Tangerine Dream – Sorcerer

Progressive rock seems to have a connection with horror films. Goblin wrote the haunting soundtrack for Dario Argento’s Suspiria, and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist was scored by none other than Mike Oldfield. Friedkin’s interactions with progressive rock would not end with his horror masterpiece however; with his next film Sorcerer, he would enlist the musical conjurings of Tangerine Dream. Although I am a fan o Friedkin’s work, I have never seen the film for which Tangerine Dream made their first-ever Hollywood soundtrack. For what I’ve read, it seems as though Sorcerer was met with less-than-thunderous applause, thanks in large part due to the esoteric nature of the film, and the fact that it was released a month after a certain director named George Lucas cemented his name in history with Star Wars. Although this soundtrack fits snugly within the golden years of Tangerine Dream’s strongest material, there is a scattered structure and emotional distance that would go to define much of the band’s soundtrack work. With that being said, “Sorcerer” still retains many of the qualities that made these years so great for Tangerine Dream, although anyone expecting something along the lines of “Phaedra”, “Rubycon”, or even “Stratosfear” will find themselves sorely disappointed.

Regarding the palette of sounds used, “Sorcerer” is similar to the previous album, “Stratosfear”. Although much of the sound relies on meditative synth arrangements and eerie soundscapes, there is a moderate use of the electric lead guitar. The greatest strength of Tangerine Dream remains their ability to fuse and develop textures of sound, and “Sorcerer” capitalizes on this. The opening piece, “Main Title” is a solid indicator of the direction TD take with their style here. Although there remains a sense of composition and deliberate pacing, the music is left largely incidental and ambient, rarely changing pace or fostering a surprise for the attentive listener. In the context of a film, this spacey atmosphere could paint an eerie backdrop for a suspenseful scene. For the experience of listening on its own merit, “Sorcerer” comes off feeling like Tangerine Dream-lite, bringing the sounds, but not the inspiration and willingness to innovate.

Although it’s perhaps a necessary shortcoming of the soundtrack format, Tangerine Dream’s compositions are cut up into bite-sized chunks. Eschewing the sprawling side- length epics for shorter pieces, the compositions on “Sorcerer” feel more like unfulfilled ideas. Particularly considering the sort of artistic success Tangerine Dream were so capable of at this time, it is disappointing that they did not do more with the opportunity. With that in mind, it’s certainly enjoyable as far as ambient music goes, and considering the quality of some of these (albeit unfulfilled) ideas, it would be unfair to dismiss this as purely apocryphal. It’s good, but not great, although compared to some of the soundtracks Tangerine Dream would do in the decade to come, this is nothing short of a masterpiece…


1. Main Title (5:28)
2. Search (2:54)
3. The Call (1:57)
4. Creation (5:00)
5. Vengeance (5:32)
6. The Journey (2:00)
7. Grind (3:01)
8. Rain Forest (2:30)
9. Abyss (7:04)
10. The Mountain Road (1:53)
11. Impressions Of Sorcerer (2:55)
12. Betrayal (Sorcerer Theme) (3:38)


* Peter Baumann – synthesizer, piano, keyboards, Mellotron, Arp, Fender Rhodes, sequencing
- Edgar Froese – synthesizer, bass, guitar, piano, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, Mellotron, Oberheim, piano (Grand), Arp strings, Fender Stratocaster
* Christopher Franke – synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, Mellotron, Arp, Elka, Oberheim, sequencing, digital sequencing

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