Tangerine Dream - Ultima Thule Parts 1&2

Tangerine Dream
Ultima Thule Parts 1&2

Released 1972 on OHR
Reviewed by Dave Furgess, 27/04/2007ce

One can hardly imagine a group like Tangerine Dream actually recording and releasing a 45, if ever a group was geared specifically for the long player format and eventually CD format it was this bunch from Germany. Though they weren't the first German psych/prog group to try their hands at the 7" 45 format, the equally unlikely German group Amon Duul had actually issued the 45 only release of "Eternal Flow" b/w "Paramechanical World" two years earlier (groups like Can, Neu and even Faust also got in on the fun at one time or another.)

Still when one thinks of Tangerine Dream they usually think of their sprawling, mega-prog outings such as "Zeit", "Atem" and "Alpha Centauri." Yet when you go back to the group's first proper album "Electronic Meditation" you can clearly see that this was a group that liked to turn up the volume and rock out when the mood struck them.

"Ultima Thule" was issued in 1972 over both sides of 45 on the OHR label. Side A features a blistering dose of progressive acid rock that brings to mind groups such as Man, Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies with an egual dose of "A Saucerful Of Secrets" Pink Floyd. Part 1 also looks ahead to post-punk groups like Joy Division, Wire & The Comsat Angels.

"Ultima Thule" part 2 is a more sedate affair that is much more in line with the group's albums. This piece just kind of hangs there in the air, aided by dreary keyboards and Nick Mason style rolling percussion. Sadly I don't think either side has been officially re-issued as yet.

What Tangerine Dream were hoping to achieve with this release is anyone's guess, I seriously doubt they had the pop charts in mind. But who knows, artists as unlikely as The Soft Machine, Alice Coltrane and Van Der Graaf Generator had released similar type 45's. You have to sort of admire them for the attempt to have a hit single!

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