Sorcerer is one of the many soundtracks that Tangerine Dream (TD) composed and recorded. This movie from 1976 was directed by William Friedkin; it was a remake of The Wages Of Fear (1953). With this soundtrack the group started a lucrative career as composers of film scores. This album was recorded a year before Peter Baumann left the band for a solo career. The electronic music of the trio was an inspiration for Friedkin. If he had been familiar with the band earlier, he would have used TD's music for The Exorcist (1973) as well. Instead he used the music of Tubular Bells, the famous debut album recorded by Mike Oldfield.
I've seen Sorcerer, but I have to admit that I never listened to the soundtrack of the original album. Only until I received a good reissue from Esoteric Recordings it was possible to take note of the music Edgar Froese (synthesizers, bass, electric guitar, piano, Mellotron, piano), Christopher Franke (synthesizers, Mellotron, sequencers) and Peter Baumann (synthesizers, piano, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, sequencers), had created for this movie.
While listening to the album it's hard to deny that the music really sounds as if it was made for a movie. It fits the images of the movie very well. The music is mostly performed with Mellotrons, electric guitars and many synthesizers; it sounds rather strong compared to other soundtracks of TD. Therefore many people who fancy TD's music consider Sorcerer to be the best soundtrack the band ever recorded. The music on this album is quite similar to the music on their preceding records Rubycon (1975) and Stratosfear (1976). These albums are loved by most of their admirers.
The musicians wrote a very dark and gloomy score. The opening tune The Main Title is rather terrifying and takes the listener along in a creepy adventure. More of this nerve-racking stuff can be heard throughout the album. Since TD had to write music for a soundtrack, they wrote mostly rather short compositions within the range of two or three minutes. Well, it proved that TD could also write music within certain time constraints. So no side-length epics this time like they did on previous releases. Some of the tracks sound like unfinished pieces, but I think they work in the context of the images.
No less than three singles were taken from Sorcerer : Betrayal/Grind, Grind/Betrayal and Grind/ Impressions Of Sorcerer. Unfortunately I can't tell you whether these singles were successful or not, but the album reached No.25 in the UK Album Chart in a seven-week run, to become TD's third best-selling album in the UK. It's also interesting to know that the band worked two years on this soundtrack, which originally contained ninety minutes of music. Only 45 minutes were used for the album and a quarter of the material was actually used for the movie! On the one hand it seems this was rather unsatisfactory for TD, but on the other hand they never saw the film during the creation of the soundtrack.
As I already mentioned the music for Sorcerer sounds rather strong and that's something you can't say about many other soundtracks. This is maybe due to the fact that TD stuck to the electronic sounds they also recorded on previous releases. Therefore the music was very recognizable and enjoyable for most TD-fans. I still wonder what has happened to the other 45 minutes of unreleased music... Maybe someday this secret will be unveiled!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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