Tangerine Dream

The Great Wall of China

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The greatest aspect of a soundtrack by this legendary German electronic new age ensemble is that you don't need the visuals to fully appreciate the music. Tangerine Dream has had success with both mainstream films like Risky Business and interesting documentaries like this, and brings a blend of mystery, haunting melancholy and throbbing percussive energies to each scene depending on the necessity of the mood. The group is notorious for throwing stylistic curveballs, and it's ironic that only "Silence the Barking Monk" has any true Eastern tinge to it, with its hypnotic chimes and Asian-flavored string instruments. The rest of the collection ranges from the percussion-heavy, spacey symphonic "Meng Tian" (enhanced by emotional though distant ethnic vocal chant) to the contemplative, pop-oriented "Summer in Shauxi." It's all very interesting and enjoyable if you like TD already. But if you pick this one up thinking that the music's bound to be as exotic as the cover art, you might be a bit miffed.

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