No stranger to soundtracks as a member of Tangerine Dream, Christopher Franke continued to work on films after leaving the group. Culled from his scores for McBain, Eye of the Storm, and She Woke Up (all released in the early '90s), New Music for Films, Vol. 1 features his work with the Berlin Symphonic Film Orchestra, a group he founded for these occasions. While TD's typically epic compositions were scaled back for film, they otherwise made few stylistic concessions to the medium. Franke, by comparison, creates fragments of music that create a necessary mood but feel naked on their own. His focus is clearly on supporting the film, which these pieces ostensibly do well, evoking tension, suspense, and sadness with efficacy. So while the music here functions well as a soundtrack, it fares no better as an album of new music than most soundtracks. Mixing synthesizers with a modest orchestra, Franke stays well within film music's familiar idiom; a nice bit of adaptation, but it's an unsatisfying tradeoff for anyone expecting the ghost of Tangerine Dream to resurface here. Most of the 24 tracks last for one to three minutes, trailing off much as they began. A handful of longer pieces exist, running from four to seven minutes, but of these, only "The Shock" could be called substantive. The rest of the tracks are of a piece, which is remarkable given that the music was written for three different movies (see if you can tell which bits belong to which film). Franke emerges as a capable composer for film on this disc but, as an audio-only experience, it's frankly unrewarding.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Connolly