In Search Of HadesThe Virgin Recordings 1973-1979
- Studio/Live, released June 2019 -
16CD+2DVD release Europe 2019
Artwork: Rupert Lloyd
Design: Phil Smee
|Recording date||1973 - 1979|
|In Search Of Hades, a boxed set released in mid 2019, was probably the most surprising and at the same time most fundamental Tangerine Dream release of the more recent ten or twenty years in band history. While information had leaked among fans months before that research had started to publish an extensive box set covering the early Virgin years of the band, nothing was known about the actual content until the official announcement by Universal Music (who nowadays own Virgin) was published. Even adepts of TD's band history were surprised by the vast amount of material that was unearthed from the Virgin vaults: besides some music that was just rare (because opportunities for re-release had been missed before) there was material that was believed to be lost forever and material of which apparently no-one knew that it existed at all.|
The box set covers the years from 1974 to 1979 and thus contains the seven studio and live albums that had been officially released by Virgin throughout this period. (In consequence, the soundtrack album Sorcerer, released in 1977 by MCA is unfortunately missing.) These albums are extended by a number of well-known, but rare tracks taken from singles or compilations. All this material has been thoroughly remastered by Ben Wiseman, resulting in a superior sound quality, unmatched by any previous release. This alone would justify the purchase of this box.
Some of this material additionally comes in a new mix, done by Steven Wilson using the original multi-track master tapes. Wilson, himself a renowned musician, singer, composer and producer has been known to be a fan of TD's early work (especially Zeit). His stereo mixes are not radically different from the original ones, but he succeeded in carefully emphasizing some details that had been lost in the original mixes. Furthermore he created some 5.1 surround sound mixes which surely result in a new listening experience but require special audio hardware (including a BluRay player), of course.
Steven Wilson on his own website regarding In Search Of Hades: "My role was to create new stereo and 5.1 mixes of whatever could be found of the original album multitrack tapes, but that turned out to be only Ricochet and 2 tracks from Phaedra. [...] As a big Tangerine Dream fan myself, I've waited a long time for a definitive set covering their classic period, so of course was very happy to be involved in putting this one together."
But, what is more, about half of the total of 18 discs feature music material that had been entirely unreleased before -- including studio outtakes, live concerts and a complete but withheld studio album.
The appearance of the box set does not fall short of its contents: It comes in a solid LP-sized cardboard box with some great cover artwork and design. It contains an large hard cover book of about 70 pages with the original album front covers, numerous photos and an extensive essay covering the band history and giving some inside information about the music material of this set. It was written by Wouter Bessels (a professional Dutch journalist and long-time TD fan) with additional contributions by Steven Wilson. The 16 CDs and two BluRay discs are housed in two large gatefold cardboard holders.
Disc 1 contains the original album Phaedra (1974), Tangerine Dream's debut album on Virgin Records. It comes in two versions: the original, but remastered mix (tracks 1 to 4 in the track listing above) as well as a new mix done in 2018 by Steve Wilson. Unfortunately, the original master tapes of Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares and Movements Of A Visionary were not found in the Virgin archives, so the new mix comprises of the title track Phaedra (track 5) and the short album coda Sequent C' (track 6) only.
Disc 2 and 3 present music material that was not known to exist until research for this box set had started: almost 80 minutes of studio outtakes from the recording session of Phaedra (tracks 7 to 14). This material is aptly titled 'The Road To Phaedra' in the book accompanying the box set, as it throws light on the evolution of this seminal album. Some of it seem to be early versions or sketches of pieces later to be found on the final recording, but most of it turns into completely different directions and shows the vast amount of experiments and trials the band undertook while creating the album and at the same time trying to tame their new and unpredictible electronic equipment.
Discs 4 and 5 present Live At The Victoria Palace Theatre (tracks 15 to 17), a professional and previously unreleased recording of the very first UK concert performed by the band.
Disc 6 contains no less than a 'holy grail' for many Tangerine Dream fans -- the complete and for the most part previously unreleased Oedipus Tyrannus recording from June 1974, mixed in stereo by Steven Wilson from the original master tapes now found in the Virgin archives (tracks 18 to 23).
