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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Flashpoint (1984)

Updated: Dec 19, 2019

“Flashpoint is a good soundtrack of 35 minutes which doesn't worth the high prices asked on eBay!”

1 Going West 4:10 2 Afternoon in the Desert 3:35 3 Plane Ride 3:30 4 Mystery Tracks 3:15 5 Lost in the Dunes 2:40 6 Highway Patrol 4:10 7 Love Phantasy 3:40 8 Mad Cap Story 4:00 9 Dirty Cross Roads 4:20 10 Flashpoint

(performed by The Gems) 3:47 EMA| S21-18507

(CD 37:07) (V.F.)

(E-rock, Berlin School)

Let's be honest! How many of you heard FLASHPOINT without images moving in front of your eyes? Moreover, how many knows the existence of this soundtrack? Composed in the stride of Firestarter (we hear in it some of its eclectic tones) and robed in the skeleton of Hyperborea, this soundtrack is doubtless the work of the 80's which is the much closer of the 70's atmospheres with winks of eye to albums such as Stratosfear and Sorcerer. This surprising fusion of the digital years' coolness with the analog ambiences of the vintage years is the main charm of a soundtrack filled by lively rhythms and enigmatic moods which really bring us in the arid lands of the American deserts. More known under the shape of a bootleg with a so evocative title (Mystery Tracks released in 1993), FLASHPOINT is yet another work of Tangerine Dream which became extremely rare and sold at a high price on eBay.

Going West opens the album with good electronic percussions which drum in loops in the trail of a bass line with deep resounding chords. Spectral voices howl to the metallic moon while the synth hums a melody tinted of ghostly breezes which float over a puddle of heterogeneous tones, lost riffs and of these percussions which bombard a heavy and lively rhythm. Going West is an electronic rock which fast became an inescapable in the repertory of Tangerine Dream, especially in America. The title amazes by its rhythmic approach. Moreover, that's one of the strong points of the album which, with tracks such as Lost in the Dunes, Highway Patrol and Mad Cap Story, offers one of the most rhythmical albums of the Dream. If these rhythms are heavy and lively, the German trio always gives a priority to their floating ambiences which are darker and tenebrous here, respecting thus the mysteries and dangers of a desert that the Dream has visited in Sorcerer and Encore. Afternoon in the Desert and Plane Ride are perfect examples of this digital/analog merger with sequenced pulsations/percussions which shape an uncertain rhythm into clouds of metallic acute breezes à la Barbakane from Poland and The Keep, or still the surprising Near Dark which will come out some 3 years later. Dirty Cross Roads is another track made of the same mold but with a higher level of intensity. Mystery Tracks is a strange ballad which allies mystery, intrigues and romantism while that Love Phantasy is more atmospherical with a beautiful synth which radiates of a melody roaming on the outlines of heavy metallic pulsations. It's the quietest track here, although the resonant chords give to it an ambivalent rhythmic cachet. The title-track is totally devoid of interest. It's the weak link of an album which could have been as much interesting as Firestarter if that wasn't for this insipid imitation of a rock which, originally, had to replace the Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. A whish that the producer William Tannen was not able to buy himself, him who had asked Tangerine Dream not to compose an end title.

FLASHPOINT is quite a tour de force from Franke, Froese and Schmoelling. It's another good soundtrack which espouses the object of its meanings; the pirates' adventures of the American desert. The album is full of small underestimated jewels. And the drama is that it risks to stay as it is. And it's one the big problems for TD's fans and collectors. Due to scattering of their works among various music labels, especially for music film; who has the rights on what? And it's not the only soundtrack to suffer of rarity and so be sold at golden prices on eBay. And the price asked doesn't worth its justification. It's an honest music film of 35 minutes with good but not exceptional music on it, that's all! But I expect that one-day Edgar will offer to his fans the possibly to put our hands on a box-set that will regroup all of these works scattered at four winds … Like the story of FLASHPOINT.

Sylvain Lupari (October 15th, 2004) ***½**

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