When it comes to compiling retrospective overviews of any long-standing performer or group, it's difficult to know what to include and what to leave out, what to polish up and what to leave in the raw. Even if the choices are narrowed to a segment of the artist's career (as here), there are problems galore. Providing the best possible presentation of a range of material is one way to handle things; if there's room, salting in a few outtakes, live cuts, and alternate versions is always a good idea. Tangents has been approached on a slightly different vector, with results that will intrigue some and annoy others. There is, for example, an entire disc of outtakes: TD fans tend to be very specific about what constitutes the band's best material, so this provides listeners with a way of totally ignoring material they may find inferior. Another disc, meanwhile, is devoted entirely to music for films, a Tangerine Dream side trip that provided some of their best and most atmospheric music. All of the cuts here are remixed, and some have additional work from TD founder Edgar Froese. It's this remodeling approach that may have some longtime TD fans looking askance at this five-CD collection. While re-recording certain pieces gets around the need to condense longer TD compositions, it also serves to dilute a number of the pieces. The remixes, on the other hand, are effective in terms of cleaning up some of the tracks, providing an even sonic landscape. The effect, over the first four discs at least, is to create a homogenized version of Tangerine Dream, one in which the musical balance is better realized and the musical shifts blur into invisibility.
As an anchor for a Tangerine Dream collection, Tangents works reasonably well, though it should be buttressed with the addition of other albums from the Virgin Records period: Sorcerer, Firestarter, Phaedra, and Force Majeure, among others .