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Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream’s Electronic Visionary

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On 20 January 2015, the world lost a true pioneer when Edgar Froese, frontman of the pioneering German band Tangerine Dream, died aged 70, after suffering a pulmonary embolism.

The band’s influence on the development of electronic music was huge, with a vast catalogue of album releases, groundbreaking live performances and film soundtracks. Froese founded Tangerine Dream in 1967 and was the only constant member of the group, who made their recording debut two years later with Electronic Meditation, during their years on the Pink label.

It was their long association with Virgin Records during the early expansion of the label that brought the band, and Froese’s innovative helmsmanship, to a wider international audience. Their Virgin debut came with the seminal 1974 release Phaedra, the first of nine studio and four live albums released by the band on Virgin over the next decade.

Tangerine Dream, and Froese, continued to be prolific in later years, with more than 100 albums to their name. In addition, he recorded a large amount of material under his own name, from 1974’s Aqua onwards. The band were also much noted for their film soundtracks, including the score for Tom Cruise’s breakthrough movie, 1983’s Risky Business.

Froese was born in Tilsit, in East Prussia (now known as Sovetsk, in Russia), in 1944, and studied piano from the age of 12, and guitar from 15. He then went to the Academy of Arts in West Berlin and was playing in the experimental rock band the Ones from 1965. The first incarnation of the band with which he would become synonymous followed two years later, as Tangerine Dream carved a unique in the development of German art-rock with a sound that is widely credited with setting the scene for the latter-day trance music landscape.

Froese’s insatiable appetite for sonic discovery was evident in a 1997 interview with Mojo magazine. “We’ve been through the entire range of possibilities of creating a piece of music,” he said. “In the early 70s, we did 100 per cent improvised stuff, just sat down and started playing. Even up to ’77, ’78, in concerts we would just walk on stage and say, ‘A? E? C? What key shall we start with?’ 100 per cent risk, each gig.

“Then we moved on and started structuring things more, when technology became more reliable and flexible and you could store things and recall them better. That proceeded until today, when we’ve reached the absolute opposite point to which we started: Electronic Meditation was 100 per cent improvised, absolutely nothing organised, with just a few little overdubs, and ‘Tyranny Of Beauty’ is 100 per cent composed, with every tone set as we want them to sound.

“That’s a huge cycle of work, through many years, and now we’ve decided to move again, in a completely different direction. We’ll see what happens.”

The message on the group’s Facebook page announcing Froese’s death noted: “Edgar once said: ‘There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address.’ Edgar, this is a little comfort to us.”

Follow uDiscover’s Tangerine Dream Best Of playlist.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Peter Fox

    January 24, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    RIP Edgar

  2. Enzo

    January 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Il tuo salto quantico, permetterà alla frequenza del suono di compiersi in questa realtà olografica, e di tramutarla in sogno vivido. Edgar ondeggia felice nell’immaginario sonoro. Ci rivedremo. Enzo.

  3. Holger

    January 24, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Edgars music meanwhile enriches my life for more than 35 years…RIP

  4. paul layton

    January 24, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Rest in piece edger you braught a lot of joy and good music into my life, i have always admired the music you and tangerine dream have made, i was introduced to your music through an old friend of mine in the mid eighties and was hooked from then on, and still listen to it to this day and always will ,we went to see you in leeds in the nineties and had a really good time, especaily because certain members of the audiance were smoking some VERY exautic cigaurettes but a good time was had by all and every one went home happy, god bless and thank you RIP.

  5. David Gomariz

    January 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Ni te imaginaras allá donde te encuentres envuelto en música…cuanto bien has hecho en mi vida…Gracias por todo…eres insustituible….

  6. Dan Villeneuve

    January 24, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    RIP Edgar! Thank you so much for the years of wondrous ear candy that brought us to distant lands in our imaginations! You have truly touched many souls in such a beautiful way! Tangerine Dream constantly plays in the background as I edit photos still to this day and will do so into the distant future.

  7. cadanimacion

    January 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    El planeta ha perdido a uno de los grandes músicos del siglo 20 y principio del siglo 21

  8. Luc

    January 24, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    with your masterpieces Ricchochet and rubycon you brought me the love for music. In your music you will live for ever.

  9. Jack Weiss

    January 24, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    I loved Tangerine Dream; I discovered their music just a few years ago, and felt the connection immediately. I have several dozen albums and concert recordings and love them. My regrets are that I didn’t listen to TD earlier, and never got a chance to see TD live.

    Godspeed to you on your voyage into the Afterlife..I hope to meet you in Nirvana..

  10. James Hastings-Trew

    January 25, 2015 at 4:52 am

    Edgar’s passing came as a saddening shock to me. He was just starting out on a new chapter for Tangerine Dream, he has an autobiography coming out soon, always releasing new music. He was a tireless creative force. His passing will leave a void in my musical world.

    I started listening to Tangerine Dream back when Rubycon was first released. I immediately tracked down and purchased all of the previous material (which at the time wasn’t a LOT – Meditation on a Burning Brain, Alpha Centauri, Zeit, Phaedra). I’ve stuck with collecting everything Tangerine Dream and Edgar Froese over the year (and Baumann and Franke’s outputs as well). Little did I know when I started out what a massive amount of music that would turn out to be.

    The world of music has lost a giant. I almost feel like I’ve lost a friend.

  11. Chris bury

    January 25, 2015 at 9:30 am

    my thoughts and prayers go out to you at this very sad time, Edgar will be very sadly missed.

  12. Matthias

    January 26, 2015 at 7:24 am

    Thank you Edgar.
    You’ve been a part of my life and youth in Berlin.
    Memories come up – i remember the gig at the Berliner Reichstag in the late eighties.
    Brilliant music – great memories – thank you for all you gave me with your music.
    Rest in peace.

  13. Marek poniatowski

    January 27, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Jesteś żywy na zawsze w swojej twórczości, jaką dla nas zostawiłeś.
    R.I.P. Edgar

  14. Chris

    January 28, 2015 at 2:25 am

    RIP Edgar. Your creative genius
    will be missed!

  15. Alfred

    February 8, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Missed but never forgotten Edgar. I hope you are reunited with Monica, Salvador Dali, your parents and all of those who left this existence. Please let us know your new cosmic address when you have settled in?

  16. Brien Comerford

    April 7, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Edgar was the greatest electronic musician ever. He was boundlessly talented, creative, visionary, prolific and refined. A humane vegetarian, animal lover, humanitarian and pacifist. God bless his eternal and mystical soul.

  17. David Allmond

    January 20, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    RIP Edgar. you were a true genius & a original. RIP.

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