Tangerine Dream Exit Album Review

Tangerine Dream Exit (1981) Classic Album Review

Now spinning…. Tangerine Dream – Exit (1981)

If you’ve ever been asked the question ‘What’s the most 80s album ever?’, and don’t know what to answer, tell them that the album that represents everything 80s the most is Tangerine Dream’s ‘Exit’.

This is the first TD album after Johannes Schmoelling really had settled in his role in the band. Exit is also the album that marked a clear change in the band’s musical development. ‘Tangram’ was very much a part of the ‘old’ TD sound (long instrumental movements stretched over two vinyl sides). ‘Exit’ gives room for much shorter ‘songs’ with more focus on traditional «melodies» and more focused stretches of «catchy» parts.

‘Exit’ is very much a product of its time. Most of the album deals with themes such as nuclear war, cold war, political unrest and a changing world. TD even brought in an uncredited Berlin actress, chanting, in Russian, the names of the continents of the world and pleading to end the threat of “limited” nuclear war.

‘Exit’ is also TD’s most electronic-sounding album and is made almost entirely with synth keys and Synclavier (unless my memory fails me here). The album is awash with 1980s sci-fi sounds, and sounded so state-of-the-art in 1981 and so delightfully retro-futuristic in 2022.

The title track has been used in countless TV shows and documentaries as background music (much to the same effect as Vangelis ‘Alpha’ and Jean Michell Jarre’s «Oxygen pt. 4»), and it’s a fine example of the economical use of musical movements that repeats itself while also builds upon the sparse foundation of the sequencer-pattern underneath.

‘Exit’ isn’t my all-time favourite TD album (that honour goes to ‘Phaedra’, ‘Rubicon’ or ‘White Eagle’) but it’s the Tangerine Dream album that I’ve listened to the most. And it’s a rather remarkable musical ‘postcard’ from a decade that some of us remember with a nostalgic yearning of pleasure.

Frode Singsaas | Now Spinning Magazine

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