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Tangerine Dream


- Studio, released October 1976 -


CD release Europe 1995
Photo: Monique Froese
Design: Cooke-Key Ass.

CD release UK 1984
Photo: Monique Froese

CD counterfeit release Russia 1997?

8 track tape release USA 1977


1.Stratosfear 10:3710:3610:36
2.The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades 4:294:314:31
3.3 a.m. At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee 8:498:488:48
4.Invisible Limits 11:2511:3011:30
5.Coventry Cathedral (The Original Film Soundtrack) -34:0734:07
6.Stratosfear (Single Edit) [Excerpt]-4:174:17
7.The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades (Single Edit) [Excerpt]-3:243:24
8. Introduction By John Peel--2:36
9.Rainbow Concert: Part 1 --36:52
10.Rainbow Concert: Part 2 --29:32
Total running time35:2077:13146:13


Recording dateAugust 1976
Recording site(s)Audio Studios (Berlin)
Recording engineer(s)Ottmar Bergler
Composer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Peter Baumann
Musician(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Peter Baumann
Producer(s)Edgar Froese, Chris Franke, Peter Baumann


In summer 1976 Peter Baumann recorded his first solo album Romance 76, being quite different from TD's music of that period. That year Virgin had re-released the early TD records Electronic Meditation (1970), Alpha Centauri (1971), Zeit (1972) and Atem (1973), but the most important news was the August recording of Stratosfear (note the play on words!) at Audio Studios in Berlin. Besides the well-known instrumentation of mellotron and moog synthesisers, Tangerine Dream surprised their listeners with their use of acoustic instruments like harpsichord, acoustic guitars, grand piano and mouth organ. On the other hand, Peter Baumann used a new Project electronic rhythm computer which gave the percussive sequences a very dry, precise finish.


According to Edgar Froese, Stratosfear was the most complicated and nerve-wrecking of any TD production, as there were lots of technical problems with the equipment as well as a number of musical problems amongst the group about which tracks were to be chosen.


From 30 Years Of Dreaming

In August 1976, Tangerine Dream went to the Audio studio in Berlin to record what would become the album Stratosfear. It was released in October, and at the same time the band went on a big tour throughout Europe to promote the album. More than 30 concerts in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, England and Scotland were accomplished.

Stratosfear is much more ordinary in its sound and expression than the earlier albums. The tracks are shorter than before and they are much more melodic. The music has a higher degree of tonality and a lot of acoustic instruments like the grand piano, the chembalo and the mouth organ (!). Edgar Froese made frequent use of his abilities on both the acoustic and the electric guitar. His very characteristic and melodic way of playing has later on become one of the trademarks of the band.

As so many times before, in these very early days of electronics, they had a lot of problems with their equipment while recording: Peter Baumann had a new sequencer, which it had taken a German company a year to build, but it was not completely ready and in the studio it did not work properly. When it was finally made to work, the multi-track recorders broke down and at one point, smoke was pouring out of the studio's Dolby units and they could not record without them.

The three members of the band were very frustrated and besides the technical problems they where arguing about what music they should play and have on the album:

Froese: "When I appeared in the studio one day with a harmonica, the absurdity of the situation was revealed. It was supposed to be a joke, retort to the unpredictability of the technology, but after playing it during the beginning of 3 a.m. At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee, everybody decided to leave it on. So much had happened during these sessions -- master tapes at times disappeared from the studio, finished tracks were mysteriously erased and the mixing console finally went up in smoke. The events which occurred during the making of Stratosfear alone would fill an entire book!". (Interview with Mark Pendergast, January 1994, Tangents)

If you could feel the same mood on the earlier albums as in the movie, 2001 -- A Space Odyssey, then the cover of Stratosfear might be a clear reference to this movie; big monolith-like objects floating in formation over a deserted and strange landscape! Once again a spectacular cover from the hands of Monique Froese.

Stratosfear is a classic, and in my opinion, also one of the absolutely best albums by Tangerine Dream. Even the band members themselves must have been rather satisfied with the result, because the title track has often been played at concerts and been re-recorded in different versions -- the latest one on Tyranny Of Beauty with the title Stratosfear 1995.

