Tangerine Dream is a seven-time Grammy nominated German electronic music group band, and a phenonemon of synth music.
The group, founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese, right, has gone through multiple changes over the years, but has managed to stay active and relevent in the world of synth music, releasing 100+ CDs, including studio, live and soundtrack recordings.
During that time, a variety of influential synth artists have been members of Tangerine Dream, including Klause Schulze, Christopher Franke, Peter Baumann and Johannes Schmoelling.
The early line up of Froese, Franke and Baumann is considered by many to be the group’s most exciting period. The group pioneered the Berlin School style of synth music – music built using modular synthesizers and other early electronic music gear that uses driving sequences to create a propulsive rhythmic drive.
While this period in the band’s history is probably their most influential, Tangerine Dream is best known to a general audience from the group’s many soundtracks, which include Risky Business, Firestarter and Legend.
Tangerine Dream has a major web presence. Their official site is very deep and features their music, a discography and information about the groups history.
Tangerine Dream is celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2007 with the release of their latest album, Madcap’s Flaming Duty.
Tangerine Dream’s Beginnings
The group’s origins are in the late 60’s in West Berlin. Froese, a sculptor that studied with Salvador Dali, joined with other experimental rock artists Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler. They released Electronic Meditation in 1970.
This grouping was short-lived, though. It was the Froese, Franke, Baumann line-up where Tangerine Dream really hit its stride. Tangerine Dream signed to the Virgin Records in 1973 and released Phaedra, a psychedelic soundscape that introduced many elements of their classic sound, and was also a hit.
The Pink Years
Edgar Froese was born on June 6, 1944, in Tilsit, Russia. He learned to play the piano in the early years of his childhood. He studied drawing and painting at the Berlin Academy of Arts for four years and in 1962, created his first music group there, in which he played guitar.
Froese was fascinated with Salvador Dali’s work, as well as with the works of Picasso and the French surrealists of the 20’s. Writers such as Henry Miller, Walt Whitman, Gustav Meyrink and Rudolf Steiner were an inspiration to him as well. Edgar became acquainted with Salvador Dali personally, and in 1967, accepted an invitation to give several private concerts in Dali’s mansion.
Several artists from the London and Paris subculture met at “Happening Afternoons” in the Spanish port of Lligat. These appearances, which were a mixture of music, literature and painting, might be called an early form of multimedia presentation. In July 1967, Edgar composed the music for the inauguration of Dali’s Christ statue, a sculpture made of rain barrels, bicycles and metal.
Froese was a fan of Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Cream and some of the early US West Coast Bands. He formed Tangerine Dream in September of 1967. One of first official line-ups was Volker Hombach (saxophone, flute, and violin), Lanse Hapshash (drums), Kurt Herkenberg (bass) and Edgar Froese (guitar). The singer Charlie Prince was also in the band for a short period.
The first concert of “Underground Music”, as it was called at the time (Froese), was given by Tangerine Dream in January 1968 in the refectory of the Technical University of Berlin. A second concert took place in the Cream Cheese club in Dusseldorf, which the Rheinische Post reviewed stating the following: “The exotically-named Tangerine Dream played modern pop music, called “Psychedelic Rock’”.
In September 1969, Tangerine Dream appeared in the International Essener Sonntag Festival in the Grugahalle with Frank Zappa, The Fugs, and other American Bands with a highly alternative musical background.
At the end of 1969 Edgar met Klaus Schulze, who played drums at the time with the band Psy Free. Klaus wanted to explore experimental music with his drums. Edgar and Klaus looked for another musician and found Conrad Schnitzler, a student of the artist Joseph Beuys.
With this line-up, some music developed during a session in a private studio which came out in the year 1970 under the title Electronic Meditation. According to Froese, the material was not originally intended for release. For some reason, the session tape found its way to the desk of Peter Meisel, who was located in Berlin. The band was amazed when they were offered a recording contract! The record was then released with some additional post recording as Edgar chose to add some guitar and organ parts.
In 1970, Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler split from Froese. Schulze went to Ash Ra Temple (with Manuel Goettsching and Hartmut Enke) and began a solo career in 1971. Schnitzler formed the bands Eruption and Cluster.
Christopher Franke, with whom Froese had become acquainted, came to Tangerine Dream from Agitation Free at the age of 17. Franke, who was born on April 6, 1953, in Berlin, played the drums when he joined the band. Franke was influenced by composers such as John Cage, Xenakis and many others. The new Trio was completed by the organist Steve Schroyder.
Froese, Franke and Schroyder recorded the LP Alpha Centauri in 1971, the title of which was taken from a single star in the Alpha Centauri system, which is approximately 4.3 light-years away from Earth (and is incidentally the closest star to the sun). Apart from the three regular musicians, the following individuals also made contributions: Udo Dennebourg on flute and Roland Paulyck (their road manager at that time) on synthesizer. In contrast to the debut LP (on which only three short and two long tracks appeared, two of which are only barely longer than 10 minutes), with Alpha Centauri the group started to release longer titles. The B-side consisted of the 22 minute title track only.
The music on Alpha Centauri resulted from listening to various works by the avant-garde composer Gyoergy Ligeti. It was at this time that the group’s music was described as “cosmic.” The record company used the cliché “cosmic music” from then on to describe the music of other groups on the label.
Steve Schroyder left the group in 1971 and was replaced by Peter Baumann (born on January 29, 1953), who began his musical career in 1968 as an organist with the band Burning Touch. With this addition, the first stable line-up was formed.
It would continue to exist for approximately six years. Edgar has said that Tangerine Dream probably developed some of their strongest projects within these years. At the time, Edgar worked with Baumann more than he did with Franke. In June 1971, the jazz pianist Friedrich Gulda invited Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd to the Ossiach World Music Festival in Austria. Here they performed the “Oscillator Planet Concert.” In the same year, Tangerine Dream wrote their first soundtrack music for the WDR television production Vampira.
Edgar was convinced that, as long as they only used normal instruments, no real steps forward into something completely different could be made. One day he asked the other members to sell all of their normal gear and traditional equipment so as not to be tempted to use it further. After that shock, the group started from scratch with small devices like, for example, a sine-wave generator and they began to develop a new sound. They sought to explore music and sound and used these electronic devices, customising them to create a new vibe.
This music was not composed, but was experimental and improvised. There was, however, no foreseeable future with this music. The group defined itself as the “best paid practising band in the world.” At concerts, spectators watched them practice and experiment! While on the first two albums Tangerine Dream used conventional instruments and electronic effects, they were now using a synthesizer purchased a year earlier, which appeared intensively for the first time on the 1972 double LP Zeit.
In addition to Edgar, Christopher and Peter Florian Fricke (of the band Popol Vuh) on synthesizer, Steve Schroyder participated on the organ in addition to four guest musicians playing cello. The longer tracks which characterized Alpha Centauri continued on Zeit. The double LP consisted of a largo in four movements. On each side of the LP there was a track between 18 and 20 minutes in length. The German newspaper Die Zeit reviewed the record at that time as “meaningless endless cosmic patterns,” while the fans voted Zeit as the “long playing recording of the year” in the pop poll of the magazine Sounds.
