Revolution in My Ears

Tangerine Dream – Revolution of Sound (Margarete Kreuzer, 2017)

I guess there’s always been a contradiction at the heart of appreciating bands which go through multiple line ups. I don’t hold to the school of thought that Pink Floyd stopped when Syd left — but I think I prefer a Yes with a Jon Anderson to one without, even if, say, Chris Squire drove the sound. For me the best Tangerine Dream albums are the Froese-Franke-Baumann ones, broadly speaking the Virgin years, but those with Schmoelling come close. And I like Klaus Schulze and Steve Joliffe’s solo works more than Franke or Baumann’s.

Are they always Tangerine Dream?

But, until his death, Froese was the continuity, the handle in the is-it-still-the-same-broom-if metaphor. So, perhaps it’s only natural that this documentary on Tangerine Dream is really about Froese — drawing on his footage, diaries and interviews with him. Surviving band members do speak — as do various directors they composed soundtracks for — but we learn little about where they are now.

Inevitably, with a focus mainly but not on the Virgin years, this documentary showcases what it ignores rather than what it includes. I’d learned, from the exhibition in the Barbican library, that there’d been an encounter with Salvador Dalí, but we don’t get to see Froese’s artworks. We get to see some of the kit they used, but I’d like to see more — although this contradicts my feelings about Pink Floyd. I don’t think I knew Froese had been there for David Bowie’s drying out in Berlin — although I don’t think that impacts on the Berlin trilogy of albums. There is archive footage of Virgin supremo, Richard Branson — but no subsequent thoughts once he’d sullied the brand with gimmicks and rubbish trains.

What was the nature of the various departures? Froese had his own TD-esque solo projects, but Baumann (was it?) had to leave to do so. (Not all of these are on Spotify, which might be just as well.) Can Jerome Froese be candid about his relationship with his father?

It’s great to see more about how they were banned from performing in Catholic churches and cathedrals and fascinating to see them cosplay Bach.

It’s only Baroque and roll.

(Thank you.)

I still have the big biography to read — but in the meanwhile there is enough fascinating detail and extracts of music to send me back to listen to their albums. Extras include slightly longer versions of some of the interviews (not always subtitled?) and a couple of performance extracts.

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