Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 5.5: Tangerine Dream – Stratosfear

Tangerine Dream didn’t exist in my world until a mate mentioned to me how Steve Harris said in an interview that they are an influence. Since I couldn’t confirm it and why would my mate need to make stuff up, I seeked them out.


The ambitious 10 minute opener. A repeating synth lick keeps building. Just think of how the synth pattern sounds in “Stranger Things”.

It’s nothing flashy as the synths are the dominant instrument. The guitars finally kick in around the 7.30 mark for some boring and uninspired leads. But they only last for 15 seconds. The drums are low in the mix and it makes me wonder if a human even played em. Did drum machines exist in 1976?

There is this repeating synth percussion pattern that reminds me of Tool and the pattern at the start of “Eulogy”.

At 8.40, a strummed and shimmering arpeggio guitar pattern begins with the synth playing a little lead. It could be used for mindfulness.

But when the song finished, I said to myself, that is 10 minutes I will never get back.

For a title track and album opener, it is the worst track I have heard by far. And I can’t believe I wrote that many words about it.

The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades

It could have come from a sword and fantasy movie. It’s cinematic, just under 5 minutes. But it’s a skip for me.

3AM At The Border Of The Mars

The synth plays a riff that sounds like water dripping from the tap and hitting the metal sink surface. The violin and harmonica sound western like, but the eerie synth patterns makes it all feel other worldly.

Invisible Limits

At 11.29 in length I wasn’t expecting great things. And i was right.

By the end I was thinking, what did Steve Harris like about this to influence him?

Was it the explorative song structures or the futuristic soundscapes?

I didn’t know it at the time that “Stratosfear” was the seventh studio album.

And I always thought that Tangerine Dream was British, but they were German. I also presumed that it was a traditional band, with guitars, bass, synth, vocals and drums, but that wasn’t the case either. Its three dudes playing the Moog Synthesizer, smoking a lot of weed and taking a lot of acid.

Listen at your own risk.

And my mate told me he made it all up just to sound cool.

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Who Do You Think RPWL Are?

Lost in all the noise that is the music business, is a German neo progressive rock band called RPWL. They started of their career as a Pink Floyd cover band.

That is how all bands start off. Playing the songs of our favourites. Eventually, they started to create their own music, heavily influenced by the music they covered. Singer, Yogi Lange has the Gilmour tone to his voice and guitarist Karl Heinz Wallner gets very close to Gilmour’s signature sound.

However, the RPWL story didn’t start in 1997. It goes back to 1992 and a band called Violet District. On their debut and only album, “Terminal Breath”, Pink Floyd influences abound, however the influence of Marillion is more predominant. The nucleus of Violet District are the talents of Karl-Heinz Wallner, Chris Postl and Yogi Lang who of course went on to become members of RPWL. So from the ashes of Violet District, RPWL is born. Like Bon Scott said, it is a long way to the top if you want to prog and roll.

God Has Failed (2000)

This album should have done better in recognition. The world needed some Pink Floyd, and while the original band was on hiatus, RPWL stepped up to fill the void. Remember the catchy cry; progress is derivative. RPWL’s “God Has Failed” is Pink Floyds “A Momentary Lapse Of Reason Pt. 2”. Tempus Fugit the record label said that with the release of the RPWL debut album, it was their first album that made some money in sales and it gave the label the chance to invest the profits in other artists.

This album got the band labelled as Pink Floyd clones, much the same way Kingdom Come was labelled Led Zeppelin clones after their debut. The difference between the two in sales is staggering, as Kingdom Come went on a multi-platinum victory lap and RPWL didn’t.

This is RPWL raw and showing the world their influences. If you don’t like it I don’t care. If you don’t know it, you should.

“Who Do You Think We Are”
Great title to sum up the band, and I believe the song also sums up the musical style of the album. This is The Beatles crossed with Pink Floyd. The Beatles are a big influence that went largely unnoticed when this album came out. George Harrison could have written this track. It is a pop song with a progressive chorus.

Who do you think we are
There’s nothing left
But the shades of our past

When you reach that point in a relationship or a friendship and each side has gone in different directions. Where do we stand at this point in time? How do we fit in each other’s lives right now? When you can’t find the answer, the only thing left is the past.

We both know the sun will rise again
We both thought that it will never end
But somewhere deep inside
Life as got a bitter taste
When not a single friend is here to stay

Isn’t that always the case. When a break up happens, either in a relationship or a friendship, people take sides. There is always one that will be left all alone.

“In Your Dreams”
This follows on with The Beatles meets Pink Floyd theme set in “Who Do You Think We Are”. It’s the seventies merged with the eighties in the Year 2000. Think of the song “Sorrow” from “A Momentary Lapse of Reason”. The song has those moments of recognition, however as the track goes on, it becomes its own track and it evolves into the heaviest bit of the album.

Tell me what do you feel
When you die in your dreams

Who hasn’t woken up from a dream state, with that terrible sinking feeling. You have just dreamt your death, and that sick feeling lingers.

It should have been the closer on the album. If anything the album is just a tad too long. 45 minutes would be sufficient, however RPWL released 71 minutes worth of music. It looks like they couldn’t part with some of the material. In this song, I am hearing King Crimson influence’s merged with Pink Floyd.

Remember all the time when life
Was only china in our hands

What a way to sum up how fragile life is, by comparing it to valuable china plates. You know, those plates that your parents bring out on special occasions to serve dinner when people are around. Then they are hand washed carefully, and dried in a safe place, so that the gold edge doesn’t get damaged.

When the Master calls
Don’t be afraid to say Farewell

In the end when the maker calls, the negotiations are over. It doesn’t matter how much you argue and try to buy more time, the end is the end. Death is just a transition.