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TANGERINE DREAM - BIOGRAPHY - Page 4
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 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 Masters 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 Wilsons Play Death, Destruction and Detroit. Edgar, who was already a fan of Wilsons work, was amazed by Johannes sound set-up and asked him for a meeting. Johannes, who had not heard of Tangerine Dream and who wasn't interested in any kind of pop music (because he came from another musical background), accepted Edgar's offer to join the band. This turn of events came at the right time as Johannes was intending to quit his job at the theatre in order to become a full-time musician. With the new trio (Froese, Franke and Schmoelling), a constant 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 audience, however, was thrilled. 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 TDs best selling records.
In 1994, Johannes described the groups current 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 TDs 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 TDs 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.
The director James Glickenhaus attempted to create a tougher counterpart to James Bond with the film Codename: The Soldier, released in 1982. Tangerine Dream supplied the soundtrack to this film which, until now, was not available on album. The film, in which the leading actor Ken Wahl played alongside Klaus Kinski, helped TDs career advance within the American film studio landscape.
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, represents their biggest commercial success to date.
Tangerine Dream never wanted to become commercial; this hit, which went into the Top 20, was regarded by them as an accident. Music Express wrote: Tangerine Dream actually deny the urge to have a hit or at best incorporate them into their ten or twenty minute flowing tracks. 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. As Fassbinder died suddenly in June 1982, this film represented his last cinematic work.
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, one of the leading actors of which was is the German Juergen Prochnow. 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 films producer and Virgin Records.
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. Nobody would ever forget this gig. Based on the relaxed musical atmosphere, nobody could imagine such catastrophic conditions. 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 Dreams 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. As a result, several soundtracks developed in the future. In 1983, the soundtrack to the teenage comedy Risky Business (directed by Paul Brickman) appeared, making the lead actor Tom Cruise world famous. 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. In this film, directed by Mark L. Lester, the young Drew Barrymore plays the leading role, after her worldwide success in E.T.
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. Two songs appear on the record alongside the other instrumental tracks; Is Your Love Strong Enough by Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music), and Loved By The Sun by Jon Anderson (Yes). For this reason, the album has become a collectors item among fans of these two musicians. 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. In the long run, Ridley Scott was pleased with the result.
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 records 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. In addition to frequent live appearances, the group had written a great deal of film music since they were very much in demand in the film business at the time. Edgar, who took care of a large part of the music production as well as the business aspect of the bands work, flew often between Berlin, Frankfurt and Los Angeles, stepping into a plane more often than most people would in a lifetime. Interesting fact: Working on Streethawk, Edgar flew from Berlin via Frankfurt to LA to deliver a master tape. He met with a studio consultant at the Gate, picked up the next episode for scoring, and flew back with the same Plane two hours later from LA to Frankfurt and then on to Berlin.
Due to the huge amount of work, Johannes Schmoelling suffered under time pressure. He 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 Dreams 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, to which Paul contributed very little original composition. 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. Tangerine Dream became genuine cosmopolitans. For production of their albums they travelled between Berlin, Vienna, London and Los Angeles. In 1987, a large number of soundtrack albums by Tangerine Dream appeared, for example, the score to the film Three Oclock 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. Dancing on A White Moon has a strange story: The Score was nearly completed and the director asked for something commercial, maybe a real song, can you do it by tomorrow morning? the director asked. Edgar was ready to leave the hotel in LA to fly back to Berlin when the call came in. At 2 oclock in the morning he arrived in Sunset Marquee, the well known location in LA for artists comfort and wrote all songs and lyrics within two hours. He presented it to the director the next morning and flew back to Berlin in the afternoon. The Band did the final recording the next night and presented it to a Pan AM stewardess in good faith at the Berlin airport for delivery to a Studio messenger at the LA airport. It got there in time! That was back in the mid-eighties; to arrange something like that today would be absolutely impossible! Today, one would transfer the data over the internet or would choose to hire an overnight courier service, but twenty years back, such services simply didnt exist.
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). The vocals and instrumental harmonies were outstanding! On the track London, Jocelyn's spoken lyrics are reminiscent of the female multimedia artist and singer Laurie Anderson.
Tangerine Dream also composed the film music to another strange picture, Kathryn Bigelow's Near Dark. This cooperative effort with Kathryn worked well, since Tangerine Dream told her exactly what she wanted to hear right from the beginning. Edgar: Actually, she was trying to avoid making a typical film and so, didnt want the music to sound like that of a typical horror movie. She wanted to have something contradictory, which in addition, didnt 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.
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