Tangerine Dream & Brian May: Starmus – Sonic Universe

Big stars make a big bang at this celestial festival.

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The week-long Starmus Festival took place in Tenerife in June 2011 to mark 50 years since Yuri Gagarin’s trip into space. Attendees included Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell, and Tangerine Dream performed the concert captured on this double-disc album.

They’re joined for a few songs by rock’s most famous astronomer, Queen’s Brian May, and together prove themselves the perfect choice for the festival. Edgar Froese and band present a set of galactically grand synths and cosmic soundscapes adorned by Linda Spa’s lyrical sax and Hoshiko Yamane’s lithe violin.

The opener Supernova is a brand new composition, May layering feedback and trademark licks over an electro-drone (apparently containing recordings of acoustic pressure waves from stars). Marmontel Riding On A Clef and Beauty Of Magic Antagonism come from the group’s album of that year, The Island Of The Fay, and Nutshell Awakening adds some tribal beats to proceedings.

All rather beautiful, and with a palpable sense of occasion. After the closing, 10-minute mash-up of We Will Rock You, you’ll feel like you’re stumbling out of the Planetarium and into the daylight.