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More of a tribute album than a soundtrack!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Thief (Audio CD)
This disc is a remastered release of the 1981 Virgin edition of Tangerine Dream's music for Michael Mann's movie, "Thief". It doesn't contain the film's entire soundtrack music by any means: nor, indeed, is all of the music on the CD to be found in the film! The reasons are simple: much of the film's most powerful music-that which accompanies the scenes "He's beeping in good", "Into the Shaft" and "Car Lot Showdown"-had already been released on the band's 1979 album "Force Majeure", as parts of the track 'Thru Metamorphic Rocks'. That music is represented on this disc in a shorter (5 minute) remix, 'Igneous', which uses a characteristic cue chord sequence from the film as an intro to the flanged percussion pulse overlaid with a new raw-edged guitar line. Craig Safan's music for the final scene of the film is also omitted. Tracks are also presented in an order that makes musical sense, rather than following any sequence relevant to the film. Thus, 'Dr. Destructo' (used for 'Disassembling a life' 110:00-112:45 in the director's cut of the film) is used as a moody introduction to the main track 'Diamond Diary', used for the film's opening ten minutes.
Several dodges have been applied to pad the remaining music out to provide a disc of reasonable length (although it is still quite short). Firstly, the music from the scene 'San Diego Reverie' (92:47-94:50) is included twice, in only slightly differing guises. The first, 'Beach Theme', features some small but clumsy percussion and guitar overdubs and serves as a mood-setting introduction to the disc as a whole. Its reprise as 'Beach Scene' (track 5) is longer and closer to the version used in the film. Some soundtrack material is expanded into longer versions than those used in the film: 'Burning Bar', for instance, is 3:20 on the disc, while barely two minutes of it is used in the film (scene: 'Sam' 47:15-49:15). Finally a couple of additional tracks have been composed, which draw on musical ideas used only briefly elsewhere or which conjure up the moods of some of the film's scenes. In addition to 'Igneous', the tracks 'Scrap Yard' and 'Trap Feeling' fall into this category. 'Scrap Yard' (4:40) is a fast-paced ballad for brash synthesiser and raw electric guitar over a hammering electronic percussion loop, similar to 'Diamond Diary' in its feel; while 'Trap Feeling' (3:30) uses wavering and ringing tones over a restless synthesiser drone.
The result is some 40 minutes of material, often close to the actual film soundtrack but at other times merely suggestive of it. For all its alterations, though, this music comes across as every bit as powerfully stark as the movie. The raw power of its relentless percussion, stark synthetic sounds and buzzing guitars over gritty bass-heavy drones do much to convey the same sense of fatality and to keep one on the edge of one's seat in just the same way that the movie does. In many ways this album is more of a tribute to the film than a copy of its soundtrack, but probably is all the more potent as a result. It was a major chart success in its day and remains an impressive achievement even now.
This remastered 'Definitive Edition' has fine sound but suffers, like many of the series, from incorrect credits on the disc liner (Peter Baumann is credited instead of Johannes Schmoelling). At least it gets the track listing correct, though, which is more than the sleeve of the vinyl version could ever manage.