Edgar Froese, who helped pioneer what was to be known as Kraut Rock, which utilized rock elements with electronic sounds, most notably in Tangerine Dream, died on January 20, 2015, of a pulmonary embolism. The musician was in Vienna, Austria, when he died suddenly, according to a post on the Tangerine Dream Facebook page. He was 70.
Starting in 1967, Tangerine Dream was one of the most prolific and versatile bands that ever existed. With Froese as the only constant member through over 100 albums — many which used high amounts of synthesizers most notably the Moog, which had been dabbled with by various artists prior (The Monkees, Wendy Carlos) — Tangerine Dream became one of the leaders of the aforementioned Kraut Rock genre, and they shared success side-by-side with other legendary bands of that ilk like Kraftwerk and Can. Under the aegis of Froese, the band found its peak in the mid 1970s, having much success in the UK. Elsewhere, the band was revered in cult circles, something it remains to this day. In fact, the band was a curio at best to a lot of people, and was immortalized in Gonzo critic Lester Bangs’ unforgettable cough syrup-soaked wild bender piece, “I Saw God and Or Tangerine Dream.” In the piece, which originally ran in Creem magazine back in 1973, Bangs waxes while speeding on Robitussin about the visual and aural joys of attending a Tangerine Dream light show.
A large part of the success for Tangerine Dream and Froese came from work doing soundtracks for theatrical releases, the standouts being William Friedkin’s wild sprawling 1977 tale Sorcerer; Paul Brickman’s smart and sexy 1983 comedy Risky Business; and Michael Mann’s 1981 directorial debut, the taut and gripping Thief. Froese also kept his sounds and audience contemporary by scoring video games, such as the fifth installment of the wildly popular urban Grand Theft Auto series.
Froese’s final project was a Tangerine Dream album entitled Chandra – The Phantom Ferry Part II, which was released last June.