New Agers and ambient connoisseurs rarely see eye to eye. Though both audiences seek a similar sensorial ideal, most albums are either too unsettled and dissonant for the one or too dilute and cloying for the other. Tangerine Dream splits the difference between the opposing factions. The visionary German project essentially sired both sets. TD's earliest incarnations were first into the ambient pool; their seminal albums dense with hair-raisingly abstract electronic atmospheres. Later TD, wooed by Hollywood and subdued by constant personnel changes, won the hearts of the upwardly mobile with its sprawling amalgamation of jazz, world-beat, post-'70s psychedelic rock throb, and airy synthetic drift. Both phases of Tangerine Dream have group anchor Edgar Froese in common, and Froese's parallel solo career has satisfied adherents on either side of the fence. AQUA, his first solo album, predates Tangerine Dream's breakthrough album, 1974's PHAEDRA. Recorded using revolutionary binaural sound techniques, AQUA sweetens Froese's uncompromising experimentation with the crowd-pleasing sleight of "head music." Over four extended passages, electronics burble, shimmer, surge, swoop and speaker-pan in hazily melodic and nebulous shapes. AQUA is the consummate headphone album, a crafty, cosmic stereophonic delight guaranteed to captivate all open minds.