Founded by Edgar Froese in 1967, Tangerine Dream were formative in the genre of electronic music, with long instrumental tracks based on synthesizer and sequencer sounds, later known as 'Berlin School' and 'Kosmische Musik'.
Their groundbreaking record Phaedra, released in 1974, reacheded gold status in the UK, and it was also the band's first hit album on the Virgin Records label to whom they had recently signed. The recording became a milestone in electronic music.Over the last 50 years, the band has released more than 100 studio albums, created over 60 film scores, and were nominated for a Grammy seven times. The group's line-up changed many times over the years, with Edgar Froese remaining as the only constant member.
After Edgar Froese's death in 2015, Tangerine Dream's line-up now consists of Thorsten Quaeschning, Hoshiko Yamane, Paul Frick and Ulrich Schnauss. Their album Quantum Gate, based on Edgar Froese’s musical sketches and ideas, was released on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the formation of Tangerine Dream.
A short outline on TD's history
The early years
Edgar Froese initially started his playing career at the famous Zodiak Club in Berlin-Kreuzberg where he met new band member Steve Schroyder, and subsequently added Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler, a former student of Joseph Beuys, to the band's line-up.
Eschewing their traditional rock influences, the group were pioneers in innovating a new style of electronic music, which began with Bob Moog's invention of the Moog synthesizer. Tangerine Dream composed long pieces with unique structures, opening new dimensions in sound. Continuous modified structures – known as sequencing – were combined with distinctive solos. This style, often described as the Berlin School and later Kosmische Musik, has influenced the electronic music genre to the present day and is the blueprint for contemporary music genres like Ambient or Trance.
Tangerine Dream's international career started when the band's 1973 record Atem was named as Album of the Year by BBC Radio DJ John Peel. The band, then consisting of Edgar Froese, Christopher Franke and Peter Baumann, signed to Richard Branson’s Virgin Records in the same year and released the album Phaedra, the first commercial album ever to feature sequencers. It reached #15 in the UK album charts and became one of Virgin's first hits. The following releases Rubycon, Ricochet, Stratosfear and Force Majeure were also similarly successful.
In 1980 Johannes Schmoelling joined the band following Peter Baumann's departure in 1977 to begin his solo career. The new line-up’s first concert at the Palast der Republik in East-Berlin was also the first time a major Western band had performed in the GDR. At the same time, Tangerine Dream started composing film soundtracks for up-and-coming Hollywood directors. Over the years, the band created over 60 film scores, including for William Friedkin’s thriller Sorcerer, Michael Mann’s Thief,
Paul Brickman’s Risky Business and Ridley Scott’s Legend.
1990's and 2000's
From the late 1990s into the 2000s, Tangerine Dream experimented with different styles and acoustic instruments, ultimately bringing the band's total number of recordings to over one hundred studio albums. Seven albums released during the 1990s such as Canyon Dreams or Rockoon were nominated for Grammy Awards.
TD in the 21st century
In 2013, Tangerine Dream composed the music for the video game Grand Theft Auto V, which became one of the most successful games in history. Tangerine Dream received the VGX GAMES AWARD in 2013 for the best soundtrack in a computer game. The final project that founder Edgar Froese completed together with Tangerine Dream was Zero Gravity, a track performed together with Jean-Michel Jarre for his collaborative album Electronica.
Over the last 50 years the group has gone through many different line-up changes. Since Froese's death in 2015, the group consists of Thorsten Quaeschning, Tangerine Dream member since 2005, Hoshiko Yamane and Ulrich Schnauss. Based on Edgar Froese’s ideas and musical sketches, their first album Quantum Gate, was released on September the 29th, 2017, the 50th anniversary of the band’s founding. It is their best-selling record since 1987. This marked the band's return to the original sequencer-driven sound for which Tangerine Dream have become known since the 1970s. Every live concert ends with a so-called Session, a half an hour of real-time composition that takes you on a musical and visual journey.