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TANGERINE DREAM - BIOGRAPHY - Page 3

The magazine 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. Following their first world tour, Tangerine Dream received a Gold medal in many countries.

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.” For the Chichester Festival Theatre, TD performed the accompanying music score for Oedipus Tyrannus with Keith Mitchell as producer.

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 press called their concerts “fascinating experiences” and the Melody Maker pop poll ranked them among “the most promising bands in the world.” 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. Peter had left the band in January 1975 abruptly for a car trip to Asia. He didn’t inform anyone about his trip and as a result, it took two weeks to find out if he was dead or alive. Michael was already known to the band as he was a pupil of the Berlin avant-garde composer Thomas Kessler. At the end of 1971, Michael, who had studied sociology, journalism and theatrical science, became a member of the progressive Berlin rock band Agitation Free, in which Christopher 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, Peter suddenly showed up in the dressing room apologizing for the unexpected journey. After a long conversation, Peter was back in again.

An interesting fact mentioned in passing: Tangerine Dream had to pay a ? 2000 fine for this concert to the British Musician's Union in compensation to three chamber orchestras which they had allegedly made “redundant” with their mellotron!
The mid-70's was probably Tangerine Dream's most creative time. One reason was surely 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. Edgar used less guitar and also sat behind a synthesizer. 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.
“It is as if one steps from the eternal darkness of the jungle into the strong sunlight of a beach - from the dreams of the night into the reality of the day” (Melody Maker). In the course of time Tangerine Dream performed several concerts which brought them more popularity and acceptance.

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. While the record again did not meet with the approval of the press in Germany, it was praised abroad. New Musical Express called it “one of the most beautiful albums of the year.” 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.

Each individual member began building his own studio in an effort to gain more and more independence from the industry. 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. Edgar: “A listener doesn’t necessarily have to identify with the one who makes the music. 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. They had something in store; the “Laserium Light Show,” which at that time offered spectacular lighting effects, was presented for the first time. The laser was highly reliable, yet it required constant water cooling due to heat build-up. The light show was provided a considerable expense as in the USA a large number of safety regulations had to be followed.

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 (with Gene Hackman). 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. It contains references to the spring tour in North America. 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 due to artistic differences of opinion and personal problems. 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.”

But that’s just one side of the coin; more details can be read in Edgar’s book on Tangerine Dream which will be available next year. Peter’s first solo album appeared in 1977 under the title Romance '76, which was well received by critics (Melody Maker: “Excellent solo debut”). 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.

Back to the late seventies: The remaining Froese and Franke tried a daring 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 first side of the LP consists of two tracks, but one wouldn't believe that it is Tangerine Dream playing, particularly due to the distinctive vocals, not to mention the guitar and drums. The second side consists of a longer track that lasts more than 20 minutes and which contains more well-known elements.

The attempt to create a new surrounding for TD’s flowing synthesizer sounds was described by Edgar years later as “a failed experiment, this was the ultimate mistake in the miracle bag of all possibilities.” The audience for the extended tour in February/March of 1978 gave mixed feedback due to the unusual instrumentation and use of vocals. Steve Joliffe and Edgar had more than one argument about the way a concert should sound. 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 still appears on the cover even though he participated as a session musician. This time, he used his drums more subtly and considerately. The highlight of this album is the brilliant title track which is over 18 minutes long.




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