The last couple days have seen some major Tangerine Dream action. No, that’s not some crazy sex act that’s illegal in 20 states(21 I think). It’s also not a foreign film starring…someone foreign. No, Tangerine Dream is a electronic prog band from Germany that’s been taking us on cosmic journeys since the late 60s. In the late 70s they had a bit of a career renaissance when they began scoring films(Sorcerer, Risky Business, Legend, Firestarter, and Near Dark were highlights.) For me, I will always remember them for the Firestarter soundtrack. As a kid that really stood out in my memory. I think the movie would’ve suffered had it not been for their ominous synth collages. It would’ve been like Halloween being scored by Howard Shore instead of John Carpenter himself.
I started listening to Tangerine Dream as an adult only a few years ago. I bought Tangerine Dream’s Tangram on a whim. Well, I found a used copy for a $1, so that was my whim. But I’m so glad I did as it’s become my go to album when I need some spacey soundscapes to fill my home when I don’t feel like banging my head or feeling all melancholy. Over the summer I bought Stratosfear from the local antique(junk)store. I think I paid $4 for it. It was in great shape, so it seemed like a deal. When I got it home and spun it I wasn’t really inspired to keep listening. Something just wasn’t clicking for me. Sunday I decided to throw it on and give it another go. Man, I’m glad I did as I’m loving this record. It’s a little more sparse than Tangram. It’s darker, too. There’s something ominous about this album that reminds me of those static-y bits you hear on Boards of Canada’s albums. Those parts where there’s a whistle of a synth covered in noise as you can make out a distant voice. It’s eerie and cool all at once. Listening to Stratosfear I get the feeling of Italian cinema on side one. Side two sounds like the score for an erotic sci fi fantasy film. A chromed-out flying anti-gravity ship being flown by a martian queen with exposed breasts(as in three exposed breasts) rush through the violet broken sky as lasers whoosh by our hero’s head. His skin-tight silver suit shows graying chest hair and the emblem of Kahtar hanging from a hemp string which he was given by a young slave girl named Gnomi Ochk Nine.
At least that’s what comes to my mind anyways. So enjoy your evening. I shall enjoy mine. There’s planets to save and martian nipples to cover.
Side note, as I listened to side one this evening my son commented, “Boy, whoever is playing that flute is really good.” Eat your heart out, Ian Anderson.