From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. The band has undergone several personnel changes over the years, with Froese the only continuous member. Drummer and composer Klaus Schulze was a member of an early lineup, but the most stable version of the group during their influential mid-1970s period was as a keyboard trio with Froese, Christopher Franke, and Peter Baumann. Early in the 1980s, Johannes Schmoelling replaced Baumann, and this lineup, too, was stable and extremely productive.
Tangerine Dream's early "Pink Years" albums had a pivotal role in the development of Krautrock. Their "Virgin Years" and later albums became a defining influence in New Age music, although the band themselves dislike the term.
Although the group has released numerous studio and live recordings, a substantial number of their fans were introduced to Tangerine Dream by their film soundtracks, which numbered over forty and included Sorcerer, Thief, The Keep, Risky Business, Firestarter, Legend, Near Dark, and Miracle Mile.
Tangerine Dream began as a surreal rock band, each of the members contributed different things. Edgar Froese's guitar style was inspired by Jimi Hendrix, while Chris Franke contributed the more avant garde elements of Karlheinz Stockhausen and Terry Riley. Yes-like influence was brought in by Steve Joliffe on Cyclone. The sample-based sound collages of Johannes Schmoelling drew their inspiration from a number of sources; one instance is Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians on, for example, parts of Logos Live, and the track Love on a Real Train from the Risky Business soundtrack.
Classical music has had some influence on the sound of Tangerine Dream over the years. György Ligeti, Johann Sebastian Bach, Maurice Ravel, and Arcangelo Corelli are clearly visible as dominant influences in the early albums. A Baroque sensibility sometimes informs the more coordinated sequencer patterns, which has its most direct expression in the La Follia section that comes at the very end of the title track of Force Majeure. In live performances, the piano solos often directly quoted from Romantic classical works for piano, such as the Beethoven and Mozart snippets in much of the late '70s- early '80s stage shows. In the bootleg recording of the Mannheim Mozartsaal concert of 1976 (Tangerine Tree volume 13), the first part of the first piece also clearly quotes from Franz Liszt's Totentanz. The first phrase is played on a harpsichord synthesizer patch, and is answered by the second half of the phrase in a flute voicing on a Mellotron. During the 90s, many releases included recordings of classical compositions: Pictures at an Exhibition (on Turn of the Tides), Largo (from Xerxes) (on Tyranny of Beauty), Symphony in A Minor (by J. S. Bach), and Concerto in A Major / Adagio (by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) (both on Ambient Monkeys).
Since the 90s, Tangerine Dream have also recorded cover versions of Jimi Hendrix' Purple Haze (first on 220 Volt Live) and The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby, Back in the U.S.S.R., Tomorrow Never Knows, and "Norwegian Wood".
An infrequently recurring non-musical influence on Tangerine Dream, and Edgar Froese in particular, have been 12th-19th century poets. This was first evident on the 1981 album Exit, the track title "Pilots of the Purple Twilight" being a quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem Locksley Hall. Six years later, the album Tyger featured poems from William Blake set to music; and around the turn of the millennium, Edgar Froese started working on a musical trilogy based on Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, completed in 2006. Most recently, the 2007 album Madcap's Flaming Duty features more poems set to music, some again from Blake but also e.g. Walt Whitman.
Pink Floyd were also an influence on Edgar Froese and Tangerine Dream, the band in its very early psychedelic rock band phase playing improvisations based on Pink Floyd's Interstellar Overdrive. Madcap's Flaming Duty is dedicated to the memory of the late Syd Barrett. The title refers to Barrett's solo release, "The Madcap Laughs".
The band's influence can be felt in ambient artists such as Deepspace, The Future Sound of London, David Kristian, and Global Communication, as well as rock, pop, and dance artists such as Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, M83, DJ Shadow, Ulrich Schnauss, Cut Copy, and Kasabian. The band also clearly influenced 1990s and 2000s Trance music, where lush soundscapes and synth pads are used along with repetitive synth sequences, much like in their 1975 releases Rubycon and Ricochet, as well as some of their music from the early 1980s. The group have also been sampled countless times, more recently by Recoil on the album SubHuman and on several Houzan Suzuki albums.
In popular culture
- Japanese electronic musician Susumu Hirasawa dedicated his song "Island Door (Paranesian Circle)" to Tangerine Dream. At 13 minutes, it is Hirasawa's longest composition.
- In science fiction author Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space universe, one of the gas giant planets in the Epsilon Eridani system is named Tangerine Dream.
- The Japanese band Do As Infinity's debut single "Tangerine Dream" was named after the band.
- Till Lindemann, vocalist of Rammstein, stated that Tangerine Dream was one of his influences to make his music.
- In an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force a character named Romulox mentions the band Tangerine Dream.
- At the end of Tenacious D's track "City Hall," lead singer Jack Black references the group ("Malibu nights, tangerine dreams").
- British rock and roll band, Kasabian recently paid tribute to Tangerine Dream describing them as one of their "spiritual influences".
- In the 1983 movie Valley Girl, the character of Randy (played by Nicolas Cage) can be seen wearing a Tangerine Dream concert shirt during the "I Melt With You" montage scene when sitting in the mall food court with Julie (Deborah Foreman).
- A Cannabis Cup winning Cannabis strain was named Tangerine Dream for its potency and citrus-like aroma and flavour.
- In Rob Reiner's 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, several copies of Tangerine Dream's 1980 album Tangram can briefly be seen in the record store in which members of Spinal Tap make an ill-fated signing appearance.