Phasers on Stunned
It was always going to take something special for me to bring this blog back from the dead. Maybe not special for you, but special for me. Sure, I’ve missed this place – the limited scribbling that I did over on Ecstasy in Slow Motion felt a bit half arsed, because it was – I was just going through the motions. But I’ve been feeling a real desire to start blogging again – all the stuff that I write for The Times is stuck behind the paywall and, try as I might, I just can’t express myself in 140 characters. I’m a waffler. Plus, the story behind this first post is intrinsically linked to this blog. It would be weird to write it anywhere else.
So – why is dialogue from Star Trek spliced with music by Tangerine Dream special? I suppose the main reason is that I never thought I’d hear it again…
I wrote a post on here back in March 2007, an ill-conceived look back at the history of ambient and chill-out music from my very limited perspective. In that post I wittered, “I long to get my hands on a cassette a friend of my brother made, which spliced a Tangerine Dream album with dialogue from episodes of Star Trek. It was a bizarre union but it worked perfectly as music to lose yourself in, the dreamy soundscapes of Tangerine Dream combining with Kirk and Spock’s out-there and often hilarious observations on beaming down to yet another strange planet.”
That tape brings back some seriously intense memories. Predominantly of being in Oxford in the early-90s where my brother was at college and taking homemade blotter acid so strong that a guy I’d spent the entire day with emerged from the cupboard under the stairs ten minutes after we’d dropped and said to me, “Who the FUCK are you?” The night involved a crate of vintage champagne, trying to stop my friend jumping off the roof and much more barking-mad lunacy. I don’t think I’ve ever properly recovered from it. But that night, as the effects were finally wearing off and we were coming down, drinking £80 bottles of champagne and smoking arm-sized joints, my brother’s friend put on the tape that you can now download above in all its glory, all 102MB of it. It became THE comedown tape, the one we’d always lob on the stereo when frazzled. I never got past the first 15 or so minutes before slipping under, but would always wake up for the last few moments.
But for some inexplicable reason, every copy of the tape disappeared. My brother lost touch with the friend who originally had the tape and any copies in circulation with my circle of mates was wiped (replaced with a Spiral Tribe DJ-mix, no doubt) or lost. I had long since given up on ever hearing again. And then, completely out of the blue, in September last year I got an email from a guy called Chris –
I came across your White Noise website as for ages I have been trying to find the recording of Tangerine Dream with Star Trek dialogue and wondered if you had found it anywhere? I have asked everyone I gave it to but no luck. I got it from someone I worked with and he has no idea where his copy went either so if poss let me know. I cannot listen to Tangerine Dream without Kirk or Spock’s voice popping into my head! Chris
I’ve done many a Google search for Star Trek/Tangerine Dream (and combinations thereof) but nothing of use ever came up, so kudos to Chris for actually finding my post in the first place. But we were still no closer. He, like me, was looking for it, not in possession of it. But then, just before Christmas, Chris e-mailed me again with better news –
It would appear that my brother has found the Star Trek/Tangerine Dream tape amongst some of his old cassettes. He is trying to have it put on CD as we speak.
In the end it was Chris who took charge of the transfer, seamlessly linking the two sides of the C90 together by adding some of the original vinyl music (you really can’t hear the join) and making a glorious 90-minute version of the Star Trek/Tangerine Dream bootleg. And with the submission of the final mp3 came some interesting background to the mix from Chris -
If I’m not mistaken there are twenty episodes of Star Trek that the dialogue was taken from, including (in no particular order) -
What Are Little Girls Made Of/ Miri/Balance of Terror/Shore Leave/The Galileo Seven/The Squire of Gothos/Arena/Tomorrow is Yesterday/Court Martial/The Return of the Archons/This Side of Paradise/Errand of Mercy/The Alternative Factor/The City on the Edge of Forever/The Changeling/Mirror Mirror/The Trouble with Tribbles/The Ultimate Computer/Bread and Circuses/And the Children Shall Lead
As for the Tangerine Dream albums involved, there are four that I know of Phaedra, Force Majeure, Rubycon and, towards the end, Richochet for just a few minutes. The albums aren’t complete run-throughs, just sections of groovy music, so whoever originally mixed it did some selective editing.
So who did mix it?
I was told by the friend who gave me the original tape that the guy who mixed this tape was one of the many members of Saxon. He (my friend) used to work in the evenings for Saxon doing the light rig for their stage show, I spoke to him yesterday and he still reckons that to be true!!!
But of course – one of the members of Barnsley heavy metallers Saxon. Who else?
So there you go – a heartwarming tale of how the internet works for the good, connecting people and unearthing lost treasures. I really have no idea how the TD/ST combo works for anyone who doesn’t recall it from back in the day, but to me it still sounds magical. It’s good to be back.