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Tangerine Dream


- Soundtrack, released March 1981 -


CD release UK 1985

CD release Europe 1995

CD release USA 2004

CD release USA 2014

LP release USA 2020


1.Beach Theme 3:443:443:46
2.Dr. Destructo 3:183:183:19
3.Diamond Diary 10:4810:4810:50
4.Burning Bar 3:113:113:12
5.Beach Scene -6:486:52
6.Scrap Yard 4:404:404:39
7.Trap Feeling 2:572:572:59
8.Igneous [1980 remix]4:454:454:46
9. Confrontation [performed by Craig Safan]5:44-5:44
Total running time39:0740:1146:07


Recording date1980
Recording site(s)Polygon Studios (Berlin)
Composer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Johannes Schmoelling
Musician(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Johannes Schmoelling
Producer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Johannes Schmoelling, Michael Mann


Soon after the 1980 studio album Tangram was finished TD began the work on the soundtrack for the Michael Mann film Thief starring James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Robert Prosky and Willie Nelson (the UK title of the movie was Violent Streets, the German title was Der Einzelgänger, and the French one was Le Solitaire). William Friedkin, director of Sorcerer had recommended TD's music to Michael Mann.


More information about this movie is available at The Internet Movie Database.


Thief was the second big Hollywood film that TD worked on after Sorcerer. Michael Mann was professionally prepared and knew precisely what he wanted. Up to this point, no one had ever used a sequencer for this category of movies. Sorcerer, which was the first film in which sequencers appeared, took place in very strange primeval forest. Many people did not even really notice the exotic music. But Thief took place in a normal thriller setting -- here the music was once unusual. This score was and is one of the most unusual of its kind for American film, and TD received many offers after. Michael Mann, who the band later worked for on The Keep, really helped TD quite a lot on the way when he offered this film to them.


Backtracking with Tangerine Dream

Edgar Froese: "Another film score. The producer, Michael Mann, had very definite ideas about how the music should sound. We had already composed the music, so we explained to him about recording techniques, mixing, musical terms and so on, then we gave him the tapes, sat him at the mixing desk and said 'O.K. Do it yourself.' He spent three days trying then gave up. Film producers know as much about music as I do about 35mm cameras."

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


Initially, there were two versions of the album; only the US release from 1981 included the track Confrontation that was composed and performed by Craig Safan. All other worldwide releases featured the composition Beach Scene (itself an extended version of the opening title Beach Theme) instead, though, by mistake, the US track listing was printed on the covers of some of the first releases.


There have been rumours that Confrontation was composed by Safan but played by TD, as the cover information suggests, but issue number 9 of the newsletter of TD's now defunct official fan club (TDIFC) clearly states: "During the time Michael Mann was editing and dubbing the movie Thief, TD played some gigs in Italy. Michael rang them in Venice and asked for a final guitar sequence which should close the movie. There was no time for the band to step into an Italian studio to record such a piece of music. What's very unusual for TD, happened. Michael had to ask an LA based guitarist to compose what's called later Confrontation on the record. It had to have playing technique and a TD sound. Virgin records, who did the release of the record outside the States, didn't like the piece or the whole procedure. It was done and taken off the tape. Business as usual!"


From 30 Years Of Dreaming

1980 would also become the year when Tangerine Dream seriously established themselves in Hollywood and began their vast production of soundtracks. Michael Mann had just ended the scoring of the movie Thief. With James Caan in the leading rolo, the movie was about a shabby professional thief's last attempt at doing something big, to make a name for himself in the business.

Michael Mann was looking for someone to make the soundtrack, and William Friedkin recommended Tangerine Dream. All parties involved took the assignment very seriously, and therefore some of the most modern equipment was brought into the project; a brand-new computer called GDS was used for synchronising the film to the music and the sound effects. The band was very enthusiastic about the project:

Edgar Froese: "It was a pleasure because we had a finished film to work from. When we did Sorcerer we created the music before a foot of film had been shot. The exotic and shifting moods of Thief fitted in perfectly with the kind of music we played. Making the soundtrack allowed us to play around in the studio a bit and create a piece of music we thought would fit the picture like a glove, yet would also stand on its own". (Elektra/Asylum press-release, September 1981, Tangents)

Johannes Schmoelling: "Thief was my first experience in composing music for a movie. We were very much influenced by the director in that he wanted the music to be very loud, like a drilling noise in the brain. So we created heavy guitar sounds combined with heavy sequencer rhythms. Contrasts were created by the use of lyric tunes like Beach Theme." (Interview with Mark Pendergast, January 1994, Tangents)

The critics were very enthusiastic when the movie came out in March 1981, and one review was better than the other. More and more frequently Tangerine Dream were contacted by film producers and directors, who wanted to make use of their music.

© 1999 by Kent Eskildsen


In 2001 the movie was shown at the Film Festival Braunschweig in presence of Johannes Schmoelling.




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, but like most of the other releases of this series, it contains some little errors: The track sequence on the CD body is wrong (track 4 and 5 are exchanged), Edgar Froese's name is misspelled Frose in the booklet, the backside insert features the name of Peter Baumann instead of Johannes Schmoelling, and the soundtrack is alleged to be a 'Live' CD on the backstrip.


