Great Wall of China
is the sixty-eighth release and twenty-sixth soundtrack album by Tangerine Dream
, released in 1999
The greatest aspect of a soundtrack by this legendary German electronic new age ensemble is that you don't need the visuals to fully appreciate the music. Tangerine Dream has had success with both mainstream films like Risky Business and interesting documentaries like this, and brings a blend of mystery, haunting melancholy and throbbing percussive energies to each scene depending on the necessity of the mood. The group is notorious for throwing stylistic curveballs, and it's ironic that only "Silence the Barking Monk" has any true Eastern tinge to it, with its hypnotic chimes and Asian-flavored string instruments. The rest of the collection ranges from the percussion-heavy, spacey symphonic "Meng Tian" (enhanced by emotional though distant ethnic vocal chant) to the contemplative, pop-oriented "Summer in Shauxi." It's all very interesting and enjoyable if you like TD already. But if you pick this one up thinking that the music's bound to be as exotic as the cover art, you might be a bit miffed.
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music band founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese
. The group has seen many personnel changes over the years, with Froese having been the only continuous member until his death in 2015.
Edgar Froese's son, Jerome Froese
, was a band member from 1990–2006. Jerome appeared on the cover of the band's 1973 album, Atem, as an infant:
Born in 1970, Jerome started playing guitar and keyboard in 1982. In 1985, he began playing drums after he got a drumkit for Christmas. From here, he became proficient on both keyboards and guitar, leading up to his induction into Tangerine Dream. Froese's first guest appearance with the band was on their 1989 album, Lily on the Beach, playing guitar on "Radio City". His first official appearance was on Melrose (1990), appearing on tour with the band that same year. Following the departure of Paul Haslinger, Tangerine Dream continued as a two-piece father-and-son band with various musicians guesting in the studio and in concert.
Tangerine Dream are considered pioneers of the early days of electronica. Their albums had a pivotal role in the development of the German musical scene known as kosmische ("cosmic"). Their years with Virgin Records, produced albums that further explored synthesizers and sequencers, including the UK top 20 albums Phaedra (1974) and Rubycon (1975). The group also had a successful career composing film soundtracks, creating over 60 scores, which include those for the films Sorcerer, Thief, Risky Business, Flashpoint, The Keep, Firestarter, Legend, Three O'Clock High, Near Dark, Shy People, and Miracle Mile.
From the late 1990s into the 2000s, Tangerine Dream continued to explore other styles of instrumental music as well as electronica. Their recorded output has been prolific, including over one hundred albums. Their mid-1970s work has been profoundly influential in the development of electronic music styles such as new age (although the band disliked the term) and electronic dance music.
Edgar Frose was quoted by the BBC as having once said: "there is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address". He was friends with David Bowie, Brian Eno, Iggy Pop, George Moorse, Volker Schlöndorff, Alexander Hacke and Friedrich Gulda. David Bowie and Iggy Pop lived with Froese and his family at their home in Schöneberg before moving to their own apartment. Froese also helped Bowie with his recovery and introduced him to the Berlin underground scene.
Edgar Froese died suddenly in Vienna on 20 January 2015 from a pulmonary embolism at the age of 70.