Virgin VR 13-116
Released: August 1975
Those who thrilled to Phaedra, Tangerine Dream's first American-released opus, will be just as charmed by Rubycon. This new package of 23rd century lounge schmaltz features exactly the same heady blend of electronic whooshes, whirls, hums, bleeps, whines, groans, sweeps and whistles that its predecessor did. In fact, one only slightly more skeptical than this reviewer might go so far as to suggest that Rubycon is little more than Phaedra run through the tape machine backwards. Occasionally this total synthesizer assault makes for an interesting background buzz but Rubycon is so anti-melodic that it makes Autobahn sound like the Neil Diamond songbook. The album will retain your interest for a solid three minutes. It would have made a great 45.
- Gordon Fletcher, Rolling Stone, 9/11/75.
Classic, uncompromising Tangerine Dream, it is a must for any serious collector of electronic music. * * *
- Linda Kohanov, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
Rubycon is a 35 minute masterpiece of sonic layers; it offers a thick blanket of sound that's as complex as any classical symphony, and rich enough to find new enjoyment with every listen. * * * * 1/2
- Bryan Lassner, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
The music Tangerine Dream made during the mid-1970s, its most creative period, has been described as "space ambience" and "stoner nirvana." It's all that and an EPCOT ride too, a tour through vast desolate lunar landscapes (or a hyperreal simulation). This two-part piece continues the basic ideas the German trio, formed by Edgar Froese in 1967, explored so skillfully on its previous album Phaedra, the oft-maligned ambient milestone that put the group in the Top 20 of the British Album charts for the first time. There are lush cascades of echo-chamber sound and slow-moving swirls of otherworldly strings created on the tape-based instrument known as the mellotron.
But Rubycon adds more rhythmic synthesizer blips, recurring patterns that pulsate beneath the surface. And its "Part Two" is much darker than anything on Phaedra: Propelled by solemn electronically generated male voices, it begins in the murky oceanic depths. As the voices trail off, the music seems to brighten, slowly ascending until, in the final moments, glimmers of daylight poke through. This voyaging vision of sound, ever-unfolding and not quite ever arriving, has been imitated endlessly since 1975. But somehow its admirers haven't quite captured the openness and faraway grandeur of Tangerine Dream.
- Tom Moon, 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, 2008.
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