Tangerine Dreams' first foray into movie soundtracks wasn't their last,but with the exception of "Thief",is the only one of any real worth. The film,"Sorcerer",by William Friedkin,was a remake of "The wages of Fear",a classic of french cinema,and sadly, Friedkins retelling of the story doesn't match the original. The music, however,is another matter.One can sense and understand the whole film from the music and track titles,the whole album being filled with an air of danger,as you might expect about a tale of desperate men,on a journey to transport unstable explosives through a South American jungle. Unlike many of Tangerine Dreams' previous albums, the emphasis is on short,concise pieces,ranging from under two minutes to the longest at only seven minutes. The style of the music is a hybrid of the earliest Tangerine dream incarnations,with more "sound effects" in the music, with the pulsing sequencer rythyms,multi-layered in a complexity that TD would scarcely match again.90's "techno" tangerine dream this is not.It is the darkest,most brooding TD on record,so if you have been introduced to the band through the likes of "Tyranny of Beauty",or "Mars polaris",be prepared for a shock. Be prepared to listen and learn,though, as you'll find the best Tangerine dream on,and through this CD,and from there, look back to the years 1969-1983,when the band were at their best. One Question- William friedkin states that TD sent him a tape with 90 minutes of music for the film. Where are the other 45 minutes? So there you have it.the best(and first) Tangerine Dream soundtrack,25 years before the latest one. Talk about peaking too early?
One wonders whether anyone could have had any inkling of the consequences of William Friedkin's commissioning of Tangerine Dream to score his new film "Sorcerer" in 1975. I don't mean musically-the score they produced is typical of their material at that time-but rather the flood of subsequent commissions for film scores that came the way of the band as a result! For "Sorcerer" represents a highly illustrious start to a long and fruitful career of writing music for both large and small screen-a career that continues even today. (Incidentally, many people believe that this was the first time an all-electronic score had been used for a feature film. In reality, that honour goes to Louis and Bebe Barron's 'electronic tonalities' score for the 1956 Hollywood classic, "Forbidden Planet". Now, who says you don't learn things from reading reviews?)
Unlike most modern film scores, which are cued precisely to the on-screen action, many of Tangerine Dream's-and the early ones particularly-function more as impressionistic mood-intensifiers. They are usually written without any member of the band ever seeing a single scene of the film the music is to accompany, working instead from a summary of the story, or copy of the script. A Tangerine Dream soundtrack is therefore tied more to the real essence of a film than merely to the visuals, so permitting a greater flexibility in the music's use.
"Sorcerer" is a classic example of this. Indeed, there exist two different cuts of the associated film, each using the music in different ways. The version that retains the title "Sorcerer" is Friedkin's original cut; the other version, released in cinemas under the title "Wages of Fear", (after the Georges Arnaud novel, from which the story is taken) is a more tightly edited and thus tauter version of the film. Somewhat ironically, it would appear to be "Wages of Fear" from which this album is drawn-at least as far as the track titles are concerned-even though parts of "Sorcerer" made rather better use of the (same) material!
Friedkin describes the film and its score as being inseparable; this album shows his assertion to be only partly true. Whereas it would be difficult to imagine the film (in either version) without this highly atmospheric music, the disc, on the other hand, works perfectly well on its own. In all, it presents a 45-minute compilation of the music that was finally chosen (from the 90 minutes submitted) to accompany the film, although generally in fuller (i.e. longer) versions than made it into either film's soundtrack. Mostly written around the time that the band were also working on their studio album "Stratosfear", the music here is stylistically very similar to much of that album and, indeed, has many little musical figures in common with it, as well as with other earlier albums (most noticeably, "Ricochet"). In keeping with the film, most of the music is taut and tense, or else of a dark, highly charged nature.
In many ways, this album represents Tangerine Dream at about their most interesting: there remain touches reminiscent of their earliest works but these are seamlessly integrated with the newer styles that were emerging on their studio albums of the time. In some ways, the music sounds a little dated now (although nothing like as dated as the film looks) and in parts is a little muddy. There are times too when the album feels just a touch too much like a series of snap-shots-caused by there being no musical transition of any kind between each of the various scenes. I suspect that all of these criticisms arise from this recording having been mastered by MCA, not the band themselves, thereby missing out on the usual Tangerine Dream quality control (and bridging overdub) treatment! For all that, this remains interesting music, well worth a listen. It is good to see it still in MCA's catalogue after all these years!
(Incidentally, the film "Sorcerer" has recently been released on DVD. While sadly not in widescreen format, it does at least illustrate the way the music was used in one of its contexts! If watching this film for the music, though, be warned that you need to be 40 minutes in before it makes any real appearance!)
This shows a much darker, more foreboding side to TD's work of the period. It's interesting to hear shorter pieces too, which works well for me. The style is very much in keeping with "Stratosfear" and also "Encore" and, listening to it again, I think it's rather better than both......
I'd also like to echo the question What of the "other" 45 minutes they recorded for this film? Is it worth releasing? Even if it's more of the same, or the existing tracks expanded I'd buy it...
on 19 December 2011
This soundtrack album (their first) was recorded by Tangerine Dream in 1975 and originally released in 1977 in tandem with the film directed by William Freidkin (The Exorcist). It finds the band at the top of their game at the time of their Stratosfear studio album. I used to own a vinyl copy as a teenager and have been waiting for a new CD re-release. This Esoteric release sounds great, earth-shattering bass and a terrific dynamic range, brings back great memories !!
This album makes a great companion to the "Dream Sequence" sampler album or the 1974-1978 box set, both from Virgin as the album originally came out on the MCA label - consequently there is no duplication whatsoever. ENJOY !!
I bought this on a whim from Amazon, having not heard much Tangerine Dream stuff and vaguely remembering the music from the film, but hey it was cheap and I was looking for diversion. It's fantastic, not only as the soundtrack for a massively underrated movie but as a standalone album. Not exactly driving music but dramatic and melancholic and in many ways far ahead of its time. First rate stuff and I'll be buying more.