Fans generally acknowledge the classic era of Tangerine Dream as coinciding with their Virgin years, which this collection rounds up nicely, opening with two landmarks, Phaedra and Rubycon, then including the group's broadening of scope and direction with the live Ricochet, Stratosfear, and Cyclone. This was directly after the early avant-garde years, consisting of experimental, arrhythmic work like Atem and Electronic Meditation, and before the Hollywood years, when Edgar Froese and co. began composing work for movie scores like Risky Business. Phaedra and Rubycon have not dated at all since their early-‘70s recording, despite Froese, Peter Baumann, and Chris Franke’s early adoption of Moog technology, along with Mellotron and other electric or electronic instruments. Along with the full LPs in their most recent remastering, the collection also rounds up single edits and 7” versions when they were originally available.
The all-girl trio Arabesque was created by two Frankfurt-based German producers at the height of the disco era in 1977. After one album and a few singles that had found surprising success in Japan, the producers changed the lineup, keeping Michaela Rose and replacing the two other girls with Jasmin Vetter and Sandra Lauer. Vetter, a former gymnast, also became the trio's choreographer and Lauer, soon to be billed simply as Sandra, assumed the position of a lead vocalist. The first single of the updated Arabesque, "Hello, Mr. Monkey" went to number one in Japan. The Far East remained the band's biggest market, with numerous albums and compilations released over the years. However, Arabesque's success in their homeland was very modest, with only one single, "Marigot Bay," entering the German charts at number eight in 1981. In 1984, they disbanded and Sandra embarked on a successful solo career with the songs written by her future husband Michael Cretu (of Enigma fame.) Jasmin Vetter and Michaela Rose formed a new duet, Rouge, but after a few obscure singles it ceased to exist.
Born to Nigerian parents brought to Algeria, percussionist Guem grew up playing traditional music and trance rhythms from an early age. His family soon initiated him into the secrets of the diwan–ceremonies where many of the participants enter a state of trance.
The Kinks became arena rockers with Sleepwalker, and its follow-up, Misfits, follows in the same vein, but it's a considerable improvement on its predecessor. Ray Davies has learned how to write within the confines of the arena rock formula, and Misfits is one of rock & roll's great mid-life crisis albums, finding Davies considering whether he should even go on performing…