Tangerine Dream ‎– Optical Race

Private Music ‎– 2042-2-P
CD, Album


Companies, etc.



℗ © 1988 Private, Inc.
Manufactured in USA.
Manufactured and distributed in the United States by RCA Records.

6-page roll-out booklet with credits, artwork. Cover page is perforated along running figure and square at top-left corner revealing page folded behind it. Standard CD jewel case with white tray.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 0 1005-82042-2 0
  • Matrix / Runout: 20422P 7/88 1DA1

Other Versions (5 of 27) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
2042-1-P Tangerine Dream Optical Race(LP, Album) Private Music 2042-1-P Germany 1988 Sell This Version
NM016 Tangerine Dream Optical Race(CD, Album, Club) Ediciones Del Prado, Private Music NM016 Spain 1995 Sell This Version
209 557, 209 557-8 Tangerine Dream Optical Race(LP, Album, RE) Private Music, Private Music 209 557, 209 557-8 Europe 1989 Sell This Version
RCLP 70142, 209 557, 701.42 Tangerine Dream Optical Race(LP, Album) RCA Victor, Private Music, Private Music RCLP 70142, 209 557, 701.42 Greece 1988 Sell This Version
IECP-10194 Tangerine Dream Optical Race 2005(CD, Album, Ltd, RE, Car) Eastgate, WHD Entertainment, Inc. IECP-10194 Japan 2009 Sell This Version


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December 11, 2014
With the departure of Chris Franke (and all of his lovely gear), 1988 saw Tangerine Dream reduced to the duo of Edgar Froese and Paul Haslinger. Possibly due to the loss of Franke's considerable studio stash, Optical Race is the first TD album to be largely programmed on computer. And it shows. The music is startlingly more rigid than it has been on any past release by the group, held together by tight, computery beats. The sequences have lost all sense of flow and instead pummel away much like the beats themselves. And Optical Race begins the 'Melrose Years', which are notorious for their incredibly dated sound (indeed, even their contemporaries in the pop and dance worlds were using richer sounds than this at the time).

All negativity aside, the album is mercifully saved by a collection of the band's strongest pop melodies. If the production is shocking at first, after a few listens it's easy to hear past. Dramatic opener Marrakesh, with its middle eastern melodies, actually benefits from the tight programming, with wildly changing tempo and timing throughout the piece. It's a bracing start to the record, and is followed by the similarly energetic Atlas Eyes.

Much of the rest of the album is taken up by sentimental sounding pieces, showing a more tender side to the group that had only previously been hinted at (most obviously on Le Parc). Mothers of Rain, Sun Gate and Ghazal all feature very pretty melodies that are interestingly arranged. Turning Off the Wheel is the only real concession to the band's history, with a repeating synth sequence that is joined by a backing that builds in suspense as the piece moves forward.

Not all here is of such quality, however. The Midnight Trail and Twin Soul Tribe more closely resemble backing tracks, waiting for either a lead melody or vocals to complete them. Worse still, the title track is the band's poppiest piece to date, to such an extent that it ends up sounding more like the theme for a second rate late '80s game show.

Optical Race is not a particularly original or forward-thinking album, nor is it recommended for listeners who aren't already familiar with much of Tangerine Dream's 1980s output. It is, however, a largely solid collection of melodic electronic pieces which are often pretty and charming. If you've made it this far into their back catalogue, it's definitely worth a go.