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Tangerine Dream

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Tangerine Dream Firestarter (OST) album cover
3.05 | 77 ratings | 5 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Crystal Voice (3:07)
2. The Run (4:50)
3. Testlab (4:00)
4. Charly The Kid (3:51)
5. Escaping Point (5:10)
6. Rainbirds Move (2:31)
7. Burning Force (4:17)
8. Between Realities (2:53)
9. Shop Territory (3:15)
10. Flash Final (5:15)
11. Out Of The Heat (2:30)

Total time: 41:39

Line-up / Musicians

- Edgar Froese / ?
- Christoph Franke/ ?
- Johannes Schmoelling / ?

Note: The actual instrumentation is not available at this moment

Releases information

Music from the original motion picture soundtrack "Firestarter", directed by Mark L. Lester.

LP MCA Records ‎- MCF 3233 (1984, UK)

CD MCA Records ‎- MCLD 19154 (1990, UK)

Thanks to Ricochet for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TANGERINE DREAM Firestarter (OST) ratings distribution

(77 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(16%)
Good, but non-essential (52%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

TANGERINE DREAM Firestarter (OST) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is another movie soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. It is a soundtrack of a movie about a young girl who has the supernatural power to start fire, so do expect some weird, nervous & worrying streams of keyboards. It sounds like albums like Hyperborea and even Poland, if one considers the many percussive & brief keyboards notes. There are a couples of very good, floating, smooth, charming and relaxing songs: "Crystal voice" and "Charlie the kid": those 2 songs are the main reason to get this record: they sound a bit like the "Hyperborea" track! Globally, the tracks are rather suited for this kind of movie. This album is among the good Tangerine Dream's soundtracks, because it can easily be listened and enjoyed without watching the movie, and because it has a studio album flavor.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Pretty much a mainstream soundtrack album, sound and all. Tangerine Dream have always made commercial in roads with numerous soundtrack album, especially in the 1980's where it was almost two albums a year, such was the demand for their music scores. That in itself is a high accolade and Firestarter if you had to just take the musical perspective, is a decent album. Funny how the music does not date, yet the film showboating a very young Drew Barrymore certainly has. Quite entertaining. In terms of song compositions I would recommend " Crystal Voice", " Burning Force" and " Flash Final" where Barrymore ends up burning everyone to a cinder. Good run of the mill TD fare.
Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars Another soundtrack for a movie that I haven't seen. The 80s have seen TD involved with movies more than with music, even though this soundtrack is really better than Risky Business or than Wavelength.

The main reason is that the tracks are "complete". This album is not just a sequence of short comments to images, disconnected and sometimes faded out. Firestarter sounds more like a true album. Of course less that 20 minutes for a Tangerine Dream track means compressing the things and loosing the slow variations on a repetitive theme that are typical of the band since the beginnings.

At the end Firestarter sounds quite newage, even if maybe a bit too dark for that genre, but the music is very relaxing and can be enjoyed also by whom like me doesn't know anything about the movie.

It sometimes reminds me to Vangelis, specially the thin string sounds on "Testlab", that's my favorite track here, or the intro of "Burning Force" but the whole album is on this kind of sounds, like Edgar Froese has temporarily put aside the usual squared waves. there's also something of Heaven and Hell in "Between Realities".

A very interesting ambient album, good for meditation. Is it a soundtrack, too?

3.5 stars. Rounded down because this band doesn't need my stars to be appreciated.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Tangerine Dream are well known and revered for their movie soundtracks and have produced some wonderful pieces that are often better than the movie itself. They tend to focus on the more supernatural side of things and this is no exception. 'Firestarter' is a 1984 film that would make a good edited down Twilight Zone episode. Like the soundtrack there are parts that are compelling and peak my interest but there are also some mediocre moments that mar an otherwise excellent effort. I read a quote worth repeating here that the three band members had invested their film soundtrack earnings into their own studios, as Edgar Froese recalls: "I was always looking around for soundtrack work to get things going, as one can imagine that it cost a lot of money. The aim was that each member of the band had his own recording place to work independently and prepare things, because if there was just one big studio and one member was working or trying to do his sound research, then the others would be just hanging around and waiting."

The movie was based on a novel by Stephen King, starring Drew Barrymore, Heather Locklear and Martin Sheen that bombed at the box office and now is more or less sought after in order to catch a very young Drew in her moodiest role as a girl with supernatural powers where she is able to catch things alight with her mind. As the film progresses she is given permission by her father to 'burn it all down baby, burn it all down' and when pushed by authorities wanting to take her away she does just that. It is both amusing and fascinating to watch her immolate one police car after another and when she's done she turns her kinetic power on the people, causing absolute mayhem and a paroxysm of fire and explosions result. I remember noticing amidst the carnage an engaging pulsating soundtrack so naturally I looked up who were the composers and was delighted to discover it was Tangerine Dream.

It is difficult to piece together where each track is used in the movie though Charly the Kid is certainly a highlight and memorable as we are introduced to the troubled girl with a hidden talent for incendiary justice upon those who stand in her way.

