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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

TANGERINE DREAM: Near Dark (1988)

Near Dark is a fair album where EM meets heavy, dark and rock ambiences which respect the spirit of the movie

1 Caleb's Blues 3:20 2 Pick Up at High Noon 4:59 3 Rain in the Third House 2:59 4 Bus Station (Mae's Theme) 8:42 5 Good Times 2:37 6 She's my Sister (Resurrection I) 7:22 7 Mae Comes Back 2:02 8 Father and Son (Resurrection II) 2:58 9 Severin Dies 2:50 10 Fight at Dawn 4:40 11 Mae's Transformation 4:21 Varese Sarabande VCD 47309

(CD 46:50) (V.F.)

(Dark and heavy E-Rock)

I am maybe one of the few to have liked this soundtrack. Notice that I loved a lot the movie. That could help but there is more. All along the album, the rock sides as the ambient moods, we feel this stifling atmosphere of mystery which sticks with so much neatness to the movie. In fact, we have the vague feeling that Franke, Froese and Haslinger were confidentially connected to NEAR DARK.

And yet Caleb's Blues starts rather badly. It's a mix of e-rock soaked in a well-structured shy synth-pop. It only misses the platinum wigs and that's it; Tangerine Dream turns into a commercial MTV figurine. We like? Then we should like Good Times and its very acid play of percussions. It's a big rock with good electronic percussions which don't really with the savage riffs and boosted solos from Edgar Froese's wild guitar play. This contrast is the main attraction of this surprising e-rock. Pick-up at High Noon throws a dark, a somber atmosphere. It's a small jewel which finds its climax with the violent Fight at Dawn. Both tracks exploit furtive structures where the rhythm hesitates constantly. A rhythm which gropes all along and which hold back is impetus on in atmospheres of sadness, lunar apocalypse where roam thick clouds of black strata and sibylline waves. The percussions which blow up the finale of Fight at Dawn, which also smothered the sordid ambiences of Pick-up at High Noon, are explosive. The finale is rough and violent. And I strongly recommend tying those 2 tracks together in your Ipod. Rain in the Third House is a good floating rock which eventually abandoned its ethereal envelope to roll on a good rock. The guitar of Froese looses caustic riffs and howling chords in a dense pattern of ghostly voices, reaching with art the dark and tense passages of the movie. The bass lines of Bus Station reminds of some passages of Le Parc. It's a track where the rhythm is blocked by intense occult atmospheres where we notice passages which kiss sessions of Le Parc, Tyger and even Legend. The music may last about 9 minutes that TD doesn't exploit it really as a whole, contenting of playing the principle of atmospheric and atonal moods grabbed here and there in its old repertoire. But the melody whistled on synths eventually does the job. She's My Sister (Resurrection I) is an interesting track. Well exploited and structured, it's purely in the mood of the young revolted vampires from the movie while bringing to it more than a small electronic touch. Mae Comes Back and Father and Son (Resurrection II) are other good solid tracks. They would be remaining from sessions of Legend or The Keep, that I wouldn't be surprised. After the very nervous and cacophonous Severin Dies, Mae's Transformation ends NEAR DARK by a melancholic ambient ballad. It's a kind of mix of love and of hope, if we saw the movie, on the vague harmonies of a vaporous synth. It's not bad; it is just too aseptic with not enough emotions. Well, we are in the core of TD's 85 to 90 years!

NEAR DARK is an honest soundtrack with a more rock vision from Tangerine Dream. It has the merit to respect the very dark and rebel moods of this contemporary vampire movie. I quite enjoyed it; note that Pick-up at High Noon and Fight at Dawn helped a lot. As I said, it's rather rock, violent by moments, and Edgar feed that violence with a raging, a very howling guitar. I believe that the fact of having seen the movie amplifies my obsession for this soundtrack about which we just don't talk enough.

Sylvain Lupari (November 24th, 2006) *****

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