picture labels with Tangram symbol
LP [a]: 202 169; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol
1980: Virgin/Polygram
LP [a]: VL 2205; red/green labels
198?: Virgin
LP [a]: VL 2205; red/white labels
1995: Virgin/EMI
CD [a]: 840 263-2
1995: Virgin
CD [a]: 840 263-2; identical to UK version from 1995
2020: Virgin/Universal
CD [a]: 089 770-0; multi-coloured disc
1980: Virgin/Polarvox
LP [a]: V 2147; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol and sticker
LP [a]: V 2147; red/green labels
1980: Virgin/Polydor
LP [a]: 2473 756; black/silver labels
1981: Virgin
LP [a]: 202 169; red/green labels
1984: Virgin
CD [a]: CDV 2147; identical to UK version from 1984
1980: Virgin/Ariola
Promo-LP [a]: 202 169; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol, insert
LP [a]: 202 169; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol, coloured picture inner sleeve with Tangram photos
LP [a]: 202 169; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol, black/white picture inner sleeve with Tangram photos
LP [a]: 202 169; red/green labels, white inner sleeve
1984: Virgin/Ariola
CD [a]: 610 380; identical to UK version from 1984 with the German order number on a sticker fixed on the jewel case
1993: Virgin
CD [a]: 786 681-2
2008: Eastgate
CD [b]: eastgate 028 CD; multicoloured disc; matrix code: 9232 east TG08; no order number on disc or inserts; limited edition of 2,000 copies
Download [b]: complete release or individual tracks as MP3
2009: Membran
CD [b]: 232635; digipack
198?: Virgin/Polygram
LP [a]: 2473 756; red/green labels
1980: Virgin/General Music
LP [a]: BAN 2137; two green of the red/green labels
1980: Virgin/Dischi
LP [a]: VIL 12154; red/green labels
198?: Virgin/Dischi
LP [a]: OVED 112; red/green labels
1980: Virgin/Victor
Promo-LP [a]: VIP 6957; white promo labels
LP [a]: VIP 6957; red/green labels
1990: Virgin
CD [a]: VJCP-2519
Promo-CD [a]: VJCP-2519; same as regular release, but with additional red promo sticker
2009: WHD Entertainment
HQCD [b]: IECP-10170; cardboard sleeve, obi; limited edition
Promo-HQCD [b]: IECP-10170; same as regular release, but with additional red promo sticker
New Zealand
1980: Virgin/RTC
LP [a]: V 2147; red/green labels
1980: Virgin/VADECA
LP [a]: VV-33054Y; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol
1997?: Spurk
Counterfeit-CD [a]: UL 98411; white/black disc
1980: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: I 202 169; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol, cover stating release year 1978 (sic!)
LP [a]: I 202 169; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol, cover stating release year 1980
1981: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: I 202 169; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol, cover stating release year 1981
1980: Virgin
LP [a]: V 2147; white/red picture labels with Tangram symbol
1984: Virgin
CD [a]: CDV 2147; red insert and booklet
CD [a]: CDV 2147; purple (maybe a printing error) insert and booklet
1985: Virgin
LP [a]: OVED 112; red/green labels
LP [a]: OVED 112; white/gray labels
1995: Virgin
CD [a]: TAND 11
1980: Virgin/JEM
Promo-LP [a]: VI 2147; skin coloured labels, cover with promo sticker
LP [a]: VI 2147; skin coloured labels
1991: Caroline
CD [a]: CAROL 1805-2; purple insert and booklet; matrix code: 1805 (V) Mastered by Nimbus
1995: Caroline
CD [a]: CAROL 1805-2; purple insert and booklet; matrix code: 1805 01 02-03-95 SP 1-1-2 EMI JAX
1997: Caroline
CD [a]: CAROL 1805-2
2010: Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra
CD [b]: CLP 9141-2
Copyright/Disclaimer   © 2001-2021 by Michael Berling. Last Update: 2021-09-19 21:31