What a great album this is. After the moody, atmospheric soundscapes they had made in their early days, Tangerine Dream had tapped into accessibility a little bit with their 'Ricochet' platter. With 'Stratosfear', the band had released a record that at times keeps to the tried and tested formulas of mellotrons and sequencers etc, but the difference between this album and others is that there is so much more to offer musically. The group play like a band and introduce acoustic and electric guitars as well as plenty of percussion. There are also so much more melodies and genuinely memorable tunes.
The title track is a swashbuckling piece with a memorable theme, and still stands the test of time as one of Tangerine Dream's most enduring and popular tunes.
'Big Sleep In search Of Hades' has an unusual blend of heavenly melody and spooky, horror movie atmosphere.
'3am At The Border Marsh Of Okefenokee' has that Arizona road movie feel with lots of underlying menace.
'Invisible Limits' completes the album in traditional Tangerine Dream style.
Listening to 'Stratosfear', it becomes increasingly obvious why the band would become hugely successful in creating movie soundtracks. I can't think of many other bands who can create such brooding and creepy atmospheres as well as Tangerine Dream. There are moments on this album when you almost feel compelled to look over your shoulder, or hide behind the sofa.
'Stratosfear' is a joy to listen to and ranks among their finest ever studio efforts. The impact that Tangerine Dream made both musically and culturally is still being felt today, and although there have been many imitators, Tangerine Dream were very much pioneers of this kind of music, and their legacy will never be equalled.
'Stratosfear' is testament to that. A fine, fine album that fans of both electronica, prog, krautrock and instrumental music in general will fall in love with. Wonderful stuff.