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Edgar Froese

Alongside his exhaustive work with Kraut-rock giants and synth specialists, TANGERINE DREAM, EDGAR FROESE (born 6th June 1944 in Tilsit, East Prussia) was a master of the Mellotron, and also a fine guitarist. Having broke through via the ten-star “Phaedra” set, he was quick off the mark to also establish himself as a competent solo artist.
Fitting neatly into the ambient/new age world of FRIPP & ENO and a plethora of fellow, home-grown outfits, AQUA (1974) {*6}, was similar in some respects to the work of TANGERINE DREAM; its lengthy tracks feeling of improv and electro-jam en masse. EPSILON IN MALAYSIAN PALE (1975) {*7} – featuring only two tracks to the predecessors four – maintained his organic and hypnotic approach.
Virgin Records drew a blank for EDGAR W. FROESE’s third LP, MACULA TRANSFER (1976) {*3}, its release coming through Germany’s Brain outlet. The bouncy and bubbly trademark sound of TD’s most recent hit albums, “Rubycon” and “Ricochet” was lost at sea here, overshadowed and a-washed-out by the dull autobahn-friendly drones.
The double-disc AGES (1978) {*7} and STUNTMAN (1979) {*6} packed a better punch, but one could draw a very thin line between his solo and group compositions; the percussive pieces of TD was the missing link. Imaginative titles and cosmopolitan themes were served up on a platter of meditative synths, the latter’s title track was simple yet refreshingly breezy.
With two effective OST’s under his belt with electronic prog-rock pioneers, TANGERINE DREAM (“Sorcerer” and “Thief”), FROESE delivered his inaugural score for the Rainer Werner Fassbinder flick, KAMIKAZE 1989 (1982) {*5}. Choosing a divergent musical route to that of TD, and augmented by long-time supporter Klaus Kruger on drums, FROESE once again played – or dabbled with – every other digital instrument on the set, a set that included some dynamic but short formulaic tracks.
PINNACLES (1983) {*6} saw out his contract with Virgin Records, and it was some time before fans tasted another solo set. Now as EDGAR W. FROESE, 2005’s DALINETOPIA {*6} continued his (Salvador) “Dali-ance” with the avant-garde artist; each stream-lined piece given a “Dali-ian” title.
Maintaining a prolific release schedule for TANGERINE DREAM albums, it was indeed sad news that the innovator of German prog-rock died of a pulmonary embolism on 20th January 2015.
© MCS Nov2012-Jan2015

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