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1976 LP album cover
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1976
RecordedAugust 1976 at the Audio Studios, Berlin, Germany.
ProducerTangerine Dream
Tangerine Dream chronology
Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideC[2]

Stratosfear is the eighth major release and seventh studio album by the German group Tangerine Dream.[3]

The LP reached No.39 in the UK, in a 4-week chart run, and eventually reached silver status for selling in excess of 60,000 copies (£100,000+).


Nick Mason of Pink Floyd did the original mix of Stratosfear in April 1976 at Hansa by the Wall. Due to disputes between Tangerine Dream and Virgin, this mix was abandoned.[4]

Stratosfear combines Tangerine Dream's acoustic and electronic influences more tightly than before. For instance, at the end of the last track, "Invisible Limits", the deep piano/flute tune reveals the album's romantic flavour even after the earlier predominantly synthetic compositions (tracks #1 to last part of track #4). It was Peter Baumann's last studio album with the group.

The album marks the beginning of the band's development away from their uncompromising early 1970s synthesizer experiments toward a recognisably more melodic sound, a trend they would pick up again in 1979's Force Majeure. The title track "Stratosfear" has been played live many times and has been released in a re-mixed form on a number of other albums.

Critical reception[edit]

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said "I respect their synthesizer textures in theory, but these guys should leave the accessibility to Kraftwerk. When they program in received semiclassical melodies and set the automatic drummer on 'bouncy swing,' the result is the soundtrack for a space travelogue you don't want to see."[2] According to Allmusic's John Bush, Stratosfear "shows the group's desire to advance past their stellar recent material and stake out a new musical direction" and also marks "the beginning of a more evocative approach for Tangerine Dream".[5] Bush said the title track, which begins with a "statuesque synthesizer progression before unveiling an increasingly hypnotic line of trance", is the album's highlight.[5]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
2."The Big Sleep in Search of Hades"4:45
Side two
1."3 AM at the Border of the Marsh from Okefenokee"8:10
2."Invisible Limits"11:40

A new CD version was issued in 2019 re-mastered from the original master tapes. It contained the extra bonus tracks 'Coventry Cathedral' (previously unreleased), 'Stratosfear' (single edit) and 'The Big Sleep in Search of Hades' (single edit) both previously released on promotional only singles in 1976.



A single was released in 1976 with excerpts from two tracks.[6]

2."The Big Sleep in Search of Hades"3:50


  1. ^ Bush, John. Stratosfear - Tangerine Dream at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: T". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 15 March 2019 – via
  3. ^ Berling, Michael (29 September 2016). "Stratosfear". Voices in the Net.
  4. ^ Kirkman, Jon. Tangerine Dream Official Web-Radio. Event occurs at 32:30.
  5. ^ a b Bush, John. "AllMusic Review by John Bush". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  6. ^ Berling, Michael (29 September 2016). "Stratosfear/The Big Sleep in Search of Hades". Voices in the Net.