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Blue Moon - O.S.T.

(Bureau B; US: 14 Sep 2010; UK: 18 Oct 2010)

The Internet Movie Database page for the 1986 film Blue Moon contains little information about the movie save for the fact that it was a West German thriller. Dieter Moebius’s score for the film, now available after 24 years, does not provide any more hints. Though there are several deep, dark and creepy tunes (“Hoffnungsschimmer”, “Traurige Zita”, “Kriminelle Energie”, “Ablenkolng”) accented by wonderfully murky and filthy synth bass, there’s nothing particularly suspenseful about the music. Rather, one gets a hint of sustained dread from these tunes. Moebius’s patented, motorized (not, mind you, motorik) Cluster gait serves as the rhythm engine, which suggests a very mechanical plot. It’s hard to imagine these pieces snapping to a scene the way that Tangerine Dream’s more measured ‘80s scores did. Indeed, several pieces end kind of abruptly, some mid-note.

The album starts with “Intro 2”, a bizarre cadre of drunken horn emulations arranged in a stiff march, like a regal coronation seen through the eyes of a booze hound passerby. From there, Moebius launches into “Falshe Ruhe”, one of two beautiful, sparse, plinky ambient contributions (the other being the majestic “Am See”) that could have been cutting-room floor outtakes of the Harmonia sessions. “Im Wedding” and “Dust Off” also make one wonder about their film of origin, not least because of how wildly inappropriate they sound. The rippling bass dub of “Im Wedding” makes one think more of snipers and pipe bombs than vows, while “Dust Off” is way too sluggish, repetitive and gadgety for a beatdown score.

In 1986, the krautrock scene had splintered but was making bids for acceptance; not only through the aforementioned Tangerine Dream but via Kraftwerk’s Electric Café and Neu!’s ill-fated reunion album, Neu! 86. At this point, electronic sounds were no longer exotic. Moebius, however, still had a voice found nowhere else on the radio or on screen. Film composers need to surrender their own voices for the sake of the narrative; perhaps that’s why Blue Moon’s intriguing score has survived but the film itself remains buried in the dustbin of history.


Timothy Gabriele is a writer who studied English and Film at the University of Massachussetts at Amherst. He currently lives in the New Haven, CT region with his family. His column, The Difference Engine, appears regularly at PopMatters. He can be found twittering @Wildcorrective and blogging at 555 Enterprises.

Tagged as: cluster | harmonia | moebius
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