MOTA ATMA, the score for an obscure German film released in 2003, continues in the tradition of Tangerine Dream's best soundtrack work. Featuring driving rhythms, Mobius strips of sequenced percussion, and stirring synthesizer melodies, the overall mood is triumphant and upbeat.
The opener, "The Courage to Lose," sets up the heraldic theme of the album, with mighty gusts of synthesized bravado giving way to an intentionally aggravating tautness, the aural equivalent of a racecar speeding winningly but still in pointless circles. Composer/leader Edgar Froese, master of the controlled burn, follows this with similar exercises in scintillating tension. "For the Summit Only" makes use of percolating sequencer and stereo placement effects to create a gorgeous dynamic stillness. "No Pleasure No Pain" introduces a welcome lower-register element: a bouncy bassline juxtaposed with an airy, cornet-like synth lead; the bass/treble dialogue suggests the interconnectedness of pleasure and pain. The most interesting track here is "Snow on Angels Feather," one of the most gentle and moving songs in TD's repertoire. That they are still capable of surprises like this is a hopeful sign that Tangerine Dream is in no danger of losing its edge.