Discs 7 and 8 feature Live At The Rainbow (tracks 24 to 28), the previously unreleased opening concert of the 1974 UK tour, professionally recorded by the Manor Mobile and hence in excellent sound quality.
Disc 9 presents the original album Rubycon (1975, tracks 29 and 30) plus a previously unreleased track, titled Rubycon, Extended Introduction. This track -- an early, unedited and extensive version of the introctory section of Rubycon, Part One -- was found on one of the Phaedra session reels, though it apparently was recorded later than 1973. It is unknown whether this track was recorded during the Rubycon sessions in January 1975 or predated those sessions and formed the blueprint of that what would become the opening of one of TD's most famous albums. This track was mixed from the original multi-track master tape by Steven Wilson.
Discs 10 and 11 hold Live At The Royal Albert Hall (tracks 32 to 34), which finally provides a professional stereo recording of this famous 1975 concert for the very first time. On this occasion Michael Hoenig replaced Peter Baumann who had left the band for a road trip to middle east.
Disc 12 features the original album Ricochet (1975) in two versions: the original, but remastered mix (tracks 35 and 36) as well as a new mix done in 2018 from the original multi-track tapes by Steven Wilson (tracks 37 and 38)
Disc 13 presents the original album Stratosfear (1976, tracks 39 to 42), plus single edits of two album tracks, taken from the Stratosfear/The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades single (1976, tracks 44 and 45). On October 4th, 1975 TD had started their 1975 UK tour with a concert at the cathedral of Coventry. This gig was filmed by the BBC, directed by Tony Palmer. Strangely the broadcast of this 30 minute film on October 3rd, 1976 did not include the actual audio of the concert but material from the album Ricochet, and so did the 2007 DVD release Live At Coventry Cathedral 1975 of the movie. Now, while researching In Search Of Hades, the original 34 minute soundtrack was found and included on this disc (track 43). Notably, this 'soundtrack' does not fit the visuals of the movie, as these had been heavily edited.
Disc 14 features the original album Encore (1977, tracks 46 to 49), plus the two tracks from the Monolight single (1977, tracks 50 and 51).
Disc 15 comprises the original album Cyclone (1978, tracks 52 to 54) plus two tracks (Baryll Blue and Haunted Heights) that were originally released on the box set '70-'80 (1980, tracks 55 and 56) and now finally premiere on a CD release.
Disc 16 contains the original album Force Majeure (1979, tracks 57 to 59) plus another track (Chimes And Chains) from the '70-'80 box set (track 60), now for the first time on CD as well.
Disc 17 (that is, the first BluRay disc of the set) contains 5.1 surround sound and 96 kHz/24-bit stereo mixes of Phaedra (tracks 61 to 70) and Oedipus Tyrannus (tracks 71 to 76), accessible via the BluRay menu.
Disc 18 (the second BluRay disc) features 5.1 surround sound and 96 kHz/24-bit stereo mixes of Ricochet (tracks 71 to 72) plus some video content: The famous 1975 Coventry concert movie as broadcast by BBC TV on October 3rd, 1976 and a Tangerine Dream documentary and performance from the German NDR/SFB TV as broadcast on May 23rd, 1976.
In conclusion, In Search Of Hades is easily one of the most essential Tangerine Dream releases of the 21st century -- a must-have for each TD enthusiast, of course, but as well a valuable extension of each record collector who is interested in this era which is believed to be the most innovative and essential one in the whole band history.
About the same time In Search Of Hades was released, the seven previously released albums that are part of this set (i.e. Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet, Stratosfear, Encore, Cyclone and Force Majeure) were re-released individually -- featuring the new remasters as well as all bonus tracks as contained on the respective discs within the box set (see above).
After the box set went out of stock rather quickly, Universal produced a second run during summer. This version differs from the first run only in that some cover artwork credits for Monique Froese have been added which had been omitted by mistake before.
- 2019: Virgin/Universal
- 16CD+2BluRay [a]: 772 711-9; LP sized box with sticker; LP sized hardcover book; multi-coloured discs
- Download [b]: complete album or individual tracks