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BAMCinematek Celebrates Tangerine Dream: We Pick Their 5 Best Soundtrack Scores

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist June 5, 2012 at 6:28PM

As the New York Times so aptly observed this weekend, eerie '80s synths score are synonymous with the German experimental electronic music group Tangerine Dream. And yet, the group and their sinister and moody, but anonymous modulations, we're never celebrated as loudly in that era (or since) compared to the works of other '80s synth-heavy composers like Harold Faltermeyer ("Top Gun," "Fletch," "Beverley Hills Cop"), John Carpenter ("Escape from New York," "The Thing") and Vangelis ("Chariots of Fire," "Blade Runner").

3. "Risky Business" (1983)
One of the most unusual and inspired moves, one that a lot of moviegoers don't remember, is the fact that Tangerine Dream scored the 1980s teen comedy "Risky Business" starring a young Tom Cruise. The title track, the "The Dream Is Always The Same" isn't something you'll remember from the title, but when you hear the pensive modulations, you get that, "ohh, that theme!" feeling right away. And some of it is just subversively sinister -- not bad considering the film's about teens running a prostitution business while their parents are away on vacation. Check out the track "No Future (Get Off The Babysitter)" in the embed below and awe at its synth scuzzy genius.

4. "Near Dark" (1987)
Another classic in the dark, ethereal and often angelic work of Tangerine Dream is their atmospheric score to Kathryn Bigelow's waaaay, pre-"The Hurt Locker" days genre picture, "Near Dark." A strange hybrid of vampire, western amd biker film, it's also emerged as a horror classic in recent years. "With her makeshift family of nomadic, punk-styled vampires, they traverse the flat plains of the Midwest in railroad cars and stolen Winnebagos—an ideal canvas for Tangerine Dream," BAM writes

5. "Thief" (1981)
Arugably a major influence (along with Walter Hill's "The Driver") on Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive" -- think another neo-noir where the loner thief tries to get out of the business with one more score set to throbbing and pulsating synths -- Michael Mann's "Thief" starring James Caan is a neo-noir classic of mood, nervy tension and paranoia. Perfect for Tangerine Dream, but with the last-minute track "Confrontation," composed at Mann's behest when the director thought he needed one more song, the German band proved they could rock and get anthemic with the best of them.

Interested? Sold? Also check out Tangerine Dream's scores to the adaptation of Stephen King's "Firestarter," Michael Mann's vastly underseen horror "The Keep" starring Scott Glenn, Gabriel Byrne and Jürgen Prochnow, and Andrey Konchalovskiy's drama "Shy People" starring Jill Clayburgh, Barbara Hershey, and Martha Plimpton.

This article is related to: Tangerine Dream, BAMcinematek, William Friedkin, Michael Mann, Ridley Scott

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