In October 1972, Tangerine Dream played the shortest concert of their career. It lasted only 15 minutes. Froese, Franke, Baumann were hired to perform as the opening act for a conventional Rock group in Bayreuth (known for its Richard Wagner festivals). They had just begun experimenting with “self-built electronic toys,” instead of playing with their normal instruments – guitar, bass, and drums. Shortly after they began their performance, cans of juice, apples and other things were hurled onto the stage. After approximately 15 minutes, the noise from the audience was louder than Tangerine Dream’s music. The group was forced to leave the stage. The promoter was unwilling to pay them even for the gas for the trip from Berlin and called the police.
In contrast, another concert performed with Ashra Tempel and Klaus Schulze, which took place on February 15, 1973, in the Theatre Parisien l’Ouest in Paris, represented a high point in the group’s history. Their success was tremendous. 500 visitors had to be sent home as the show was completely sold out.
Due to the overcrowded hall, the fire brigade tried to stop the Tangerine Dream concert which began the event, according to Sounds, “with a fantastic-sounding picture world, with sounds that flow along gently, interspersed here and there with atmospheric disturbances such as simulated thunderstorm and rain.” They decided to continue the festival nevertheless – until one idiot from the audience threw a large plastic bag filled with marmalade onto Edgar’s equipment. He hit his mark perfectly and a large part of the equipment was destroyed by the marmalade which oozed over knobs, faders and keys.
The group’s 4th LP Atem, recorded as a trio, was released in 1973. While the German press did not react favourably to this record, wider acceptance was found in Britain. This was due, above all, to English DJ John Peel (a living legend at that time in the radio world), who made the album Record of the Year on his BBC playlist. This caught the attention of Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records. Due to differences with their Berlin based label which had to be settled in court, and due to the fact that they received more attention abroad than in Germany, they signed a recording contract with Virgin in December 1973.
The Virgin Years
In 1996, Rolling Stone wrote: “Mick Jagger had to sell a devilish thing which brought him no satisfaction: a Moog Synthesizer.”
“Peter Meisel, whom we took to court, bought this monster from the Stones’ management at the Midem in Cannes,” said Edgar Froese, “a heap of cables and scrap iron. No one knew how to use the thing. When the first sounds emerged, we went crazy.”
Meisel, who knew about the interest TD had in electronics, asked us: “Can we produce hits with this thing?” and we said: “No, you better sell it to us.
Thus we got hold of our first Moog, which we paid for with the advance we got from Branson for the recording of the first TD Virgin release.”
“When we bought this first synth, we first of all had to learn how to decode the technical terms, there was no instruction manual, nothing at all,” said Froese.
The first release on the Virgin label was Baumann in 1974. The LP title was taken from Greek mythology. At the time, Rolling Stone stated: “It is an amazing record with the most effective results with the synthesizer and Mellotron today – it could become the most unusual record of the year.”
With this record Tangerine Dream broke away completely from structures reminiscent of Pink Floyd. The sound patterns built themselves up slowly and blended into one another. Their music let the thoughts of the listeners drift away, which was perhaps only possible at the time as a result of the popular drug culture.
The first concert in an English speaking country took place on June 6, 1974, at London’s Victoria Palace. Music Week compared their music to “a constantly flowing river, which meanders here and there around gentle curves.” In the middle of the year, Edgar Froese’s first Solo LP, Aqua, appeared on the German rock label Brain. It was recorded using the “Artificial Head System.”
A three-week tour followed in Great Britain in the autumn of 1974 on which their music was visually supported for the first time by what was termed a “video synthesizer.” The distinguishing feature of their concerts at the time was that they mainly consisted of improvisations. They had set themselves the standard to never play the same piece twice.
In December 1974 they performed at the Reims Cathedral. Both the music and the cathedral, which offered a suitable backdrop to the flowing, floating sequences with its Gothic architecture, made this concert an incomparable event. Tangerine Dream appeared in churches thereafter several times, without identifying themselves with the conservative church structures.
Just before a tour which took the band to Australia and New Zealand in the spring of 1975 and brought along with it their first Gold record, Michael Hoenig (born January 4, 1952) replaced Peter Baumann. Baumann had left the band in January 1975 abruptly for a car trip to Asia. According to Froese, Baumann didn’t inform anyone about his trip and it took two weeks to find out if he was dead or alive
Hoenig was already known to the band as he was a pupil of the Berlin avant-garde composer Thomas Kessler. At the end of 1971, Hoenig, who had studied sociology, journalism and theatrical science, became a member of the progressive Berlin rock band Agitation Free, in which Franke had already played.
After finishing the tour and following a concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall in front of 6000 people on April 2, 1975, Baumann suddenly showed up in the dressing room apologizing for the unexpected journey. After a long conversation, Baumann was back in again.
According to the group, the mid-70’s was Tangerine Dream’s most creative time. One reason was the stable line-up that managed to play together as a group over a long period of time, not to mention the group’s increasing skill in using their instruments.
In 1975 the album Rubycon was released, again with the line-up Froese, Franke and Baumann. The critics’ reactions were once again controversial. While some labelled Rubycon as being unmelodic, others recognized “so far undiscovered worlds.”
Edgar’s second solo work Epsilon in Malaysian Pale developed from the influence of a trip to Koala Lumpur. The record also appeared in 1975.
Several appearances were particularly noteworthy, namely their performance in front of 14,000 people at the Orange Festival ’75 in a Roman amphitheatre, their concert at the Fête de l’Humanité in France in front of 30,000 listeners as well as one in England in York Minster (during their 16-venue British tour in October 1975). According to Melody Maker the show in York Minster ranked among “the concert highlights of the year 1975.” In the same year they played at the German museum in Munich. This concert received more attention from the German critics. The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung ranked them among the “trendsetters of future music.” Music Express wrote about their concerts as well:
“For their concerts Tangerine Dream have found an effective, mythic form. The three musicians came into the darkened hall or church, stayed silent on the stage, sat down behind several square metres of large synthesizer banks decorated with rows of control lights, pushed a few switches, turned a few knobs and started releasing their strange sounds. At the end they switched back the knobs, pushed the switches in the opposite direction and left the stage.”
Live TD music could be heard for the first time on the album Ricochet at the end of 1975. On the record are the tracks Ricochet Part One and Ricochet Part Two recorded during the 1975 tour in France and England. The year 1976 began again with concerts in France and the group’s first appearances in Spain. They also toured Britain again in the summer. Edgar Froese released his third solo LP under the title Macula Transfer. The titles of the individual pieces seemed quite strange as they were named after flight numbers such as Quantas 611 or OS 452.
