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Tangerine Dream

Force Majeure

- Studio, released 1979 -


CD release Europe 1995
Painting & Design: Monique Froese

CD release UK 1984
Painting: Monique Froese

CD release USA 1995


1.Force Majeure 18:18
2.Cloudburst Flight 7:21
3.Thru Metamorphic Rocks 14:15
Total running time39:54


Recording dateAugust - September 1978
Recording site(s)Hansa Studios (Berlin)
Recording engineer(s)Eduard Meyer
Composer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke
Musician(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Klaus Krüger, Eduard Meyer
Producer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke


After Steve Jolliffe had left the group, in summer 1978 Edgar Froese and Chris Franke recorded the album Force Majeure on their own in Berlin. Klaus Krüger played drums again but left the band after the recording sessions. Edgar Froese: "We did it in a 7 week recording session in a good studio in the middle of summer. It was a good feeling, a good atmosphere and nothing to fight about. [...] Klaus Krüger left to join Iggy Pop in New York, but apart from that we decided that it would be better to leave the drums because there are so many problems involved." (Interview with Neumusik, January 1980)


Force Majeure was critically acclaimed and went Top 30 in the UK. Up to now this album is one of the most famous among Tangerine Dream fans.


Backtracking with Tangerine Dream

Chris Franke: "There's one piece, Cloudburst Flight, which I still enjoy playing. Sometimes doing something again and again, it loses its power, but this still means a lot to me. It's hard to say what you try to achieve when you make music. Different words come to mind, landscape, painting, A combination of all the things that make up life."

(Interview with Johnny Black, thisBEAT, issue 17, April 1986)


From 30 Years Of Dreaming

Shortly after the Cyclone tour, Steve Jolliffe left the band again, but already in August, the trio Froese, Franke and Krieger was working on a new album, Force Majeure, this time in the Hansa studio in Berlin.

Force Majeure was a long time in the making and was not released until the end of 1979. This time, as opposed to Cyclone, the new album recieved high praise from the critics and quickly hit the charts in England. Here it achieved to become number 26 on the album chart.

The music was still rock-based with Froese's guitar and Krieger's drums in the foreground, but the music develops throughout the album and ends up with something that sounds like a subway ride in the London Underground breaking every speed limit! The album also contains one of the finest pieces of music Tangerine Dream have ever written -- Cloudburst Flight. This piece was by the way used as the signature of the weather forecast on the Italian TV station RAI!

A big tour throughout Germany was scheduled to take place -- after the success of the Cyclone tour -- but it had to be cancelled because Force Majeure did not sell very well in Tangerine Dream's native country.

After the recording of Force Majeure had taken place, Klaus Krieger left Tangerine Dream. Krieger had always had a very loose connection with the band -- more like a session musician -- and at the end of the day Froese and Franke did not really want to work with real drums. Instead, there was room for another keyboard player as a replacement for Peter Baumann, as it had been the intention all along ever since Baumann left the band. This replacement was found in Johannes Schmoelling -- aged 29. At the time, he was working as a sound engineer at the Hansa studio.

Froese: "Johannes was very professional in terms of music and studio work. He had a remarkable ability to concentrate and could work for long stretches of time. He had several years of experience as an audio technician at the famous Berlin SchaubŁne Theatre of Peter Steins. I visited a performance there of Robert Wilson's Death, Destruction and Detroit. Johannes had created all the sound collages one could hear throughout the play. I was so enthused by the five-hour performance that I asked Johannes afterwards if he wanted to join Tangerine Dream". (Interview with Mark Pendergast, January 1994, Tangents)

Well, apparently Johannes Schmoelling liked the idea, and for the following six years he was a regular member of Tangerine Dream. Johannes Schmoelling was born in Lohne, Germany in 1950 and he began playing the piano at the age of eight. He later moved on to the pipe organ and played professionally in various churches before he graduated from college in 1978 with a degree in sound engineering. Maybe he already had his debut on Force Majeure, where he may have been involved in the production when the band -- towards the end of the track Thru Metamorphic Rocks -- made a very expressive sound collage with sounds of running trains and so on! Well, maybe not -- in an interview in 1997 Edgar Froese told a journalist that this particular track actually got its strange and futuristic sound by accident.

Froese: "The reason is simply that Thru Metamorphic Rocks had an accident in the mixing desk. So while we did the recording the tape ran, and all the instruments were locked in, and we played, and we improvised quite a lot all the time. Then all of a sudden something went wrong with the desk. So there were a lot of strange noises all of a sudden which appear within the track and are totally wrong, but which actually made sense in the music. We listened to it again and again and said 'should we? shouldn't we?' Finally we said 'okay, leave it the way it is". (Interview with Ashley Franklin and Nick Willder on 29 October 1997, Soundscapes, 16 November 1997)

© 1999 by Kent Eskildsen




In 1984 the album was released on CD for the first time as part of a series by Virgin. With the exception of Exit, all releases of this series had a similar cover design, using only part of the original artwork in a monochrome border that featured the band and album title.


