Monday, 22 January 2018

Three years on... the Dream continues

Edgar Froese (Photo: commons / wikimedia)

Edgar Froese, the founder of the electronic legend, well, almost institution that was and is Tangerine Dream, passed away three years ago, on 20 Jan 2015.

As a prominent and eminent figure of what became known as the Berlin School, he has navigated through almost five decades of tumultuous musical, technological and social changes with his band.

As a figure of speech, we can probably say countless studio and live albums, a long list of illustrious soundtracks have been created, plus of course numerous solo albums.

A quintessential characteristic of his philosophy and that of the music of Tangerine Dream has been the fact that technology never took over and never became the ultimate goal. It always served a purpose as a mere creative tool, as revolutionary as it was in Edgar's and his band mates' hands.

Edgar would be very happy to see the band today and his legacy - and he may well be extremely happy at, as he put it, another cosmic address he moved on to in January 2015.

The 50th anniversary album, Quantum Gate, which was also reviewed here has been a great success.

The number of not just electronic but rock and other music magazines that have almost re-discovered Tangerine Dream was a joy to see.

The return to improvised live performances and the release of these lengthy pieces are a superb renaissance for the fans, who last heard such concert pieces several decades ago.

The current members of TD, Thorsten Quaeschning, Ulrich Schnauss and Hoshiko Yamane, have taken Edgar's overall musical and creative philosophy successfully into Edgar's posthumous period.

There is something remarkable happening, and Edgar would be, we can be sure, all too happy to witness this: unlike bands like Yes, who without a defining figure joining them live have really lost their way and leading to rather mechanical live album releases, Tangerine Dream is continuing with vast bursts of new creativity.

While the sound stayed instantly recognisable, it is a TD of the 21st century and with state-of-the-art, but musically functional as ever, technology.

On a personal note, I first came into contact with Edgar and TD's music as a teenager, beyond the Iron Curtain. I like to always point out for people who could access any music at any moment in any circumstances, that getting my hands on such music was a lengthy but rewarding adventure... and what escapism it was!

However, I would never have thought that more than three decades later I shall be treated to fresh and invigoratingly scintillating Tangerine Dream albums that have the unmistakable presence of Edgar's musical spirit still.

While remembering with sadness Edgar, there is joy in witnessing a quite unique phenomenon in the contemporary music scene.

Rest in peace, tremendous wizard of sounds, of time and space - and very glad to still have You with us in the continuing story of the phenomenon called Tangerine Dream!

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