This is a duo recording of Edgar Froese (synthesiser, bass, guitar, keyboards) and Paul Haslinger (synthesiser, keyboards), recorded after Chris Franke had left the band a year earlier. It’s their 12th film score recorded in 1988. Between the late 70’s and late 80’s Tangerine Dream’s film scores really tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with iconic scores for the likes of William Friedken’s Sorcerer, Kathryn Bigelow’s vampire Western Near Dark, Stephen King’s Firestarter, even the Tom Cruise vehicle Risky Business. It was a time when Tangerine Dream along with Harold Faltermeyer (Fletch/ Beverly Hills Cop), John Carpenter (Escape From New York), and even Vangelis (Blade Runner) owned movie airwaves with their highly synth orientated music, and Miracle Mile is very much in this vein.
Miracle Mile is a 1988 apocalyptic thriller starring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham. It’s a film that writer/ director Steve De Jarnatt battled for years to direct with film studios wanting to turn it into a large scale action vehicle for the likes of Kurt Russell, and alter the ending to be more upbeat. But he stuck to his guns and finally got the opportunity.
Musically this is classic Tangerine Dream, at times you can hear traces of Faltermeyer et al, but really these kind of minimal repetitive sequences are their bread and butter. Listening retrospectively there is no denying their ability to build tension and elicit emotions, often in the same piece. Their music is clean, free from grit, sounding like it’s come straight from the machine. It’s all carefully controlled, there is not a note out of place. In 1998 they were at the height of their powers with taut sequences, booming bass drums and overwhelming (synthetic) strings. Musically it still stands up today, and with American film sound so dire in the 80’s, back then it was positively triumphant.