In 1995 Virgin re-released the album on CD in the so-called "Definitive Edition" series, featuring the original front cover artwork.


In the same year, like Cyclone, the album was re-released in the USA on CD with a completely different artwork.


In 2009 the album was re-released in Japan with a cardboard sleeve featuring the exact replica of the original LP sleeve.


In 2012 the original album was re-released as part of the compilation box The Virgin Years 1977-1983.


1979: Virgin/CBS
Promo-LP: V 2111; white promo labels, gsc
LP: V 2111; red/green labels
1979: Virgin/Festival
Promo-LP: L 36641; red/green labels with sticker
LP: L 36641; red/green labels
1979: Virgin/Ariola
LP: 200 347; picture labels
LP: 200 347; picture labels; mispressing with side A being Dutch songs by unknown artist and side B being Tangerine Dream
1979: Virgin/Polydor
LP: V 2111; picture labels
1984: Virgin
Promo-LP: V 2111; red labels with white stripes, gsc
LP: V 2111; red labels with white stripes
1995: Virgin/EMI
CD: 840 259-2
1995: Virgin
CD: 840 259-2; identical to UK version from 1995
1979: Virgin/Polarvox
LP: V 2111; picture labels
1979: Virgin/Polydor
LP: 2473 764; red/silver labels
LP: 2473 764; black/silver labels
1981: Virgin
LP: 200 347; red/green labels
1983: Virgin
LP: 70 003; red/green labels
1984: Virgin
CD: CDV 2111; identical to UK version
1985: Wake Music
CD: 330 252
1979: Virgin/Ariola
LP: 200 347; picture labels, cover with textured surface
LP: 200 347; picture labels, regular cover
1984: Virgin/Ariola
LP: 200 347; picture labels
CD: 610 371; identical to UK version from 1984 with the German order number on a sticker fixed on the jewel case
1993: Virgin
CD: 786 094-2
19??: Virgin/Polygram
LP: 2473 764; picture labels
1979: Virgin/General Music
LP: BAN 2111; red/green labels; covers with incorrect colours exist
LP: BAN 2111; two green of the red/green labels; covers with incorrect colours exist
1979: Virgin/Dischi
LP: VIL 12111; picture labels
1985: Virgin/Dischi
LP: OVED 111; red/green labels
LP: OVED 111; white/gray labels
1979: Virgin/Victor
Promo-LP: VIP-6932; picture promo labels
LP: VIP-6932; picture labels
1990: Virgin
CD: VJCP-2518
Promo-CD: VJCP-2518; same as regular release, but with additional red promo sticker
2009: EMI
CD: VJCP-68919; cardboard sleeve, obi
Promo-CD: VJCP-68919; same as regular release, but with additional numbered sticker on rear
New Zealand
1979: Virgin/RTC
LP: V 2111; picture labels
1979: Virgin/VADECA
LP: VV-33008-V; red/brown vinyl, blue/red labels
LP: VV-33008-V; clear vinyl, blue/red labels
LP: VV-33008-V; blue/red labels
LP: VV-33008-V; red/green labels
1997: CD Media/Spurk
Counterfeit-CD: 426797; white/black/blue disc
1979: Virgin/Ariola
LP: 200 347-I; picture labels, cover with textured surface
LP: 200 347-I; picture labels, regular cover
1980: Virgin/Ariola
LP: 200 347-I; picture labels
1987: Virgin
LP: E 200 347; red/green labels
1979: Virgin
LP: V 2111; picture labels
1979: Virgin
LP: V 2111; picture labels, cover with textured surface
LP: V 2111; picture labels, regular cover
LP: V 2111; clear vinyl, picture labels, cover with textured surface
LP: V 2111; clear vinyl, picture labels, regular cover
1984: Virgin
CD: CDV 2111
1985: Virgin
LP: OVED 111; red/green labels
LP: OVED 111; white/gray labels
1995: Virgin
1981: Virgin/JEM
Promo-LP: VI 2111; skin-coloured promo labels
LP: VI 2111; skin-coloured labels
1988: Virgin
LP: 790 012-1; black labels with blue triangle
CD: 790 012-2
1993: Virgin
CD: V21Y 86 094-2
1995: Virgin/CEMA/Griffin
CD: GCD-350-2
1979: Virgin
LP: LSVIRG-70898; red/green labels
Force Majeure was also released as part of the set (3).

Copyright/Disclaimer   © 2001-2016 by Michael Berling. Last Update: 2016-09-29 21:52