Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tangerine Dream - 1981 - Thief

Tangerine Dream 

01. Beach Theme (3:44)
02. Dr. Destructo (3:21)
03. Diamond Diary (10:51)
04. Burning Bar (3:14)
05. Beach scene (6:48)
06. Scrap Yard (4:42)
07. Trap Feeling (3:00)
08. Igneous (4:48)

- Edgar Froese / keyboards, electronic equipment, guitar
- Chris Franke / synthesizers, electronic equipment, electronic percussion
- Johannes Schmoelling / keyboards, electronic equipment

 Having made their Hollywood debut with the soundtrack for William Friedkin's criminally-ignored 1977 suspense thriller 'Sorcerer'(a remake of the classic 1953 French film 'The Wages Of Fear') Tangerine Dream were chosen by director Michael Mann(Manhunter, Heat, Public Enemies) to write, record and produce the music for his 1981 debut 'Thief'. Featuring James Caan as an in-demand safe-cracker, Robert Prosky as a vicious gangland boss and Tuesday Weld as the hero's girl, 'Thief' smartly blended neon-lit visuals, stylish action sequences and an existensial thriller narrative in a way that prefigured the director's 1995 epic crime masterpiece 'Heat'. Both films rank amongst Mann's very best(alongside 1987's gripping 'Manhunter', his dark reading of Thomas Harris' 'Red Dragon' novel) and the movie would open many doors for Tangerine Dream, the German outfit enjoying a commercially lucrative period throughout the 1980s as they provided music for a number of Hollywood films, including Michael Mann's 'Theif' follow-up 'The Keep'(1983) and Kathryn Bigelow's vampire noir thriller 'Near Dark'(1987'). With their sparse and moody electronic rhythms perfectly suited to a number of genre's, Tangerine Dream soundtrack work would produce some of their best music. Blending the experimental mystery of their mid-seventies output with the gleaming synthesized sounds of 1980s albums such as 'White Eagle' and 'Tangram', 'Thief' proves to be a dark and dazzling affair. Similar in style and scope to their work on 'Sorceror', 'Thief' both compliments Mann's visual style yet conversely also proves itself as a stand-alone album. Seen either in context with the movie or simply listened to on it's own, this is Tangerine Dream at their most ethereal and modernistic, with delicately-crafted keyboard melodies and slow-burning beats adding a hazy sheen that coats the music in an almost mystical ambience. It's best listened to as one, continuous piece of music, though individual tracks such as the glorious, up-tempo 'Beach Scene' exhibit a keen ear for melody. Alongside 'Sorcerer' and the spellbinding music found on 'The Keep', 'Thief' ranks as one of the teutonic group's most endearing works. Just like the film it represents, this is a superb piece of work.



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