Edgar Froese (1944-2015) was a visionary. He saw the potential – and the poetic qualities – in electronic music before most artists. Through Tangerine Dream and his solo projects he was on a lifelong quest in search for that unique and magical sound only he could envision. Edgar Froese is dead, but his music will live forever.
Edgar has had an impact not only on electronic music, but on many genres of modern music. Here we can mention everything from 1970s disco, via movie music to the computer game Grand Theft Auto 5 – and, of course, New Age music.
Movements of a Visionary
While artists such as Tony Scott and Paul Horn created the New Age music sound, Edgar and his colleagues in Tangerine Dream showed how this musical expression could be taken even further with electronic instruments. Into the deep sea or into space; Edgar’s synths could take you there without leaving your living room.
Interestingly enough, Edgar had also a thing or two to be thankful for when it came to both ambient and New Age music. Tangerine Dream’s first albums can be labeled krautrock with frequent electric element. They are a product of the post WWII atmosphere in Berlin. Zeit (1972) has wonderful ambient qualities, but it is first with Phaedra (1974) they had their real breakthrough. What makes Phaedra great is the melodic segments. Here electric music meets New Age music for the first time.
It is no secret though that Edgar never liked the term New Age music. Here is a quote from a 1995 fan interview:
Dream Collector: You do not like this kind of music, although a lot of “New Age” artists refer to Tangerine Dream as their musical prototype…
Edgar Froese: This is not the music we play, even if record dealers, music reviewers and listeners are always looking for a “stylistic drawer” to put Tangerine Dream into. And, even more annoying than the music is the “New Age” philosophy where everything is a caricature of a positive world and people have to see this “jelly babyworld” through rose-coloured spectacles. “New Age Music” is just the acoustical wallpaper for this world view, but this is exactly not the way we see the world around us. Tangerine Dream music is not the right choice for people who are still into baby food.
Still, Tangerine Dream will forever be connected with New Age music – and the many other genres they have influenced over the years.
We must not forget Edgar’s solo projects. His album Stuntman (1979) is a classic, much thanks to the songs It would be like Samoa and Detroit Snackbar Dreaming. The album Solo 1974-1983 shows how he was just as much a solo artist as a band member. But it is as the leading figure of Tangerine Dream he will be remembered.
Luckily Edgar and Tangerine Dream were very productive, so it will not be hard to keep his memory alive. It is to be found in every song and every note he created. His music lives on.
There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address.