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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Thief' [Soundtrack]
Artist - Tangerine Dream

For those not in the know, 'Thief' is a 1981 neo-noir film written and directed by Michael Mann and based on the 1975 novel The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar by "Frank Hohimer" (the pen name of real-life jewel thief John Seybold). The film stars James Caan as the titular thief and Tuesday Weld as his girlfriend and is one of those films where if you don't know if you've seen it or not, you can be assured you haven't! I mean, this is a movie which not only stars Caan, but the man who plays his recently deceased mentor, and closest friend from prison (nicknamed Okla) was none other than country music legend Willie Nelson!

This quite brilliant, retroflectic 'Thief' soundtrack (which I am actually listening to on remastered, reissued vinyl) begins with the Rushesque "Beach Theme," heads into the electro funk of "Dr. Destructo," before we finally get the most talked about track - over the years - on this soundtrack/album, "Diamond Diary." At over ten minutes long, well, if you don't have any time for Tangerine Dream's work, a) what are you listening to this album for anyway, b) why are you reading this review, and c) you are missing out on something so very special. It ebbs, sways, creeps, explores, soars and so much more throughout and personifies perfectly the age that it was not only created, but the band itself.

Indeed, that band, the German electronic music group Tangerine Dream - Edgar Froese– keyboards, electronic equipment, guitar; Christopher Franke– synthesizers, electronic equipment, electronic percussion; and Johannes Schmoelling– keyboards, electronic equipment - were founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese, underwent many personnel changes over the years, and to this day, Froese remains the only continuous member.

"Diamond Diary" is backed by the building mid-tempo bursts of "Burning Bar," which in turn is followed by a near seven minute "Beach Scene." Yet another work of complete electronica / new-age music, and one that features a massive Rush musical note a couple of minutes in, it is their lighter collective pop sounds on display, for sure. The pulsating "Scrap Yard" is next, and is backed by both the ethereal "Trap Feeling" and then rounds out perfectly with the profound musical beats, "Igneous" With an even blend of electronic rock and emotive orchestral sweeps, if you watch the film, to be honest, the music blends in so well, so tightly, that you wouldn't believe that such a musical experience could have ever have been nominated for Worst Musical Score at the 2nd Golden Raspberry Awards in 1982! The soundtrack is just excellent for listening to, whether you are driving home, stuck in traffic or having a quite, reflective Sunday afternoon alone.

As you yourselves might be able to tell from listening to this wonderful work of musical art, "Beach Theme" and "Beach Scene" are two different mixes of the same piece! Don't ask me why, they just are. Also, the album version of "Dr. Destructo" is quite different from the film version and an extended version of it was made available only as a promo 7" single. My goodness, that's got to be worth something in this day and age!

Taking this big album reveal further, "Igneous" is a remix of "Thru Metamorphic Rocks" from the 1979 album Force Majeure. Finishing this train of though, neither "Beach Theme" nor "Trap Feeling" appear in the film, but are both fully welcomed here on this soundtrack. Funnily enough, it's been said by many people associated with the creation of this album, that after Tangerine Dream completed the soundtrack, Mann needed another sequence. As Tangerine Dream was on tour, Craig Safan composed and performed "Confrontation". The original 1981 Elektra LP released in the U.S. featured "Confrontation", which appears on Version A (there were only two versions, in truth) only.

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