In 2004 the soundtrack was re-released by the label Wounded Bird Records, featuring the original US track listing on CD for the first time. Unfortunately, the ambitioned label had some bad luck: The first pressing featured the same tracks as the Virgin release, as WEA had sent them the Virgin masters instead the Elektra masters by mistake. For the second pressing the track Igneous was cut out instead of Beach Scene. Both mispressing have been redrawn and were finally replaced by a correct pressing featuring the original track listing. According to Wonded Bird, only 67 units of the first pressing got to the public. All three pressings can be distinguished by the colour of the disc (see below).


In 2013 Perseverance Records announced a reissue combining both versions (that is, including both Beach Scene and Confrontation) for the first time. Slightly delayed it was finally released in January 2014. The first 50 copies ordered were signed by Craig Safan and Johannes Schmoelling. The booklet contains extensive liner notes by James Anthony Phillips.


In 2020 the album was newly remastered by Ben Wiseman from the original tapes and re-released both as part of the Pilots Of Purple Twilight box set and as individual album.


1981: Virgin/CBS
Promo-LP [b]: V 2198; white promo labels, gsc
LP [b]: V 2198; red/green labels
1981: Virgin/Polygram
LP [b]: VL 2213; red/green labels
198?: Virgin
LP [b]: VL 2213; red/white labels with different layouts
1995: Virgin
CD [b]: 840 520-2; identical to UK version from 1995
2020: Virgin/Universal
CD [b]: 089 770-1; multi-coloured disc
1981: Virgin/Polarvox
LP [b]: V 2198; red/green labels
1981: Virgin
LP [b]: 203 472; red/green labels; Igneous is titled Metascore in the track listing
1983: Virgin
LP [b]: 70 063; red/green labels
1985: Virgin
CD [b]: CDV 2198; identical to UK version from 1985
1981: Virgin/Ariola
LP [b]: 203 472; red/green labels, imprint on front cover looking like a sticker 'Original Soundtrack zum Film "Der Einzelgänger"', the back cover is missing the complete ligh blue writing including the words 'Side One:' and 'Side Two:'
LP [b]: 203 472; white/grey labels, cover with imprint and missing blue writing (see above)
LP [b]: 203 472; red/green labels, cover without imprint (see above)
1985: Virgin/Ariola
CD [b]: 253 472; identical to UK version from 1985 with the German order number on a sticker fixed on the jewel case
1993: Virgin
CD [b]: 786 683-2
198?: Virgin/Polygram
LP [b]: 2473 816; red/green labels
Hong Kong
198?: Virgin
LP [b]: V 2198; red/green labels
1981: Virgin/General Music
LP [b]: BAN 2198; two green of the red/green labels
LP [b]: BAN 2198; two red of the red/green labels
1981: Virgin/Dischi
LP [b]: VIL 12198; red/green labels
1985: Virgin/Dischi
LP [b]: OVED 72; red/green labels
1981: Virgin/Victor
Promo-LP [b]: VIP 6974; white promo labels
LP [b]: VIP 6974; red/green labels
1985: Virgin
CD [b]: CDV 2198
1990: Virgin
CD [b]: VJCP-2520
Promo-CD: VJCP-2520; same as regular release, but with additional red promo sticker
1981: Virgin/Ariola
LP [b]: 203 472; red/green labels
New Zealand
1981: Virgin/RTC
LP [b]: V 2198; red/green labels
South Africa
1981: Virgin/CCP
LP [b]: VIR(L) 3035; red/green labels
198?: Virgin/Shang Yang
LP [b]: V 2198; red/green labels
1981: Virgin
LP [b]: V 2198; red/green labels
1985: Virgin
LP [b]: OVED 72; red/green labels
CD [b]: CDV 2198
1995: Virgin
CD [b]: TAND 12
1981: Elektra/Asylum
Promo-LP [a]: 5E-521; white promo labels with two different layouts, consecutive numbered gsc (some starting with 'A', others with 'S')
Promo-LP [a]: 5E-521; red labels, numbered gsc
LP [a]: 5E-521; red labels with two different layouts
LP [a]: 5E-521; black/red labels
8 track tape [a]: ET8-521
2004: Wounded Bird
CD [a]: WOU 521; mispressing, featuring tracks as in listing [b]; light-blue disc
CD [a]: WOU 521; mispressing, featuring Beach Scene instead of Igneous
CD [a]: WOU 521; correct pressing; orange disc
2014: Perseverance
CD [c]: PRR 066; limited edition of 4,000 copies; first 50 copies signed by Craig Safan and Johannes Schmoelling
2015: Audio Fidelity
LP [a]: AFZLP 221; 180g vinyl
2020: Mondo
LP [a]: MOND-144; 180g Blowtorch coloured vinyl, cut-out sleeve
LP [a]: MOND-144; 180g black vinyl, cut-out sleeve
Thief was also released as part of the set Thief / White Eagle.

Copyright/Disclaimer   © 2001-2021 by Michael Berling. Last Update: 2021-09-19 21:31