Castle Records has its paws very much in the remastering game, now lending a few classic releases by German electro-pioneers Tangerine Dream the makeover treatment with illustrated slipcases, archival photographs, and new liner notes. These new remasters sound super, but it may take a seriously high-end audio setup to determine if they're significantly (if at all) better than the last batch by Relativity (the label Castle is leasing the rights from). Unfortunately, the original album art still hasn't been restored — hence, the dopey cover pic from the first '90s reissue.
Green Desert is a superb relic from the olden days of the Dream, recorded in 1973 by only founder Edgar Froese and relative newcomer, ex-Agitation Free drummer Christoph Franke (third bandmate Peter Baumann was on sabbatical and exploring Tibet). With some polishes added during the remixing for the original 1986 edition, Green Desert was one of the last instances where drummer-cum-synthesist Franke would wield his sticks, on the title track and "White Clouds." The sublime title piece was both in line with TD's direction at the time, and something of a retread, in a positive way. "Green Desert" involves a haunting guitar improv that slowly unfolds over a foundation drone, progressing to a point that has more in common with good ol' "psych & roll" than the somnolent forays into acidland that were so prominent on Zeit and Phaedra. The final few minutes sound like more traditional Dream fare, but provide an appropriate cap to the pillared affair. The theme continues in the tighter, compact "White Clouds"; again, Franke's percussion-mantra surges forth, and the drone is replaced by a legitimate melody. "Astral Voyager" is seven minutes of blissful Berlin School sequencing that sends the soul careening through its own almic kaleido-scape. "Indian Summer" returns everything to an ambient calm by way of bright flashes of synthstrings, the type that ARP and Roland Jupiters are known for.
In retrospect, one of Tangerine Dream's accidentally-discovered recordings is henceforth one of the band's best nostalgia trips. This remaster of Green Desert is only available as an import, but online vendors appear to be tagging it at a price averaging under fifteen dollars; check with your favorite online CD store, or dedicated prog vendors like Syn-Phonic, The Laser's Edge, Doug Larson Imports, and Wayside Music.
1. Green Desert (19:29)
2. White Clouds (5:01)
3. Astral Voyager (7:03)
4. Indian Summer (6:53)
Total time – 38:26