In The Stratosfear

photo (10) 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.

photo (11)

10 thoughts on “In The Stratosfear

  1. That’s some dream, you’re having there!

    I can listen to them myself, but I wouldn’t know where to start. Are they more cerebral? Dreamy? Is there a good album for me to start with, a person currently with more simplistic tastes?

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  2. i-am 69yr elderly.. avoided electronic music as an acoustic snob… remember when Bob Dylan was snubbed for using an electric guitar.? i could not avoid TangDream for an apophenic reason… now twenty years later I have about 50 cd’s, some collector 33-1/3’ds “albums” like you found… if my research is correct — Edgar Froese was born on my mothers bday June 6th, same year I was 1944 and my granduncle’s name was Edgar… there are some musical chord-sequential passages in “Livemiles” 1 and 2 that hit such goosebumps as I was driving, listening loudly with car as head-phones that it brought tears to my eyes… i-am absolutely thrive on 90% of their music… the early old, middle years, pink/blue years and modern… i-am shitty-pissed I cannot tell Edgar personally how much pleasure and cosmic appreciation he has involuted down into my wretched life…

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    1. This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing! “Cosmic appreciation” is a great saying, and one Mr. Froese would certainly love. I’m still relatively beginning my Tangerine Dream journey. I hope they affect me half as much as they have affected you.

      And I do remember Dylan getting heckled for going electric. Think of what we would’ve missed had he not plugged in.

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  3. Phaedra was the best ‘old’ LP I bought last year – just amazingly good. Their earlier Krautrock stuff is good too, ‘Zeit’ is like listening to an amped-up lava lamp (in a good way).

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