TANGERINE DREAM: The Keep (1983)
“To me The Keep is the more complete soundtrack that Tangerine Dream has ever produced”
1 Puer Natus Est Nobis 3:09 2 Ancient Powerplant 4:28 3 The Silver Seal 3:07 4 Voices from a Common Land 4:06 5 Arx Allemand 4:24 6 The Night in Romania 3:15 7 Canzone 2:51 8 Sign in the Dark 4:19 9 Weird Village 3:23 10 Love and Destiny 3:31 11 The Challenger's Arrival 4:32 12 Supernatural Accomplice 4:07
13 Parallel Worlds 4:29
14 Truth and Fiction 2:52
15 Wardays Sunrise 3:20
16 Heritage Survival 4:13 TDI010CD
(CD 60:06) (V.F.)
(Berlin School, E-Rock, melodious)
Mythical album which knew so many childbirths than miscarriages, THE KEEP is the Blade Runner of Tangerine Dream. Composed while they were on Logos tour, this soundtrack of a somber horror movie, that has worship only the rarity and the legends surrounding its music, breathes all of the quintessence of the metallic and melodic works of Tangerine Dream, era White Eagle to Le Parc. This 2nd collaboration between Franke/Froese/Schmoelling and the film-maker Michael Mann (Thief) got bumped to all kind of delays and copyright problems, taking 15 years before being lying on CD in the strictest legality, and in limited edition, on Tangerine Dream International's label at the end of 1997 and later in 1999. Nevertheless, Virgin was ready to release the record as soon as in 1984 (legend would whisper that a handful of vinyl were already in circulation) but had to take away the project for a copyright problem. In fact, several announcements were made by Virgin, but none became a reality and bootlegs got released by hundreds in the shade of those promises, among them the famous Blue Moon and Orange Records editions. In all 7 bootlegs came to manure the machine of legends whereas TDI finally released 2 editions for a total of 450 official copies. Another factor that amplified the craze around THE KEEP is the confusion around the titles and the portion that was really used for the needs of the movie (we talk about 3 or 4 titles only) while the recording sessions would have left nearly 150 minutes of music. So, let's talk about the music!
An electronic version of Thomas Tallis' Midnight Mass wrote back in 1554, Puer Natus Est Nobis opens this somber album with a delicious choir with virginal voices chanting under the soft orchestral arrangements of a dreamy synth. The voices push the angelic melody in the high spheres of the emasculated singers, strongly turning over the feelings and making raise the arms' hair with a surprising duality. If this track looks out of tune from the Dream repertoire, quite as the powerful Canzone and its Gregorian choirs which float on synth breaths as much philharmonic than mephistophelic as well as Parallel Worlds and its glaucous pulsations which trample fluty breezes à Le Parc, Ancient Powerplant sets things straight with a scheming intro where the vapors of synths sing a distorted melody. The mood is tetanised by a veil of apocalyptic blackness while far off we are hearing the percussions to come as reinforcement to establish a rhythmic among which the electronic castanets, of which we find all the fascination on the light and cheerful Voices from a Common Land, bites to the full the cosmic melodies whistled by a whimsical synth and harmonized by a guitar to discreet elusive notes. The Silver Seal is a melody without rhythm of which the approach exudes the ambiences of Hyperborea and Flashpoint, while Arx Allemand entails us in the baroque spheres of Wendy Carlos, displaying all the paradoxes that a soundtrack from a movie with black and supernatural atmospheres can allow.
The Night in Romania is a soft pensive tune that percussions bear of a dreamy and slow rhythm. The synth spits harmonious filets of mists which go so well with the powerful ambience of the orgiac choirs of Canzone who belt out on idle synth lines. Sign in the Dark brings us back in the metallic jolts of Mojave Plan on a rhythm which gasps the desertic ambiences of Flashpoint. The sequences are gorgeous and crisscross, both in forms and tones, forging a delicious rhythmic ride which gallops against current on the waves of synth dying of vaporous harmonies. With Weird Village we enter into the more atmospheric phase of this album with a slow onset which calls back the hesitating metallic brightness of Silver Scale. Although more melodious, Love and Destiny borrows the same ambiophonic paths on a track which has doubtless inspired the works of Destination Berlin, while titles like Supernatural Accomplice and Truth and Fiction are offering supernatural approaches with vocoder voices with ghostly breaths floating on clouds of mist. The Challenger's Arrival and Wardays Sunrise are two tracks built on very similar grounds of which the sensual and dreamy slow rhythms are caressed by the very melancholic guitar of Edgar Froese. Heritage Survival ends THE KEEP with rhythm and strength on a lively and melodic structure drawn on Logos finale.
To me THE KEEP is the more complete soundtrack that Tangerine Dream has ever produced. Although only some titles have been put along the movie, the totality is really inspiring this fusion of Gothic horror and war in the most complex folds of unhealthy spirits. There is a fascinating correlation between times and ambiences of which the only connecting thread is an impression of Luciferian madness which binds 16 titles tortured by temporal contrasts. The work is titanic and gets inspiration out of this splendor era of Tangerine Dream which exploded its concerts halls with unedited material that landed on this soundtrack, from where the legendary passion for THE KEEP and its derived bootleg productions. Material that would spread its reminiscences as far as on Destination Berlin in 1989. Unfortunately, the album is still out of print. Thus you’ll have to watch Ebay to put the hand on a used copy or still on one of those famous bootlegs until Edgar empties his vaults and offers us finally all the musical adventure of THE KEEP; a major and inescapable work that you should at least hear once in your life.
Sylvain Lupari (September 28th, 2010) ****½*