The next LP from Tangerine Dream, Stratosfear, appeared in 1976. The tracks were becoming shorter again and didn’t occupy a whole LP side, but had a maximum length of not more than 11 minutes. The first signs that Tangerine Dream was becoming more rhythmic were to be found in the title track of this album.
On the subsequent European tour from October 20 to December 1, 1976, the group presented their latest work with 31 live concerts in Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland and England. During these concerts they offered their audience only a small amount of visual entertainment. The group members sat almost immobile behind their large banks of synthesizers.
“A listener doesn’t necessarily have to identify with the one who makes the music,” said Froese. “The music itself should find resonance within each person and the listeners can give free rein to their own thoughts.”
On March 29, 1977, TD began their first USA tour by giving 16 concerts.
In 1977 Tangerine Dream attracted the attention of American director William Friedkin, who had already become world-famous with films such as The Exorcist and The French Connection. The band was hired to compose the soundtrack for his remake of the classic film Wages of Fear now entitled Sorcerer, in which a small group of men have to transport highly explosive material by truck through difficult jungle conditions.
Their first Hollywood production was also the most unusual. Tangerine Dream received the script to Sorcerer directly from America and composed the music before the first scene was even filmed. Six weeks after receipt of the script they met Friedkin in a Parisian hotel. They acquired two loudspeakers and a tape recorder and played Friedkin the demo compositions. He was enthusiastic and later filmed some scenes with the already recorded music in the background, something unusual for the film industry. Tangerine Dream travelled to the world premiere on July 24, 1977 in Hollywood.
With their soundtrack they reached the Top 20 of the British Charts again. After a USA tour in August 1977 Tangerine Dream released the double LP Encore. This album shows that the group never play a piece twice, as the recordings have nothing in common with albums like Stratosfear or Sorcerer. The Cash Box called the record “a classic in its own genre.” The titles Coldwater Canyon and Cherokee Lane are taken from road names in California, where Tangerine Dream lived for a while in 1977 while in Hollywood Hills.
At the end of 1977, a further split in the band’s history took place. Peter Baumann left the group after approximately six and a half years. He dedicated himself from then on to his own solo projects. He commentated on his departure by saying: “On the one hand, it is almost impossible that each group member develops in the same way for six years. On the other hand, everyone is an egomaniac to the extent that he would like to carry out his own ideas.”
Peter’s first solo album appeared in 1977 under the title Romance ’76, which was well received by critics. He created his own Paragon Studios in Berlin, in which he produced records by Cluster, Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler to name a few. After the release of Trans Harmonic Nights he moved to New York “to start again from the beginning.”
In 1980 Peter sold his Berlin studio, moved to the USA, and founded his label Private Music a few years later. But Edgar and Peter’s collaboration wasn’t over: 5 Tangerine Dream albums were released during the late 80’s on Peter’s label. Peter Baumann sold his label Private Music in 1994, which had released albums of numerous other artists besides Tangerine Dream, such as Suzanne Ciani, Yanni and Eddie Jobson. Since then, Peter has no longer been active in the music industry.
The remaining TD members, Froese and Franke, tried an experiment with the next Tangerine Dream project. They recruited the English multi-instrumentalist Steve Joliffe (vocals, flute, piano, synthesizer), who had previously played with the blues/rock band Steamhammer. The Berlin drummer and percussionist Klaus Krieger was accepted into the band as a third member. At first, the quartet seemed confident and sought to create a more varied style of music.
From their cooperative efforts emerged the album Cyclone in 1978, which was unusual compared to Tangerine Dream’s previous style. The attempt to create a new surrounding for TD’s flowing synthesizer sounds was described by Edgar years later as “a failed experiment.”
The audience for the extended tour in February/March of 1978 gave mixed feedback due to the unusual instrumentation and use of vocals. Steve left the group to pursue a solo career. In 1978, Edgar’s fourth solo album Ages was released.
In 1979, as a duo once again, the outstanding album Force Majeure was released. With this LP the group met with a great deal of international acceptance. The name Klaus Krieger appears on the cover even though he participated as a session musician.
Froese and Franke wanted to work with the successful three-keyboard line-up once again. They began looking for someone with a different musical background than theirs, and someone who was a trained pianist. They found what they were looking for in the organist Johannes Schmoelling, born in 1950.
Johannes had started piano lessons at the age of eight and began to play the church organ at the age of twelve. After finishing the Abitur school examination in 1972, he began studies towards a Master’s Degree in Sound Engineering at the University of the Arts in Berlin. After completing his studies in 1978, he began to working with electronics. During his first job as a theatre sound technician at the Schaubühne in Berlin, he learned to work with sounds, noises, environments and light. In the 70’s Johannes played in a few Berlin music groups. A sound engineer recommended him to Edgar, who showed up at the theatre where Johannes worked doing the sound mixing for Robert Wilson’s Play Death, Destruction and Detroit. Edgar, who was already a fan of Wilson’s work, was amazed by Johannes’ sound set-up and asked him for a meeting. Johannes, who had not heard of Tangerine Dream, nevertheless accepted Edgar’s offer to join the band.
With the new trio (Froese, Franke and Schmoelling), a new line-up was once again formed. On January 31, 1980, Tangerine Dream appeared in East Germany as one of the first German “rock bands.” For a long time however, their appearance in the Palast der Republik, broadcast by East German radio, was only available in the West as an import LP under the title Quichotte or as the bootleg Staatsgrenze West. It was Virgin who brought this album out officially in 1986 as Pergamon.
The East German magazine Melodie & Rhythmus described the music as “endlessly tiring, improvised compositional sketches.”
The first studio work appeared in 1980 under the title Tangram. The album did not receive good reviews. The magazine New Musical Express spoke of “synthesizer junk” and Musik Express was of the opinion that “the repetitive sound patterns began to bore the audience.” It became one of TD’s best selling records.
In 1994, Johannes described the group’s current work in an interview with the magazine Planet E as follows: “In the first few years it was absolute teamwork. We composed and worked on Tangram as a trio. I believe the secret to why we made quite good stuff for six or seven years was perhaps exactly that, that we complemented each other, because everyone had his own area but nevertheless it fit well together. We always had a creative exchange within Tangerine Dream and in this way everyone learned from each other. One could say that our music was a constructional compromise.”
The new addition Schmoelling was scrutinized closely by the audience during the live concerts on their extensive European tour from October 11 to November 15, 1980, with 26 appearances altogether, 5 of which were in Germany. He was well received by the spectators due to the fact that he did not sit behind huge banks of instruments, but rather, was positioned on the stage as a piano player. At that time, during live concerts Tangerine Dream operated with pre-programmed sequences and harmonic schemes. There were also tracks in which the pre-programmed sequence stopped and where the musicians had agreed to play improvisational sound collages for several minutes. There was still room for improvisation during live concerts. At the end of 1980 Virgin released a box set of TD’s work entitled 70 – 80. The German magazine Musik Express praised it, saying that it was “proof of ten years of continuously flowing creativity by the group.”
