2042-2-P Optical Race
Produced by Paul Haslinger & Edgar Froese
Released on August 1988
US CONTEMPORARY JAZZ CHART POSITION #15 . . . US NEW AGE CHART POSITION #2
Find it at GEMM
2042-2-P cover
[high resolution scan]
 

O ptical Race simply sparkles. The departure of Chris Franke hardly boded well for the band, but Edgar Froese and Paul Haslinger didn’t miss a beat, streamlining their sound and placing rich melodies at the fore of their songcraft. Released on Private Music, a new age label owned by TD alumnus Peter Baumann, Optical Race does invite comparison to the economically evocative sound first unveiled on Force Majeure and Tangram. For this reason, some critics have called Optical Race a return to form, when in fact it’s a case of looking ahead to new horizons. Writing effective music in small packets required Froese and Haslinger to rethink their approach; the results are swift-coursing and exuberant songs that represent snapshots rather than sonic murals. “Marakesh” captures the Eastern exoticism and bustle of a Moroccan city, “Sun Gate” and “Ghazal (Love Song)” are declarations of the heart, “Turning Off The Wheel” is a circular piece not so different from White Eagle’s “Convention of the 24.” Longtime fans may chafe a bit at the triteness of the arrangements; “Optical Race” is a celebratory song better suited to Patrick Moraz than the dark Teutonic masters, while “Cat Scan” and “Twin Soul Tribe” are no better than TD’s standalone soundtrack bits. In the end, however, the less impressive numbers are overshadowed by memorable vignettes like “The Midnight Trail” and “Atlas Eyes.” When I’m in an uncharitable mood, I’ve been known to grumble that Optical Race is no more than new age product, but generally I walk away from this disc refreshed and rededicated to TD as a constant source of surprises. It might well be Paul Haslinger’s finest hour (or finest 54 minutes anyway) as a member of Tangerine Dream. Far from the crippling blow it could have been, Franke’s departure seemingly freed Froese and Haslinger to pursue a different course that led to one of TD’s most rewarding efforts from the ‘80s.

2042-2-P back sleeve
2042-2-P back sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. MARAKESH    8:17
  2. ATLAS EYES    4:04
  3. MOTHERS OF RAIN    5:13
  4. TWIN SOUL TRIBE    4:28
  5. OPTICAL RACE    3:13
  6. CAT SCAN    5:35
  7. SUN GATE    (Ralf Wadephal/Edgar Froese/Paul Haslinger)    4:44
  8. TURNING OFF THE WHEEL    6:11
  9. THE MIDNIGHT TRAIL    6:54
  10. GHAZAL (LOVE SONG)    5:00

    Composed by Paul Haslinger & Edgar Froese unless noted

CREDITS

EDGAR FROESE -- performer, engineer, mixing
PAUL HASLINGER -- performer, engineer, mixing
Christian Gstettner -- studio technician
Monique Froese -- cover concept
Norman Moore -- art direction & design

return to TANGERINE DREAM discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US August 1988 Private Music LP/CD/CS 2042-1-P/2-P/4-P diecut cover
KOR 1988 Private Music LP SPPR-002 diecut cover
MEX 1988 Private Music LP LAP 008  
GER/UK January 13, 1989 Private Music LP/CD 20/25-9557 diecut cover

Did you know...

...Ralf Wadephul (whose name is misspelled on the CD credits) was the third member of Tangerine Dream for a brief time during their 1988 tour? There is some discussion as to why Wadephul didn't stick around, most of it centered on the tour itself, which purportedly suffered from technical problems. If you care, you can read about Edgar Froese and his hairy eyeball at http://www.tadream.net/archives/full/10673-11250%20tadream.txt.

 

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