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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Tangerine Dream Thief (1981)

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

With such a soundtrack, we understand the craze of producers of the film industry for the music of Tangerine Dream

1 Beach Theme 3:44 2 Dr. Destructo 3:21 3 Diamond Diary 10:51 4 Burning Bar 3:14 5 Beach Scene 6:48 6 Scrap Yard 4:42 7 Trap Feeling 3:00 8 Igneous 4:48 Virgin 840 520-02

(CD 39:07) (V.F.)

(Electronic Rock, Berlin School)

It was shortly after finishing Tangram that Tangerine Dream embarked on the soundtrack project of Michael Mann, THIEF. And unlike Sorcerer, this music will be written while the film is in box, facilitating the vision of Franke, Froese and Schmoelling. And like the movie, the music is full-bodied. More rock than ambient electronics with Edgar's guitar dominating in places these layers of synth that are often the wealth of electronic structures. Chris Franke experiments his sequencer by introducing rotary percussion lines that tumble like a train and deepen the rhythms in an unrealistic vision, as on Diamond Diary. Who doesn't remember Beach Theme? A heavy, sensual and haunting title that strolls casually on a ripping synth that mixes its sonorities with Edgar's six-strings. His guitar is very beautiful, making of Beach Theme a hymn to love. Anthem that is taken over with a more vicious guitar on Beach Scene. Dr. Destructo is just like the action scenes of the movie. An accelerated pace on good riffs and guitar solos. Diamond Diary is a pure jewel of a sequencer. On an atmospheric intro and synth keys in suspension, one hears in the distance a bass line that seems to roll. In fact, it tumbles like a railroad. The rhythm is animated by a boosted sequencer whose sharp alternations between each jumping ion surpass the percussions that roll on the big riffs of guitars. The ambiences are furious! This is the first draft of Silver Scale and it feels like we are running in yogurt, so much the rhythms are crisscrossing into almost inert sound masses. In fact, it's slowed down by the accumulation of synth layers and their effects while the sequencer line rolls and always jumps in the background. There is a nice atmospheric passage where we hear the sequence in mono linear, preparing its rolling. A good moment in EM hidden in a soundtrack? Ah ... it's the beauty of EM where the unrealistic sound is next to the most realistic ambiences. Getting wild, Franke's sequencer continues its rolling of pulsating beats with Burning Bar, a title with a sarcastic vision that is both symphonic and mocking, reminiscent of Peter Baumann's first solo album. A beautiful title with a little something special that makes it all its charm. Scrap Yard continues with an approach imagined in the shadow of Diamond Dary. The guitar is furious and makes a duel to philarmonic synth pads that are rather heavy. Trap Feeling is the only real atmospheric moment on THIEF with a mellotron wave that barely moves its shadow. More nervous and rounder, Igneous twirls on slamming percussions and vaporous effects in a dark and slow universe with a hue of the Wild West. Especially with the howlings of the wolves that are on the lookout in a metallic darkness. A title finally that will shake its ashes on Exit.

With such a soundtrack, we understand the craze of producers of the film industry for the music of Tangerine Dream. Nothing is perfect in the universe of THIEF. But the Dream manages to keep its identity in a context that leaves little room for creativity. Except that Chris Franke, Edgar Froese and Johannes Schmoelling have succeed. They manage to give the images a sound structure that is so realistic that it blends by magic to the setting and the stories. Very good!

Sylvain Lupari (September 3rd, 2006) *****

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