At the beginning of 1981 TD’s second soundtrack album was released for the film Thief with Michael Mann as director and James Caan in the leading role. The work on the soundtrack was done in a unique way. TD, had been involved in the pre-production of the film, and at this point, each band member picked out the scenes which he liked best then compiled the music sequences for the film independently in his own studio. When the raw cuts were already finished, business negotiations began. Following this, they received a tape with music and dialogue tracks. They laid out a concept and determined where text was required, where accompanying music should be, and where a song should be used. After about two or three weeks, the film director and the music editor flew in to see the results.
“Probably the best album they have ever made” (according to Melody Maker) appeared in autumn of 1981 under the title Exit. On this album are six shorter pieces with track lengths of no more than 9 minutes.
From January 20 to February 12, 1981 Tangerine Dream completed a European tour with 17 concerts, of which nine took place in Germany. In addition to this, they went on a British tour from October 15 to 29, 1981, on which they performed 17 concerts. However, the high-point of the year was particularly the open air concert on August 29, 1981, which they gave before approximately 70,000 spectators in front of the Reichstag in Berlin. On December 9, 1981, they took part in the “Rock-Klassik-Nacht” in the Munich Crown Circus together with the Munich Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eberhard Schoener.
At the beginning of 1982 Tangerine Dream toured Australia. The title song to the German crime series Tatort, Das Mädchen auf der Treppe (“The Girl on the Stairs”), which came out as a single in the same year, represented their biggest commercial success to date.
“This hit single success in the summer of ’82 was an unexpected accident, no reason for a radical change of style,” said Edgar Froese. “We finished this television single in three hours. It does not have anything to do with our future musical ambitions.”
The album White Eagle appeared in 1982. The first side of this LP contains by the 20 minute track Mojave Plan, which portrays a drive through the Mojave Desert. While the press in Europe judged the work rather negatively as “a vacuum” (New Musical Express), on the other side of the Atlantic critics raved and described it as “music which is mentally, sensually and emotionally demanding” (Down Beat).
In this year Edgar Froese wrote the soundtrack to the Wolf Gremm film Kamikaze 1989 and released it under his own name on Virgin. The German film, in which German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder could be seen in the leading role for the first time, was taken from the novel Murder on the 31st Floor by the Swedish writer Per Wahlö.
The concerts which Tangerine Dream gave during their European tour in Germany would be the last ones for the next 14 years in which German fans could see them in their own country (with the exception of a few individual appearances that were not part of a tour). During this tour, Tangerine Dream played in London’s Dominion Theatre on November 6, 1982. This appearance was recorded and appeared in 1983 as the LP Logos Live.
A further solo effort by Edgar was released in 1983. The record Pinnacles was described by the magazine Musik Szene as “a work which doesn’t distinguish itself by loudness, but rather by the intensity of the moods and atmospheres.”
The next record Tangerine Dream would release was the album Hyperborea. On June 11, 1983, Tangerine Dream gave a 35 minute performance as part of the “Fassbinder Hommage” in memory of the innovative director Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Frankfurt’s Alte Oper.
Between June 23 and 28, 1983, TD gave concerts in four Japanese cities. They composed the title tune for another episode of Tatort. The episode was called Miriam and the music was released as a single under the title Daydream. The soundtrack to the science fiction film Wavelength, directed by Mike Gray, appeared in the year 1983. The record contains 16 tracks with a total length of barely 39 minutes. Another film for which TD composed the score was The Keep. The track Gloria is a Tangerine Dream re-recording of an approximately 250 year old composition by Thomas Tallis who was banished by the church authorities, accused of heresy. An official soundtrack has never been released due to disagreements between the film’s producer and Virgin Records.
The Blue Years
In the winter of 1983 Tangerine Dream started a tour which took them once again to the former GDR and to Poland. The Polish tour will probably always be remembered by all those that were involved in it as an adventurous “jungle expedition.” Apart from power outages and truck breakdowns, Tangerine Dream also had to combat icy temperatures. In the Warsaw Ice Stadium where the concerts took place, it was -5° Celsius.
Edgar, Christopher, and Johannes played the concert in woollen gloves with the fingertips cut-off in order to feel the keys. The electronic instruments often failed in the cold weather and did not always provide the desired results. The roadies ran around with cans filled with hot water so the musicians could briefly warm up their hands. The concert was interrupted 5 times by power outages in the stadium. A 2 metre thick layer of snow covered the glass roof which threatened to collapse.
The concert, which took place on December 10, 1983, in Warsaw, was released as double LP in 1984 with the title Poland. This album represented Tangerine Dream’s first production on the Jive Electro label, to which they switched when their Virgin contract expired.
Tangerine Dream then reduced the number of live appearances and increased their activity in the area of film music. In 1983, the soundtrack to the teenage comedy Risky Business (directed by Paul Brickman) appeared. On this soundtrack, five Tangerine Dream tracks appear with contributions from Phil Collins, Journey, Prince, Jeff Beck, Bob Seger and Muddy Waters.
Tangerine Dream composed the music for another soundtrack which appeared in 1984 for the Stephen King film Firestarter. Tangerine Dream also composed the music for the film Flashpoint with Kris Kristofferson and Treat Williams. The record appeared in 1984 both as a normal vinyl record and also as a picture disc. The tracks on the record are played by Tangerine Dream with the exception of the title track Flashpoint, sung by a group called The Gems.
Two more soundtracks appeared in 1985. The first was for Bobby Roth’s film Heartbreakers featuring Peter Coyote and Nick Mancuso and the second was for the fantasy film Legend directed by Ridley Scott (Bladerunner, Alien) and in which Tom Cruise played the lead role. Unavailable for a long time, the CD finally came out in 1995.
Originally, the score by the well-known composer Jerry Goldsmith was supposed to be used in the film. However, the producers found that it was not modern enough and thus approached Tangerine Dream. Edgar flew to London and watched the film version with the music by Jerry Goldsmith. In an interview, Froese said commented on the music: “I was absolutely inspired by the soundtrack. The fact that the music of someone whose work we like very much, someone we look up to and respect, should be replaced with something else which is supposed to top his music, was a very heavy responsibility. That was a very hard and instructive experience.”
Since teenagers were the target audience of the film, those in charge wanted “hip” music. Ridley Scott, however, was not of the same opinion. He had higher expectations for the film and wanted to see his expectations fulfilled. Also, due to opposing views between the producer and director, Legend would become one of the most time-consuming film works that Tangerine Dream would contribute to. They worked on the music for almost 6 weeks in the studio.
Next, Tangerine Dream released the album Le Parc on which they dedicated the individual tracks to the most beautiful parks in the world. Accordingly, the nine titles also carry the names of these parks, among them the Tiergarten in Berlin, New York’s Central Park and Hyde Park in London. The track titled Le Parc subtitled L.A. Streethawk served as the theme song for the American action series Streethawk and was also released as a single under this title. On the record’s last track, Yellowstone Park, background vocals can be heard. They were contributed by Clare Torry, who had already recorded the vocals for The Great Gig in The Sky from the legendary album from 1973, Dark Side of The Moon by Pink Floyd.
