Tangerine Dream – Mota Atma

Mota Atma is a 2003 soundtrack by Tangerine Dream to a very obscure movie. While the movie may have disappeared into oblivion, though, the soundtrack is classic Tangerine Dream.

On first listen, Mota Atma seems like it could be a long-lost recording from TD’s glory days. The tracks strongly recall TD’s classic soundtracks from 20-25 years ago, especially Thief. If you’re a fan of early TD, this could easily be the groups most rewarding listen in years.

The CD features the father-son makeup of TD, Edgar and Jerome Froese. The music is built up of layers of sequences and drones over which the Froeses have added textural synth melodies. The synth timbres echo early 80’s TD – largely analog-sounding, but also with some vintage digital TD sounds. TD lalso adds sampled choral voices and other effects, so that their sound palette does not seem either vintage or trendy, but timeless.

The tracks on Mota Atma share a lot of common elements. TD takes a collection of sounds and sequences that work together well and use them as “themes” for the soundtrack.

For most of the tracks, the Froeses remix this collection of sounds and sequences in various ways. At times, they create chilled-out ambient effects. At other times, they use more of the driving sequences and percussive effects, giving the music more of an aggressive quality.

One exception is the sensual Snows On Angels Feather. This is more of an ambient track, featuring slowly evolving synths and tastefully used white noise effects. It’s one long interlude, but it’s also one that you don’t want to end.

Another unusual track for TD is Brain Offender. It begins with lush orchestral electronica harmonies that bring to mind Debussy. About a minute into the track, though, TD drops in a sequenced drum track and returns to the shared melodic and rhythmic material of the soundtrack.

The last track, A Day In Liberty Valley, is a melodic synth song that brings to mind Beach Scene off the Thief soundtrack. Its use of simple chord progressions, string synths, a melody line synth and drums makes the tracks seem like they could have been done in the same session, though they were recorded nearly twenty-five years apart.

Overall, it’s a very enjoyable TD CD, though a few choice Froese distorted guitar riffs might have just pushed it over the top and made it into a classic album.

Tangerine Dream has been a prolific group that has reinvented itself over its 40+ year existence. Their work on Mota Atma recalls some of their best work, and offers a real treat for long-time fans of their music.

Tracks:

  • The Courage To Lose
  • For The Summit Only
  • No Pleasure No Pain
  • Royal Way Of Privacy
  • Phoenix Burning
  • Prophet In Chains
  • Snow On Angels Feather
  • A Fair Days Wage
  • Brain Offender
  • A Day In Liberty Valley

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