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Tangerine Dream - Miracle Mile (OST) CD (album) cover


Tangerine Dream

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3 stars Tangerine Dream have done a lot,and I mean a lot!,of soundtracks and they fall into two categories: Documentary films and Hollywood films. The former is almost always very good and the latter is almost always abysmally awful. "Miracle Mile" is one of those rare exceptions to the latter rule. It is a Hollywood movie that's true but despite that it's actually rather good. None of TD's soundtracks can rank alongside the best of their "proper" albums,but "Miracle Mile" comes fairly close. It was made in 89 when TD was down to just two members,Edgar Froese and Paul Haslinger and it bears all the hallmarks of having been recorded by that dynamic duo who made quite a lot of music in a very short period of time,just a couple of years really,88 and 89. Regular TD albums such as "Optical Race" and "Lily On The Beach" was done by the just the two of them and also quite a lot of soundtrack work,most of which was terrible but for some reason they got it right with "Miracle Mile". It doesn't feel like one their late 80's, early 90's soundtracks,it sounds more like,if not the brother of "Optical Race" and "Lily On The Beach" than at least their cousin. Unlike their other soundtracks from the period,"Miracle Mile" has properly worked out music on it,not just snippets and tiny soundblasts to fit some scene in the movie,the very thing that blights most of their other soundtracks and makes them impossible to listen to outside the context of the movie. You can actually sit down and listen to "Miracle Mile",it has real music on it. Paul Haslingers presence is keenly felt through the whole thing. Being a classically trained pianist he had the virtuosic skills to add an extra dimension to TD's otherwise often static soundscapes and he utilizes those skills on "Miracle Mile". Not as much as on any of the regular TD albums he participated on but enough to make "Miracle Mile" a much more satisfying musical experience than probably all their other soundtracks,at least of the Hollywood variety. Just check out the beautiful piano on "One For The Books". I think the collaboration between Edgar Froese and Paul Haslinger was a fruitful one,Edgar as the visionary and Paul the skilled musician to bring those visions to life,and "Miracle Mile" is a good example of that partnership. Throughout it has creative arrangements,strong melodies,great percussion,and a wonderful,almost velvety production. A rare treasure among their soundtracks of the period. I'm giving it only three stars because being a soundtrack it is too restrained and inhibited for it's own good,they couldn't really stretch their creative wings as much as when they "did their own thing",consequently some of the tracks on "Miracle Mile" cry out for a more muscular and extended treatment,but within the inhibiting and restraining framework of a Hollywood soundtrack,"Miracle Mile" is as good as it gets.
Report this review (#69409)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Soundtracks can be very bad like "3 O'clock High" or masterpieces like "Blade Runner". Without being a masterpiece they can improve the movie's quality like the OST of Highlander, the one that includes the orchestral parts written by Michael Kamen other than the songs of the Queen.

This "n"th TD soundtrack could have improved the movie experience, but I haven't seen it so I can't say, but it luckily doesn't belong to first or the second categories.

As often happens with soundtracks there are no long pieces and the longest track is just above 5 minutes, but this is true Tangerine Dream music. Since the starter "Teetering Scales" the sound is full of the typical square waves. The influence of the 80s is still perceivable in the melodies but this album gives the impression of a return to a good shape of what has become a duo after Franke's leaving.

As in all the TD production of the 80s I see occasional contact points with Peter Bardens' solo productions but it's probably a consequence of the sounds standardization happened in the 80s.

Froese applies a bit of distortion to his guitar that can be heard on "After The Call" and " on "People In The News". There is a highly melodic piece, maybe too melodic, like "On The Spur Of The Moment", which features "Doh" and "Ooh" sounds just to enter the electro-funky world with the bass line of "All Of A Dither". This is like fishing the few good things available in the 80s from a sea of garbage.

"Final Statement" was probably functional to some movie situation as it's very atmospheric. We can hear a classical influence. The 'dim' chords remind to Mahler's 3rd symphony that was soundtrack to Visconti's "Death in Venice". Similar mood. "In Julie's Eyes" starts very electronic but goes slightly in minor and diminished chords restoring the classical mood of the previous track. "Running Out Of Time" with the deep bass over the drone drums is one of the best tracks, also this reminding of the Pete Bardens of Seen One Earth. "If It's All Over" has a bit of Vangelis but reprises what is now clearly the main theme: the diminished chords of Final Statement.

"People In The News" is the most rocking track, between Jarre and the Vangelis of "The City". Froese's guitar is back again. Finally "Museum Walk" closes the album with major chords and "ooh"s. I think it was on the end titles as it's a bit different from the other tracks (and a bit less good, too).

So even if it's one more of the many soundtracks released in the 80s, this is not a bad one, not too distant from the classic TD even if very far from Phedra , of course.

3 stars are my rating.

Report this review (#777138)
Posted Monday, June 25, 2012 | Review Permalink

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