October 1985 brought about a major change in Tangerine Dream. Due to the huge amount of work, Johannes Schmoelling decided to take a break and left the group. After his departure, he dedicated himself to his own projects. His first much acclaimed solo album appeared at the end of 1986 and beginning of 1987 on the German label Erdenklang with the title Wuivend Riet. The title is Dutch and means “wind-blown reeds.”
On April 25, 1987, in the Cologne College of Music, Johannes Schmoelling gave his first and last live concert in his post-Tangerine Dream era.
Tangerine Dream’s new member was Paul Haslinger from Austria. He had studied classical music among other things at academies in Salzburg and Vienna. For the 1986 tour, Tangerine Dream had Paul support them on stage. Since his participation worked well during the live concerts, they decided to keep him as a permanent member in the band. In March 1986 they toured Europe where they gave 21 concerts.
The LP Underwater Sunlight was released as the first work of the newly-formed trio in 1986. The very melodic music along with its warm sounds makes this record one of the most beautiful Tangerine Dream has produced. According to press reviews, the music sounds “as if you are floating in clear, warm waters to discover completely new dimensions of light and space.”
Between May 30 and June 29, 1986, Tangerine Dream toured North America again where they gave 25 performances. Whereas earlier concerts consisted of pure improvisation and unreleased material, they now played previously released music, however, in a modified form. The tracks were selected in such a way so as to run smoothly into one another or “bridges” were put between the tracks which could lead to compositions of over an hour of continuous music.
In 1987, a large number of soundtrack albums by Tangerine Dream appeared, for example, the score to the film Three O’clock High. For the soundtrack to Andrei Konchalovsky’s family epic Shy People, as before with Firestarter, the band worked with an orchestral group. On the CD can be found (among other things) three tracks sung by Jaquie Virgil and Diamond Ross.
With the production Tyger, Tangerine Dream dared to experiment once again. As with the LP Cyclone ten years before, they included the use of vocals. The American soul singer Jocelyn B. Smith took over the vocal parts on some of the tracks. The song lyrics came from the English poet and painter William Blake (1757-1827).
Tangerine Dream also composed the film music to another strange picture, Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark.
“Actually, she was trying to avoid making a typical film and so, didn’t want the music to sound like that of a typical horror movie,” said Froese. “She wanted to have something contradictory, which in addition, didn’t necessarily have to sound electronic. People have the wrong image of what we do at this point. They always think “there are 120 computers on the wall and all we have to do is flick switches back and forth.” In reality that is only one third of the whole production process. The rest is just normal acoustic equipment.”
On the record, the track Caleb’s Blues can be found, a song that was very unusual for Tangerine Dream. Kathryn Bigelow originally thought of including a blues track for the opening sequence, but wasn’t quite sure about it. She feared it could be regarded as “kitsch.” But according to Edgar, anything else would just not work. Near Dark, meanwhile, is part of the Cinema Arts Collection at the NY Museum of Modern Art.
Also in 1987, a video film with breath-taking nature scenes was released, for which Tangerine Dream produced the soundtrack. Under the title Canyon Dreams, both a video and a CD appeared on the American label Miramar. So far unseen aerial pictures which were taken from an aircraft during a flight over and through the Grand Canyon (during the flight the camera moves from horizontal to vertical points of view – directly onto the ground of the Canyon), in connection with the music, made this video an audio-visual feast. On this CD, Jerome Froese’s name appeared for the first time as a composer with the track Colorado Dawn. The music brought the group their first Grammy nomination.
The material recorded by Tangerine Dream during their concerts in 1986/1987, appeared in 1988 on the live album Livemiles, which was the last production for the Jive Electro label. Part one, which is well over 30 minutes long, was recorded during a concert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and part two (more than 27 minutes long) was recorded at an open air festival for the 750th anniversary of the city of Berlin. The appearance at Platz der Republik (Republic Square) in West Berlin, attended by 40.000 fans, probably remains, for many fans, one of the most outstanding events that Tangerine Dream would contribute to in the eighties. This performance was also the last appearance of Christopher Franke.
The bootleg version of LiveMiles is not a recording of the original concert in Berlin. For legal reasons, Tangerine Dream could not release the whole concert, but had to cut out certain parts. As Edgar explained in a 1989 interview: “Unreleased material was not the only thing played during the live concerts. As usual, a number official releases were also played and even music that had sometimes been locked away in the safes belonging to film production companies. For the release of LiveMiles, we had to use certain sequences and sections which were legally available to us.”
Franke, Edgar’s musical co-worker for many years, left Tangerine Dream the day after the concert in Berlin, on August, 2 1987. Feeling overworked, he separated from Tangerine Dream in 1987, in an effort to reclaim his non-existent private life and to regain new sense of musical ingenuity. He was completely burned out due to 12 – 15 hour days and had to force himself to continue making music. Franke went to Spain and took a well-earned break from everything.
A few weeks holiday wasn’t enough for me. After three weeks, I had only physically relaxed to a certain extent. Psychologically, I needed much longer. It was clear to me that this creative break had to last at least a year. I planned to take it during the lengthy period which one normally needs in order to obtain a work permit in America. I began planning my solo career.”
The Melrose Years
The production Optical Race, which first appeared in September 1988 in the USA, and later in January 1989 in Germany, was composed and performed by Froese and Haslinger. Mothers of Rain, Cat Scan, The Midnight Trail or Ghazal on this CD moved in a different direction than the recordings which came out of the seventies.
On the album, Ralph Wadephul, tour member in 1988 in the USA, can be heard for the first time. The track Sun Gate was composed by Ralph, Edgar and Paul. The CD was the first production out of a total of four (plus a best of album), which appeared on Peter Baumann’s label Private Music.
The title of the CD is again a play on words from Tangerine Dream. Race means not only “to run,” but can also be translated as nationality or ethnic group. According to Froese, the term “Optical Race” defines the end of the 80’s and also the generation of Western civilization.
On the group’s 26-concert North American tour, which Tangerine Dream performed in August and September 1988, they were accompanied by Ralph Wadephul. Ralph was already a sound engineer in Berlin. He played in various bands and appeared live in clubs. The marriage between Tangerine Dream and Wadephul did not last for long, however. Much later, in 2006, Edgar released some material written by the two of them on that US tour, released under the title Blue Dawn.
In Vienna, Edgar and Paul wrote the music to the film Miracle Mile, which portrays the night before a potential nuclear disaster in the USA. The CD of the same name appeared in 1989. In the same year the soundtrack for the film Destination Berlin was also released. As the name suggests, the film is about the city of Berlin. The music was filmed mostly in panoramic sound for the Imagine 360 video system set up for permanent public use in Berlin.