© 1999 by Kent Eskildsen


Backtracking with Tangerine Dream

Edgar Froese: "Somebody said Stratosfear has a sort of atmospheric circle round the music. It's hard to explain with words. Every music can do this, but that record has a particularly strange, mysterious atmosphere. Here again, some of the titles relate to Greek philosophy."

Chris Franke: "Normally, when we go into the studio, there's no music written and we work by a system of trial and error. We work like Salvador Dali, so we're more like developers than composers. We don't write music, then memorise it, then play it. No, we play little bits, record them on tape or in the computer, decide immediately if we want to keep them or change them. It's a kind of composition that could not have happened before, because you would need an orchestra to be playing all the parts."

(Interview with Johnny Black, thisBEAT, issue 17, April 1986)




In 1984 the album was released on CD for the first time as part of a series by Virgin. With the exception of Exit, all releases of this series had a similar cover design, using only part of the original artwork in a monochrome border that featured the band and album title.


In 1995 Virgin re-released the album on CD in the so-called "Definitive Edition" series, featuring the original front cover artwork, but like most of the other releases of this series, it contains some little errors: The third track is misspelled 3AM At The Border Of The Marsh on the CD body, and Peter Baumann's name is misspelled Baummann in the booklet.


In 2009 the album was re-released in Japan with a cardboard sleeve featuring the exact replica of the original LP sleeve.


In 2011 the album was re-released as part of the compilation box The Virgin Years 1974-1978, and in 2012 it was re-released on vinyl.


In 2019 the album was re-released with three bonus tracks. In fact, this version is identical to disc thirteen of the In Search Of Hades box set, featuring the original album, newly remastered by Ben Wiseman from the original tapes. The bonus tracks are two single edits (originally released on Stratosfear/The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades) and an excerpt from the live recording from of TD's famous concert in Coventry, 1975.


