[Review] Tangerine Dream: Force Majeure (1979)

Intoxicating sequencer patterns, heroic themes and mountains of mind candy await on this wonder-full album.

Kronomyth 12.0: Pink flood.

The sequencer-based arrangements of past albums find their fruition on Force Majeure. With Steve Jolliffe gone and Klaus Krieger reduced to an ancillary role, Edgar Froese and Christopher Franke parlay their longstanding collaboration into a complementary musical dialogue that is at once lean and evocative. The album’s highlight is the side-long title track, which suggests nothing less than the creation of the world, with the hands of God communicated by the purposeful sequencer patterns, followed by moments of hope and heroism that approach the sublime, and closing with the lighthearted counterpoint of a futuristic J.S. Bach.

“Cloudburst Flight” begins with acoustic guitar and warm washes of synthesizer, but soon Froese’s grating and garbled electric guitar pushes the musical discussion into one of conflict, which is finally resolved with the coexistence of peace and turmoil. “Thru Metamorphic Rocks” contains more heroic guitar from Froese, but is generally a return to the amorphous and eerie compositions of past albums, with percussive space echoes that occasionally suggest the work of Klaus Schulze. Krieger, who served as an independently minded element on Cyclone, appears here more to lend credibility to Froese’s rock-like guitar segments than act as a third voice.

Force Majeure’s greatest achievement is the overwhelming sense of purpose that marks this music. If earlier Tangerine Dream albums were susceptible to charges of improvisational noodling at times, no such charge could be reasonably leveled against this album. This is a calculated and compelling work from two experienced artists who move through the electronic medium with grace and precision.

Original LP Version

A1. Force Majeure (18:18)
B1. Cloudburst Flight (7:21)
B2. Thru Metamorphic Rocks (14:15)

All material composed by Edgar Froese and Chris Franke.

The Players

Chris Franke, Edgar Froese, Klaus Krieger (drums) with Eduard Meyer (cello play). Produced by Edgar Froese and Chris Franke; engineered by Eduard Meyer.

The Pictures

Cover design and painting by Monique Froese.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette in February 1979 in Germany and the Netherlands (Virgin, 200 347 320), the UK, Canada and New Zealand (Virgin, V/TCV 2111), the US (Virgin International, VI/VIC 2111), Australia (Virgin, L36641), Italy (Virgin, VIL 12111), Japan (Virgin, VIP-6932), Portugal (Virgin, VV-33008-V) and Yugoslavia (Jugoton/Virgin, LSVIRG 70898). Reached #27 on the UK charts. Also available on clear vinyl elpee in the UK (Virgin, V 2111).

  1. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in the UK (Virgin, OVED/OVEDC 111).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette on June 30, 1987 in Germany and the Netherlands (Virgin, 840 259) and in the UK (Virgin, CDV 2111).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1988 in the US (Virgin, 91012-2/4).
  4. Re-released on remastered compact disc in 1995 in the UK (Virgin, TAND10).
  5. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on July 23, 1996 in the US (Virgin, 86094-2).

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