The track Alexander Square, to be found on this album, also appeared as a single. The next composition was called Lily on The Beach. In addition to Edgar and Paul, Hubert Waldner on saxophone and flute and Jerome Froese participated for the first time as guest musicians on this production. Jerome played lead guitar on the track Radio City. After the music of the album was already completed, Edgar and Paul felt that a certain touch was missing from their production. They wanted to add real drums or wind instruments. Paul suggested turning to his old friend Hubert Waldner. Edgar, who had already been a fan of saxophone for years, agreed to the suggestion.
The year 1990 began with the release of the soundtrack to the sports film Dead Solid Perfect (a film about golf) by Bobby Roth, who also directed the film Heartbreakers. Randy Quaid played the lead role. The soundtrack consisted of 22 very short tracks.
Those soundtrack recordings authorized by Tangerine Dream were partly re-recorded to obtain listenable tracks from the musical extracts. TD were quite sceptical about those record labels that released their music straight from the master tapes without further post production. In an interview in 1994, Edgar said: “Soundtracks are composed for a film or for a television programme and do not necessarily belong on a record for specific reasons. This is mostly ‘illustration’ music with sequences of 20 seconds, 1 minute 30, 1 minute 10 etc. Who would pay his good money to listen to short sound extracts? We think it’s idiotic. People release the music behind our backs in breach of copyright laws in a way which we just can’t accept. We’re in it for the music and the cheque – but the music should come first. As a result, last year we had to cope more with the prevention of such products, than with potential releases.”
At the beginning of 1990, Edgar Froese was looking for a saxophone and flute player as he wanted to introduce new things into the music. Friends in Vienna recommended Linda Spa. During the only German concert on February 20, 1990, in the Berlin Werner-Seelenbinder-Halle, she appeared for the first time beside the saxophonist Hubert Waldner in front of approximately 6,000 spectators. Linda accompanied the band in numerous future concerts and tours, and was involved in seven studio and live recordings.
This concert in the Werner-Seelenbinder-Halle was also the first for Jerome with Tangerine Dream. At first, the plan was that he only play a few guitar parts. But during the rehearsals, some keyboard parts were added. At the time, there was no plan for Jerome Froese to join TD. Edgar wanted to leave the direction of his son’s life up to him. But shortly after that performance, TD became a trio once again.
Jerome Froese at first learned to play drums (he got his first drum set at the age of 17), changed to guitar and finally began playing keyboard. The first CD from this formation was Melrose.
Jerome brought some rougher, more aggressive tones into the band’s music which did not meet with all the fans’ approval. Although his influence could not yet be heard very clearly on this record, it would become recognizable on the following albums Rockoon and Tyranny of Beauty.
In an interview in 1997, Edgar Froese commented on his personal and professional relationship with his son: “One must draw a clear line between the biological and purely musical, compositional things. From my point of view, I did not bring my son into the group to make it a family affair. He is of great importance to me, of course, and we did everything to give him a good start in life. He can, of course, do what he thinks is best for his life. There was no pressure from my part to ask him to join TD only because he is my son or because it may have been a good marketing strategy for us to present ourselves as a ‘family business.’ He would have been completely useless in Tangerine Dream if he hadn’t convinced me musically and shown good results in the first year.”
From October 25 to November 4, 1990, Tangerine Dream went on tour in Britain, which took them to eleven cities altogether. At the end of 1990, Paul Haslinger left the group and moved to Los Angeles to begin writing scores for TV shows and movies. After leaving TD, Paul Haslinger and Peter Baumann worked together on a project called “The Blue Room.” The material was never released as Baumann quit the music industry.
The soundtrack to the film The Park Is Mine, released in 1985 with Tommy Lee Jones in the starring role (On the run, Volcano), appeared in 1991. However, the music to this film had already been composed by Tangerine Dream in 1984, and was based on parts of the Poland tour found on the album Poland.
Another soundtrack appeared in 1991 for the film version one of Gunther Wallraff’s books entitled The Man Inside or L’Affaire Wallraff. Directed by Bobby Roth, Peter Coyote and Juergen Prochnow played the lead roles.
German television asked Tangerine Dream to write music for the Tatort crime series. The episode was called Bis zum Hals im Dreck (“Up to your neck in dirt”). The title track is sung by Chi Coltrane and there is also an instrumental version. Saxophonist Linda Spa appears on CD for the first time playing on the instrumental version. The third title on the single is called One Night in Medina.
In 1991, the fairy tale CD Rumpelstiltskin appeared, for which Tangerine Dream wrote the music. Kathleen Turner tells the story of Rumpelstiltskin, which is accompanied by Tangerine Dream’s music. The approximately 22 minute narration forms track one of the CD which is only available as an import. Seven instrumental tracks by Tangerine Dream then follow, which served as background music for the story.
In 1992, to mark the end of the collaborative effort between Peter Baumann’s label and Tangerine Dream the best of CD The Private Music of Tangerine Dream was released. In addition to ten tracks from the albums Optical Race, Miracle Mile, Lily on The Beach and Melrose released on the label, the unreleased tracks Beaver Town and Roaring of The Bliss appear on this CD.
The TDI Years
The next CD was called Rockoon, on which Jerome’s influences can be heard. The tracks became harder and faster. Also, the electric guitar is played more aggressively.
Edgar defines their music as “a kind of ‘city sound,’ electronics including guitar and saxophone parts.”
Guest musicians were Zlatko Perica (lead guitar), Richi Wester (saxophone) as well as Enrico Fernandez (macubaha). Linda Spa was not involved in the recording sessions since she was not in Europe at the time. Jayney Klimek added background vocals to the instrumental tracks.
“No lyrics can be heard on the acoustic sections, but there is vocal experimentation here and there,” said Froese. “We also integrated other musical elements, for example sounds from the South Pacific, but in a very surrealistic way. For us it was great fun.”
The album was nominated for a Grammy in 1992 in the category “best new age album.” The title track appeared as a special edition single.
The label Silva Screen released the soundtrack to the American television film Deadly Care, first shown in March 1987.
In 1993, another live album appeared by Tangerine Dream named 220 Volt Live, which was taken from the North American tour in ’92 during performances in Seattle, New York and Washington. Edgar and Jerome appeared on stage with supporting musicians Zlatko Perica (guitar) and Linda Spa (saxophone and keyboard). Linda and Zlatko were not permanent members, but as Edgar once said, “associated” members of Tangerine Dream. One reason for this was that Linda lived in Vienna and Zlatko in Zurich. They were integrated into the group on a project-related basis.
With this album they received a Grammy nomination for the third time. On the album is a remake of the Jimi Hendrix track Purple Haze, which they played on the tour as an encore. The title was not purely a tribute to Hendrix however.
“What really interested me was what was behind the musician and person Jimi Hendrix, who, for me, was always a sad person and still is,” said Froese. “Because what he achieved musically goes beyond the boundaries of simple stardom. We also chose the piece Purple Haze because it suited this type of instrumental interpretation well.”
