TANGERINE DREAM

Considered genre benders—part progressive rock, part avant garde—during their early years, Tangerine Dream are now viewed as forefathers of electronica, although recent work has veered dangerously close to the new age genre. The group has served as a launching pad for the solo careers of many leading experimental synthesizer artists, most notably, Klaus Schulze, Peter Baumann, Michael Hoenig, and leader Edgar Froese.

Tangerine Dream was formed in Berlin in Fall 1967 by then-art student Froese, who tried many rock and classical musicians prior to the release of the debut album, Electronic Meditation (Ohr 556004; 1970; reissued February 1996 on Essential 345). Pioneering keyboard-predominated electronic waves of sound, the group issued three more undergound LPs—Alpha Centauri (Ohr 556 012; 1971; reissued February 1996 on Essential 346), Zeit (Ohr 556 021; 1972; reissued February 1996 on Essential 347), and Atem (Ohr 556 031; 1973; reissed February 1996 on Essential 348)—before the increasing appearance of synthesizers in the pop mainstream (e.g., Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells) warranted a contract with the Virgin label.

Although Tangerine Dream remained a cult staple in the U.S., their releases—featuring lush synthesizer-derived electronic washes, accented by evocative rhythmic patterns—charted regularly in Great Britain over the next decade, beginning with Phaedra (Virgin 13108; 1974; #15), Rubycon (Virgin 13166; 1975; #12), the live Ricochet (Virgin 2044; 1975; #40), and Stratosfear (Virgin 34427; 1976; #39). The next LP, Sorcerer (Virgin 2277; 1977; #25), signaled a gradual shift in the direction of movie soundtrack work, including Thief (Virgin/Elektra 521; 1981; #43), Wavelength (Elektra 81207; 1983), Risky Business (Virgin/Elektra 2302; 1983), Firestarter (MCA 3233, 1984), Flashpoint (Relativity 17141; 1985), Heartbreakers (Virgin 212-620; 1985), and Three O’Clock High (Relativity 47357; 1987). While continuing to produce soundtrack music, albeit largely for foreign films, Tangerine Dream has been marketed as a new age group since the early 1990s.

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