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TANGERINE DREAM - BIOGRAPHY - Page 1
40 YEARS IN THE SERVICE OF MUSIC
Biographical Notes from 1967 - 2007
The term Berlin School used in the music scene refers to a musical style that has influenced electronic music up to the present day. Apart from several other artists, it was Tangerine Dream (TD) in particular who coined this term at the beginning of the 70's with their highly experimental sound. Created by Edgar Froese in 1967 at the Art Academy in Berlin, the band has been made up of several musicians for more than 40 years now, each of them involved in the composition of the tracks more or less than others. Since the beginning of the 90's, Tangerine Dream has become more of a family project into which Edgar and Jerome Froese bring guest musicians to support them.
But let's start at the beginning! Edgar Froese was born on June 6, 1944, in Tilsit, Russia. He had already 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. He never intended, however, to make a living by playing music. His artistic training would later help him with the record cover design which he did with the assistance of his wife Monica.
As for his interest in the arts, Edgar 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. Highlights of these meetings were Dali's attempts to play Satie on a piano which was set up in waist-deep sea water; or the ballet dancers, who danced to the music of Debussy on enormous egg shells floating in the water. In July 1967, Edgar composed the music for the inauguration of Dali's Christ statue, a sculpture made of rain barrels, bicycles and metal.
The musicians who worked with Edgar on this project nevertheless misunderstood the sense of his actions and as a result, Edgar returned to Berlin. There, in 1967, he tried to find musicians who were as interested as he was in making music which did not sound like Rock, German "Schlager," or American Top 40 chart songs. However, most musicians with whom Edgar played found the concept of transferring visual arts into music uninteresting. In autumn of 1967 Edgar found a few open minded individuals who sought to create an even more experimental sound. In the Zodiac Cafe they played their "night concerts" as they called them at the time. Two large rooms, one black and one white, were packed with their earliest fans during each performance.
Edgar, who became a multi-instrumentalist, 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. Tangerine is the name of a reddish-yellow sort of mandarin grown in Florida. Whether the band's name is from a line of from Lucy in the sky, or from some other source, remains a mystery. Edgar searched for quite a while for the right musicians and tried out different band formations, which only resulted in frustration since the other musicians opinions differed from his own.
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. Conrad was also on a rather unorthodox journey in the arts. He couldnt even really play an instrument, but just produced sounds with all sorts of unmusical tools. 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. The material was not originally intended for release. For some reason, the session tape found its way to the desk of the biggest Schlager Producer at the time, 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 left the group due to his first marriage. Conrad Schnitzlers lacking knowledge of musical terminology had driven Edgar crazy. Later, Klaus went to Ash Ra Temple (with Manuel Goettsching and Hartmut Enke) and began a solo career in 1971. Conrad formed the bands Eruption and Cluster. Christopher Franke, with whom Edgar had become acquainted, came to Tangerine Dream from Agitation Free at the age of 17. Christopher, who was born on April 6, 1953, in Berlin, played the drums when he joined the band. Just like Edgar, he was influenced by composers such as John Cage, Xenakis and many others. The new Trio was completed by the organist Steve Schroyder.
Tangerine Dream gave one of their most unusual concerts in October 1970 in the Austrian city of Kapfenberg. They appeared on stage with six pinball machines which they had attached to amplifiers. They attached individual microphones to each machine and improvised their meditative music. The concert was broadcast on Austrian television at the time.
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