The single Dreamtime was taken from the album. It contains the title track in a sung and instrumental version. The singer Jayney Klimek took over the vocals with Dreamtime. The band had a hit in 1986 with the track Holiday. The endeavour with Jayney Klimek can be traced back to an Austrian vacation where Tangerine Dream met the singer by accident when concerned with the recording of some music.
From the CD 220 Volt Live, Miramar released the video Three Phase – Past, Present, Future, which was produced by Michael Boydstun. The video, however, did not feature the entire concert. As well as five tracks which were taken from the concert on October 25, 1992, in the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, video clips and older material are on the video as well, such as Phaedra and Logos. The video clips consisted partially of old black & white clips from the 20’s and 30’s as well as private film documentaries, which were filmed on trips and during concerts.
The idea for the video came from the American label Miramar. The production received another Grammy nomination in the category Long Form Video. Froese stated: “The concept of the group is not this video thing, neither the glorification of its members, that isn’t our purpose at all.”
In 1994, the soundtrack to the Stephen Sommer’s film Catch Me If You Can (not related to the recent film of the same name starring Leonardo de Caprio) appeared.
The studio album of the year 1994 was called Turn of the Tides. Jerome’s influence became clearer on this album, on which the guitarist Zlatko Perica and saxophonist Linda Spa were brought in. Track composition and development of musical ideas had already begun during the North American tour of ’92. Edgar adds: “That was actually the longest time we ever spent making a record. With a few short breaks of two or three weeks, we worked on it for nine months, then we did the main work here in Vienna and in Berlin.”
“Without neglecting the cosmic elements they have again dedicated themselves more strongly towards traditional rock music” (Stereo). Turn of the Tides was also nominated for a Grammy in 1994 in the category Best New Age album.
The booklet to this CD contains an extract from the short story The Coachman’s Tales. Edgar, who studied philosophy and arts for five years, is the author of this story. It was not his studies, but rather the fact that he kept asking himself questions for which there were no real answers that lead to the simple philosophical observations presented within the story. He also likes to be ironic and particularly likes those writers who “pretend to say something interesting and who then turn around just to say ‘I didn’t mean it!’” said Froese. “It comes from my deep interest in the original Zen Buddhism and the teachings of the Sufis.”.
Edgar stresses, however, that he is not interested in publishing a book, even if his written short stories would fill lots of paperbacks.
A CD single of Turn of the Tides appeared which contains an unreleased track called Story of the Brave, partly written by Linda Spa, as well as four partial tracks from the album as shortened versions. In 1994, Virgin released a box with five CDs called Tangents 1973 – 1983. On the first four CDs are tracks from the Virgin decade, which Edgar remixed and remastered for this release.
Edgar Froese released the double CD Beyond The Storm in 1995. On it are 13 older tracks that have been remastered, as well as 15 new ones.
In 1995, TD released Tyranny of Beauty. On this CD is a newly recorded 5 minute version of Stratosfear under the title Stratosfear 1995. The album ends with the track Largo, a composition by the German composer George Friedrich Haendel (1685-1759). With this album, Tangerine Dream obtained their fifth Grammy nomination. The CD Tyranny of Beauty is a portrayal of the group’s views of the fashion industry and the hype which surrounds the modelling industry, to which the title of the track Catwalk refers.
The album The Dream Mixes came out in 1995 on the Virgin label. On this CD, it was mainly Jerome who remixed a number of titles such as Turn of the Tides and Tyranny of Beauty as harder, more modern versions. The CD contains four supplementary new tracks in addition to the remixes, and has a duration of 67 minutes. Jerome added: “After this release, we received many offers to remix dance hits or requests from other DJ’s to allow them to remix TD songs, but there was no real interest doing this.”
In addition to the CD, a 60 minute video appeared in 1996 with the title The Video Dream Mixes. It contained nine tracks from the version on the group’s own label, Tangerine Dream International (TDI). Some clips seem like holiday snapshots which look somewhat strange due to the use of different special effects. During the track Changes of the God, computer animations are played which would then be used extensively in their shows on the European tour of ’97.
The soundtrack Zoning was only released in Germany in 1996. A further box set with five CDs entitled The Dream Roots Collection appeared under the label Castle Communications. This time, on CDs 1-4, tracks from the years 1970-1973 and 1983-1987 were re-released as remastered versions. CD #5 again consisted of new material (four tracks lasting between 9 and 15 minutes). The enclosed booklet contains 95 beautiful photos as well as several comments about the band’s history from 1967 (the first band line-up) to 1990. Edgar, who was responsible for all the graphic design for the box, spent about 6 months restoring, remastering and editing the various music tracks.
On their European tour in ’96, a CD single was released which was limited to only 2000 copies. The CD entitled Shepherds Bush contains the tracks Thief Yang and The Tangram Seal, as well as a remake of the old Beatles classic Eleanor Rigby. Tangerine Dream had already been playing remakes of rock and pop classics in their live concerts for a number of years.
The next album, released in 1996, was called Goblins Club. On this record, which also represented Linda’s collaboration with Tangerine Dream, the group worked with the Viennese Boys Choir. The booklet from this CD contains a text by the German writer Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914). A number of the tunes Tangerine Dream have composed over the years were based on works by famous writers. The short story which is printed in the booklet fell into Edgar’s hands by chance, and since he liked the text (which was written with a “sharp tongue”), it became part of the musical background.
Once asked about the huge number of musicians Edgar had worked with in his lengthy career, he responded: “We have worked with people for between 6 months and 6 years. I worked with Christopher Franke for 16 years and this collaboration ended up as a very unpleasant story….But there are always time intervals where one notices that something new has to happen within Tangerine Dream. I often had to get off the large road, leave the motorway, as we used to call it. Sometimes I wanted to get back to my musical roots. We are not primarily a commercial group, many people who always try to label us as being commercial forget this. Sometimes fans will find my attitude in my working relationships with other colleagues hard or even arrogant, but if you do not make decisions at the right time, the future will punish you for your indecision. In some cases, I unfortunately had to go through very painful experiences. But by the end of the day, Tangerine Dream is my brainchild and has been for many decades, and so I feel responsible for the bad and the good days and decisions.”
In 1997, Tangerine Dream went on an extended world tour which took them to Germany for the first time in 14 years. This absence was the result of complications with German organizers. Tangerine Dream appeared in Berlin, Bonn, Hanover, Hamburg, Frankfurt and a number of other cities. Edgar and Jerome were once again accompanied on this tour by Zlatko Perica on guitar. To enrich the acoustics and visual aspects, the group recruited the percussionist Emil Hachfeld, son of a well-known political cartoonist in Germany.
On April 18, 1997, the group’s concert in Frankfurt was broadcast world-wide on the Internet via Real Audio. For visual support, live pictures were broadcast at certain time intervals. The time between the pictures (approximately 5 minutes) was rather long and the selection of the pictures not very particularly striking. Spectators, however, found it to be an interesting show. A great deal of listeners from all over the world took advantage of this opportunity.
