I have always preferred to listen to instrumental music more than vocal songs. Jazz along with classical symphonies and the related music has been highly enjoyable to my mind. However, none of that quite satisfies me. I had often searched high and low for instrumental, non-classical, non-jazz music. Then I accidentally stumbled across the German artist Edgar Froese.
I was vacationing with friends in Chicago in late 1971 when we decided to go record store hopping. As I flipped through the stacks of new music, I stumbled across a group named “Tangerine Dream” the album was called “Alpha Centauri”. I instinctively knew I had to buy the LP. The store clerk complimented me on my choice. He said that he was also into “Krautrock”.
At the first chance I had to find a turntable, I gave the record a spin. I almost passed out from shear ecstasy. The sound was far and beyond anything I’d ever thought to be excellent. It was even more satisfying than the music of my favorite combo, The Beatles. Even though the sound was cutting edge electronica, I believed then that the sound would be timeless.
The founder of Tangerine Dream is Edgar W. Froese. He was born in East Prussia on June 6, 1944 near the end of World War Two. By his early teens, Froese was playing piano and guitar. His talent included painting and sculpture. He was enrolled at the Academy of Arts in West Berlin.
Froese founded a combo named “The Ones”, in 1965. The band toured Europe, playing standard rock and psychedelic music. During his gigs in Spain, The Ones were invited to play for Salvador Dali. Dali’s influence turned out to be very important to Froese. The Ones, broke up in 1967. When Froese returned to West Berlin, he rounded up musicians for a band to play “free rock”. The result was the group, Tangerine Dream.
Tangerine Dream broke ground by performing very lengthy compositions featuring the combination of Mellotron, and sequenced loops of sampled sounds. All of that was interspersed with rock guitar stylings.
Group members included Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann. For awhile, Klaus Schulze was involved in Tangerine Dream. Peter Baumann was replaced in the 1980s by Johannes Schmoelling. The Tangerine Dream sound was extremely influential in the development of Krautrock or the “Berlin School Of Electronic Music”. This branched out into separate genres. Electronic Dance music via Kraftwerk and similar groups came about as a result of this movement.
Tangerine Dream’s biggest invention in the 1980s, was popularly called “New Age Music”. However, Froese and company did not care for that name. It was also around the 1990s to the present time that Tangerine Dream and Froese pioneered the various branches of electronica.
Many people have unknowingly been exposed to Froese’s work by virtue of the fact that he has composed well over 60 movie soundtracks. You might be familiar with “Miracle Mile”, “Risky Business”, or “Firestarter” to name a few.
Even though Edgar Froese has inspired many musicians and other creative people, he and Tangerine Dream were sparked by the avant garde stylings of Karlheinz Stockhausen. The guitar parts of Froese’s music are similar to those of Jimi Hendrix.
I long ago gave up my effort to collect all the Tangerine Dream albums. The group has pressed more than 100 recordings. This number does not include fan releases, compilation collections, nor bootleg recordings. I only pick up a CD now and then if I come across a new one.
I keep hoping that he will someday collaborate with Jean-Michel Jarre on an epic piece of music.
If you love electronica, I’m sure you’ve enjoyed plenty of the creative pieces from Tangerine Dream and Edgar W. Froese. Perhaps you will enjoy some during his birthday, today?
The Blue Jay of Happiness notes that Froese is a vegetarian. He doesn’t smoke, use drugs, and doesn’t imbibe alcohol.