Tangerine Dream – “Exit” (1981)

Trying to use words to describe sound is often quite futile, at least not without us, writer and reader, having some general agreement as to what certain sounds are like.  If I describe the low end on a classic rock song, that’s one thing; describing the low end on an EDM song is another thing entirely.  And I’m musing on this because I’m sitting here right now listening to and trying to write about Tangerine Dream.  And it feels a bit futile.


Exit came out in 1981, and the best way I can describe it to you is that it feels like a sic-fi version of the original Miami Vice, one set in a not-so-distant future that is largely recognizable, but also a bit better and a bit worse at the same time.  It has that dark style of the “gritty” version of the early 1980s, but society has continued to slowly slide even as the technology has improved.  Better vehicles and weapons and tools, but worse in the lengths that the criminal and quasi-criminal elements will go to in order to survive.  Those early 80s synths keep things very deliberate and precise, just like Crockett and Tubbs’ wardrobes.  It’s probably no coincident Exit came out in the same year as the Thief Soundtrack that was scored by Tangerine Dream – the film has a bit of that grittiness I’m talking about, though it lacks any sic-fi flourishes.  The music of Exit would have replaced Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” as the nighttime cruising music and defined the entire Miami Vice aesthetic.

It kinda sounds a bit like that.  Sort of…

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