The music to the landscape film Oasis, of a duration of approximately 45 minutes, appeared on the album of the same name on the TDI label, as did the video film produced by Camera One. The video portrays (like Canyon Dreams) beautiful landscape scenes for which Tangerine Dream wrote a number musical sequences.
The track Towards The Evening Star from the album Goblins Club was remixed by the well-known Trance band The Orb and released on a CD single. The CD contains the original album track as well as the over 8 minute long Mandarin Cream Mix. In order to produce the remixes, Tangerine Dream provided The Orb with multi-track tapes. This partnership was initiated by the UK based record company with which TD was associated. Edgar and Jerome were, however, disappointed with the result. According to them, the product bared little resemblance to Tangerine Dream’s music. This was one of the reasons for which they left the record company with whom they had worked for some time to set up their own independent label, TDI.
The second set of the world tour of ’97 was released as the Live CD Tornado. The recording was taken from the concert on April 23, 1997 in the Dome Muziki i Tanca in the Polish town of Zabrze.
In 1999, a very unusual CD appeared under the title Ambient Monkeys that contained a 48 minute track consisting of 13 parts. Apart from a number of new TD compositions, parts of songs by George Friedrich Haendel, Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were incorporated into some of the tracks. From beginning to end, the music is accompanied by jungle noises (ape cries, bird voices, the sound of locomotives, etc.). The music was composed as pre-concert background music for the European tour of ’97 and was heard at some of the appearances.
After each of the performances, there was always such a huge demand for a recording that the decision was made to release it officially. Edgar, being a big fan of Baroque music, had already produced a number of recording sessions both alone and together with other musicians from outside the band in order to build a library of classical compositions both for his own purposes and also, to learn how these geniuses had structured their compositions.
On February 1, 1998, with some rare tracks prepared, Jerome Froese was a guest on the Radio Eins programme Electrobeats with the presenter Olaf Zimmermann. During the 3rd hour of this show, alternative and live versions of Warsaw in The Sun, Ride on the Ray and Girl on the Stairs were played. Also, another track was heard for the first time here; a 4 minute extract from a 1990 Japanese NHK-TV film by the name of Mandala, for which Tangerine Dream composed the music. The music has not been released to date.
In 1997, Sony Music signed on Tangerine Dream to put music to an outstanding video: Luminous Visions. The video consists of computer animations created by the famous Japanese computer artist Yoichiro Kawaguchi, who created fascinating and abstract pictures for this film. Tangerine Dream supplied the soundtrack to the animations. The songs were not new, however, except for Midwinter Night, but come from the albums The Dream Mixes and Oasis.
Tangerine Dream wrote the music for a documentary about the Russian Siberian Express. This music appeared on CD under the title Transsiberia.
The CD Valentine Wheels offers another live performance and contained the first set of the ’97 tour which was recorded during the London Shepherd’s Bush Empire concert.
On June 12,1999, the only Tangerine Dream concert of the year took place at the KlangArt Festival in Osnabrueck. Edgar welcomed visitors from the whole world who had travelled to this unique concert. The individual to travel the farthest was a fan from the USA. With this appearance, completely new material was performed live for the first time in years. Under the title Mars Polaris, the NASA Mars Polar Lander mission was translated into a musical context. The Percussionist Emil Hachfeld, who had already appeared on the ’97 tour, provided the appropriate rhythms for this concert. In addition to him, the band was also supported by guitarist Gerald Gradwohl. The backdrop behind the musicians consisted of an enormous canvas on which a film of the Mars mission was shown during the concert. Besides original shots of rocket launches and space travel projects, numerous computer animations were to be seen as well. A previously unreleased part of this huge production was originally set to be performed at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on the landing date of the Mars Polar Lander on the surface of Mars. The Band was ready to fly out to LA for this performance, but due to a false mathematical calculation the rocket missed Mars completely and was lost in space. As a result, the TD show in LA never took place.
The album What a Blast: Architecture in Motion contains the soundtrack to a film about collapsing multi-storey buildings presented from an artistic perspective. The film appeared on video in the USA under the title What a Blast! Architecture in Motion.
Tangerine Dream later created the soundtrack to a film about the Great Wall of China. The music appears on the CD Great Wall of China.
Another release is the CD The Seven Letters from Tibet on which the sound of calm sounds seem to flow from another dimension.
In January 2001, Edgar began his “work of a lifetime,” the musical translation of the three parts of Dante Alighieri’s La Divina Commedia. This deeply philosophical and mysterious story reveals to the reader the paths which every “human system” must follow before ending up in a final place of absolute Origin. It took more than five years to complete the writing, rehearsals and recordings.
Edgar in his own words stated: “If I would have known what I would be faced with during this five years, I’m not sure if I would have done it. My Life turned into such a chaos. Sometimes everything seems to happen in response to what I am working on. Apart from many other unpleasant situations, a former colleague played the role of a “devil’s advocate” during my daily work. Composing the Dante Trilogy was one of the most outstanding experiences one could have.”
After translating Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso into the language of music, Inferno and Purgatorio were performed live with band and singers and Paradiso was even accompanied by a symphony orchestra. People in various places have experienced listening to this truly outstanding piece of work both in open air (Nideggen Castle, Cologne/Museum Island, Berlin) as well as in concert halls (Royal Festival Hall, London/ Opera House Essen/Theatre Brandenburg etc. All three chapters have been released on CD. The three parts on DVD will follow in 2007.
In the summer of 2003 Edgar was introduced to a studio technician who understood the various technical challenges that TD was faced with these days. After a few weeks of examining the group’s equipment, Thorsten Quaeschning (of Norwegian origin) started to look after the band’s hardware and software set-ups during their day to day production routine. The partnership went very well, and one day, a series of classical tunes could be heard during a week of production. What no one knew at that point in time was that Thorsten was also a well trained piano player with roots in both classical and progressive rock. To make a long story short: In June 2005, Edgar, Jerome, Linda Spa, Iris Camaa, Zlatko Perica held TD’s Phaedra anniversary performance at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London with former studio technician Thorsten Quaeschning as a guest on stage. Together with Edgar and Jerome, Thorsten received his first credit as a composer for the CD release Jeanne d’Arc. This work based on the French heroine was performed live at the French Dome in Berlin in July, 2005.
Also, during the three sold out concerts of the world premiere of Paradiso with the Brandenburg Symphony Orchestra in September 2005, Thorsten and Linda Spa accompanied Edgar in performing one of his most complicated shows in Tangerine Dream history.
Meanwhile, Jerome began his Solo career with a very complex, guitar oriented production entitled Neptunes in the spring of 2004 which he performed in January 2005 in London. His second work will be released at the beginning of 2007.
On September 21, 2006, TD reminded their fans of their 40th Anniversary with a concert at the Tempodrome in Berlin. A number of well known tunes and sounds could be heard during their over three hour long performance. From pure electronics to didgeridoo, flute, sax, guitars and drums, the place was filled with music from one of the most creative and successful synth bands on the planet.