• Dan J. Schulte

Strange Behavior

Tangerine Dream fans are picky with their line-up. I'm no different. I really discovered TD in 1984 watching an HBO trailer for FIRESTARTER (then subsequently the film) although I had heard them previously and unknowingly in films such as SORCERER, THIEF, THE SOLDIER, RISKY BUSINESS and the original trailer for THE WARRIORS (which used Betrayal from SORCERER).

Once I discovered them as a band in 1985 I began buying their other more current works before going backwards, past Force Majeure/Tangram and the sound began to change to more of a haunting and experimental groove I didn't really appreciate at the time. I was going to stick to the more melodic 80's Franke/Froese/Schmoelling line-up which is still my favorite TD line-up to this day although I also enjoy the earlier years as well. Over the next 20 years there would be a plethora of unreleased 80's FFS era TD bootleg trading. Some of it was listenable and some of it, not so much. Rumors (more like jokes, actually) about Froese having a vault of unreleased TD were abound. Where were STREET HAWK? THE SOLDIER? RED HEAT? VISION QUEST? Why was the actual music used in 90% of their films so different from the albums released? Where WAS the original film used music? Did it even still exist? Most likely, and in Edgar Froese's vault (snicker).

It wasn't really until 2008 when former member Johannes Schmoelling released his solo album Early Beginnings that I officially knew the original masters DID exist.

On this album were, in all of their remastered glory, unreleased tracks from THE SOLDIER (The Soldier Theme), STREET HAWK (Riding the Bike), THE KEEP (Echo Village) and LEGEND (Tracks in the Snow). It would be yet another 12 years before I would see the official release of THE SOLDIER on the Pilots of Purple Twilight collection. Where all of the remaining unreleased TD music is still remains a mystery to most TD fans (to be honest, we all know it's still in Edgar's vault). The good news is it IS still out there, somewhere, whether on one of Schmoelling's floppys or Franke's tape reels. BSX's current release of STRANGE BEHAVIOR solidifies that hope.

Strange Behavior is a mostly forgotten film. I didn't even manage to catch it on HBO in my youth and I still haven't seen it. A sad quality bootleg of the score has been around for quite some time and to be honest, it was nothing to claw through a door to get. The sounds hearken back to the more ambient portions of POLAND, PHAEDRA, THE KEEP and some percussive moments in THE SOLDIER. Despite the lack of typical TD Berlin School sequences and melodies of that era, hearing it in mastered and presentable form is a real treat. These days [anything] unreleased from the Franke/Froese/Schmoelling TD era is like finding and dusting off a Chachapoyan Fertility Idol. One must wonder how many poison dart and pit traps suspendered Ford Thaxton had to sidestep to gather even this little gem.

While this is obviously not a full review of the album by any means I can comfortably say, as a rabid TD fan of almost 40 years, it's worth picking up to enjoy the undeniable sound of the early 80's FFS era and the synths of the time they used. I'm not sure how long this album will keep it's small price tag as the run is seemingly small (The album itself says 500 copies but the BSX website says 1000) but for around $12-$15 it's well worth it, especially for us old TangHeads.