If you're at all interested in ambient electronic music and you haven't looked backwards in the genre 20 or more years, you're missing out on some great releases. That's right, I said 20 or more years. Although Aphex Twin, Moby, The Future Sound Of London and several other new artists are probably the most well known names in the genre to newer listeners, the roots lie with innovative artists like Brian Eno, Sylvian Fripp, Tangerine Dream and others. While the styles are distinctively more minimal and analog (understandably) during the 70's, it's a great way to hear the roots of the genre. While there were artists like Karlheinz Stockhausen and others doing electronic music experimentation even prior to the 70's, the 70's really marked the first time that electronic albums were mass manufactured and released by major labels. Now that I've spewed long enough about the genre itself, let me talk about the album.
Although Phaedra may not be their best album, with its release in 1974, it certainly established Tangerine Dream as a force in the genre that would continue to follow-up the work with tons more solid releases (including the awesome 1975 follow-up Rubycon). The anchor title track of the shorter- lengthed album is an 18 minute, constantly unfurling multi-layered track that stands as one of the coolest "trance" sounding tracks ever recorded, even before the sub-genre had probably been coined. The rest of the album continues along the same general theme, but in shorter and different variations. While it's not a very long album, it stands well as a solid release. If you're into ambient electronic music, it would be worth your time to check out at least one of Tangerine Dreams releases.