1976: Virgin/Festival
Promo-LP [a]: L 36052; multi-coloured labels, foc, sticker
LP [a]: L 36052; multi-coloured labels, foc
LP [a]: L 36052; green labels, foc
1976: Virgin
LP [a]: 28 146; multi-coloured labels, foc
1977: Virgin/Phonogram
LP [a]: 9124 135; red labels
1976: Virgin/Polydor
LP [a]: V 2068; multi-coloured labels, foc
197?: Virgin/Polygram
LP [a]: V 2068; red/green labels, foc
1984: Virgin
Promo-LP [a]: V 2068; red labels with white stripes, gsc
LP [a]: V 2068; red labels with white stripes
1995: Virgin/EMI
CD [a]: 840 065-2
1995: Virgin
CD [a]: 840 065-2; identical to UK version from 1995
2012: EMI Virgin
LP [a]: VR 2068; multi-coloured labels; black inner sleeve; foc
2019: Virgin/Universal
CD [b]: 774 697-8; multi-coloured disc; sticker
1976: Virgin/CPF
LP [a]: 940 533; multi-coloured labels, foc
1976: Virgin/Polydor
LP [a]: 2473 721; green labels with printing 'Made in France', foc
LP [a]: 2473 721; green labels with printing 'Fabrique en France', foc
LP [a]: 2473 721; black/silver labels, foc
LP [a]: 2473 721; red/silver labels, foc
1981: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: 202 621; red/green labels, foc
1983: Virgin
LP [a]: 70 040; red/green labels, foc
1984: Virgin
CD [a]: CDV 2068; identical to UK version from 1984
1976: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: 28 146; green labels, foc
LP [a]: 28 146; red/green labels, foc
LP [a]: 28 146; red/green labels
LP [a]: 28 146; white/gray labels
LP [a]: 652 909; silver labels; this is a club edition
1984: Virgin/Ariola
CD [a]: 610 326; identical to UK version from 1984 with the German order number on a sticker fixed on the jewel case
1993: Virgin
CD [a]: 786 092-2
1976: Virgin
LP [a]: 062-VG 50054; red/green labels
1976: Virgin/EMI
LP [a]: 2J 064-98572; multi-coloured labels, foc
19??: Virgin/Polygram
LP [a]: 2473 721; red/green labels
1976: Virgin
LP [a]: V 2068; multi-coloured labels, foc
1976: Virgin/General Music
LP [a]: BAN 2068; red/green labels
1976: Virgin/Dischi
LP [a]: VIL 12068; multi-coloured labels, foc
LP [a]: VIL 12068; red/green labels, foc
1984: Virgin
LP [a]: OVED 70; red/green labels, foc
LP [a]: OVED 70; white/gray labels, foc
1977: Virgin/Nippon Columbia
Promo-LP [a]: YX-7141-VR; green promo labels, foc, some copies include a poster and insert
LP [a]: YX-7141-VR; green labels, foc; the first 10,000 copies included a poster
1982: Virgin/Victor
LP [a]: VIP 4152; green labels
1990: Virgin
CD [a]: VJCP-2516; some with wrapper 'British Rock History on CD'
Promo-CD [a]: VJCP-2516; same as regular release, but with additional red promo sticker
2009: EMI
CD [a]: VJCP-68916; cardboard sleeve, obi
Promo-CD [a]: VJCP-68916; same as regular release, but with additional numbered sticker on rear
2015: Virgin
SHM-CD [a]: UICY-76989; gatefold cardboard sleeve
Platinum SHM-CD [a]: UICY-40133; gatefold cardboard sleeve
SHM-SACD [a]: UIGY-9676; gatefold cardboard sleeve
2019: Virgin/Universal
2SHM-CD [c]: UICY-78976; gatefold cardboard sleeve plus one single cardboard sleeve
1977: Virgin/BMG
LP [a]: LA 367
1976: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: TCV 2068; multi-coloured labels, foc
New Zealand
1976: Virgin/RTC
LP [a]: V 2068; red labels
LP [a]: V 2068; red/green labels
1977: Virgin/Phonogram
LP [a]: 5028 146; multi-coloured labels
1997?: Spurk
Counterfeit-CD [a]: 428797; white/black/blue disc
South Korea
1989: Virgin/EMI Kemongsa/JIL
LP [a]: VKPL-001 V2068; green labels, foc
1976: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: 25 146-I; multi-coloured labels, matte finish foc
LP [a]: 25 146-I; multi-coloured labels, gloss finish foc
1978: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: 25 146-I; green labels, foc
LP [a]: 25 146-I; red/green labels, foc
1981: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: 25 146-I; red/green labels, foc
1984: Virgin/Ariola
LP [a]: E 28 146; dark red/green labels
19??: Incredible Sound
LP [a]: KS-5082; yellow labels
19??: Nova/Music Life
LP [a]: ML-001; multi-coloured labels
1976: Virgin
Promo-LP [a]: V 2068; green labels, foc, promo label
LP [a]: V 2068; green labels, foc
LP [a]: V 2068; red/green labels, foc
1984: Virgin
LP [a]: OVED 70; red/green labels, foc
LP [a]: OVED 70; white/gray labels, foc
CD [a]: CDV 2068
1995: Virgin
CD [a]: TAND 8
1977: Virgin/CBS
LP [a]: PZ 34427; multi-coloured labels, foc
Promo-LP [a]: PZ 34427; white promo labels, foc, white demo cover
Promo-LP [a]: PZ 34427; white promo labels, foc, gsc (demonstration)
Promo-LP [a]: PZ 34427; multi-coloured labels, foc, gsc (promotion)
Promo-LP [a]: PZ 34427; multi-coloured promo labels, foc, gsc (demonstration); some with pink sticker ('World wide smash album now available inthe U.S.')
Promo-LP [a]: PZ 34427; multi-coloured labels, foc, gsc ('For Military Sale Only')
Promo-LP [a]: PZ 34427; multi-coloured labels, foc, gsc ('For Governmental Sale Only')
8 track tape [a]: PZA 34427
1981: Virgin
LP [a]: VI 2068; skin-coloured labels, foc
1988: Virgin
LP [a]: 791 010-1; black labels with blue triangle
CD [a]: 791 010-2
1993: Virgin
CD [a]: V21Y 86 092-2
1982: Virgin/Betarecord
LP [a]: LPBS-1067; brown labels, foc
1976: Virgin/RTB
LP [a]: LP 55-5633; multi-coloured labels, foc
LP [a]: LP 55-5633; green labels, foc
LP [a]: LP 55-5633; yellow labels, foc
Copyright/Disclaimer   © 2001-2021 by Michael Berling. Last Update: 2021-09-19 21:31