I was amazed and perplexed to discover that according to director Mark L. Lester, Tangerine Dream never actually saw the film and instead offered the music to him and told him to use whatever he thought would be required. The pulses of synth buzzes are intermingled with glistening keyboard chimes and there are some dark passages towards the end of the album. The last four tracks are particularly creepy. In any case the music does seem to work well enough in a similar way to how John Carpenter used his music in films. It evokes the right emotion in the right context and overall the 'Firestarter' soundtrack is an engaging collection of tracks that captures the eighties sound.

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 595

The joy of experimentation in the end of the 60's led that the prog rock via "psychedelic" increased the interest in the electronic sound production and manipulation. That changed with the invention of the modular Moog synthesizer. Rock musicians began to include the sound worlds of the synthesizers, in addition to the classic prog rock bands that "only" used the synthesizer as an additional instrument. There were others who wanted to create a new kind of music with the help of these devices. This was especially made by German musicians that took new paths. Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze became famous in the early 70's with long, melancholy instrumental pieces under the term "cosmic music". Others, like Kraftwerk, made it later work more song oriented and are now considered the forefathers of the techno.

Tangerine Dream is next to Kraftwerk as the most famous electronic formation in Germany. They were founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. With their second album "Alpha Centauri" (1971), still recorded with predominantly conventional instruments, and with "Zeit" (1972), Tangerine Dream created a kind of cosmic music with overlong, rhythmic and structure-free pieces without recognizable melodies, demanding the utmost attention from the listener. This initial musical phase, also called "The Pink Years", lasted until the beginning of 1977 and is generally considered the phase in which the group's most mature albums were created, like "Zeit", "Phaedra", "Rubycon", "Ricochet" and "Stratosfear".

From the year of 1979, the quality of the earlier works didn't reach the band again. However, some very interesting and good albums were released, like "Force Majeure", "Tangram" and "Hyperborea". The 80's were the years where Tangerine Dream also had a successful career composing film soundtracks, creating over 60 scores, which had been started in 1977 with the soundtrack "Sorcerer". This was the case of "Firestarter" too, which is the object of this review.

"Firestarter" is the seventeenth studio album of Tangerine Dream and was released in 1984. "Firestarter" is the soundtrack made by Tangerine Dream to an American science-fiction horror film released in the same year and based on a Stephen King's novel of the same name which was written in 1980. The plot of the film concerns about a young girl who develops pyrokinesis and the secret government agency known as the Shop which seeks to control her instincts. The film was directed by Mark L. Lester, and stars David Keith, Drew Barrymore, Martin Sheen and George C. Scott.

"Firestarter" is an action-packed thriller with dark and sinister references. That description applies to the film and to Tangerine Dream's soundtrack. As a body of work, their film music is somehow inconsistent and uneven. There are some outstanding scores and some real clunkers. Still, this is a good album as a whole. The music has strong character and integrity and the classic Tangerine Dream's sound with its dark atmospheres. However, the music they came up with for this film isn't really a horror score at all, but one that is very almost dreamy, if you will. The music on the soundtrack is in general good and is from one of the band's most prolific lines up, Froese, Franke and Schmoelling.

About the individual tracks, all have a distinctive sound, but they all merge together to combine into the final work. "Crystal Voice" is one of my favorites on the album. It sort of is the main theme for the release which gives it that certain "feel" to it that makes it an enjoyable piece. "The Run" and "Testlab" are, perhaps, my least two favourite tracks here. But, they're two nice tracks too. "The Run" is more a faster paced piece which uses oscillating drums to offset the rhythm. "Testlab" is a track with some oriental flavour. "Charly The Kid" is another standout composition that shares the same common theme of "Crystal Voice". This is another highlight on the album. "Escaping Point" is another one of my favourite tracks here. "Rainbirds Move" is one of those tracks I didn't care for at first, but the more I listened to it, I became accustomed to the piece. "Burning Force" is another of my favorite tracks on the album which is very dark and deep. This track takes a hold of you and it keeps a grip on you. "Between Realities" is a great filler piece, but it's more a soundtrack driven track than something that would be put on a regular album. "Shop Territory" has a constant rhythm and is a track that must be listening by its own. "Flash Final" is another of my favourite tracks on the album. It's very intense and hypnotic. "Out Of The Heat" closes the album nicely. This piece has heavy chord samples and it's dark too.

Conclusion: "Firestarter" is an album in the usual tradition of the soundtrack films of Tangerine Dream in the 80's. It reminds to me two other albums of that era, which I know very well, "Wavelength", another soundtrack album and "Le Park". Both albums were already reviewed by me here on Progarchives. "Firestarter" is an album very uniforme, well balanced and without weak points. It doesn't belong to their most creative and spacey era but it remains, for me, a very good album, maybe more commercial, but it still remains a true nice album to hear. The electronic music that Tangerine Dream brought with "Firestarter" is actually more accessible to the general listening public than the usual electronic sound. It's melodic, it's more light than dark and it's rhythmic enough at times to hum. This is a nice listening, indeed.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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