Jan 20, 2015 – Edgar Willmar Froese was born in Tilsit, East Prussia, on D-Day 6 June 1944 during the Second World War. Members of his family, including his father, had been killed by the Nazis and his mother and surviving family settled in West Berlin after the war.
He took piano lessons from the age of 12, and started playing guitar at 15. After showing an early aptitude for art, Froese enrolled at the Academy of the Arts in West Berlin to study painting and sculpture. In 1965, he formed a band called The Ones, who played psychedelic rock, and some rock and R&B standards.
While playing in Spain, The Ones were invited to perform at Salvador Dalí’s villa in Cadaqués. Froese’s encounter with Dalí was highly influential, inspiring him to pursue more experimental directions with his music. The Ones disbanded in 1967, having released only one single (“Lady Greengrass” / “Love of Mine”).
He is best known for founding the electronic music group Tangerine Dream. Although his solo and group recordings prior to 2003 name him as “Edgar Froese”, his solo albums from 2003 onward bear the artist name “Edgar W. Froese”.
After returning to Berlin, Froese began recruiting musicians for the Berlin-based band Tangerine Dream, a prolific solo artist, and one of the most influential pioneers of electronic music. That term, however, was one that Froese rejected. “We don’t like what we do to be called ‘electronic music’,” he insisted. “We are people making music, not machines. We are writing songs and compositions and then translate them with synthesizers … but also other instruments.” Initially, the group found themselves trying to emulate the superstars of Anglo-American rock music, such as Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix, before it dawned on Froese that they needed to find a way to express their own background and experiences. “The Germans have no roots in rock music,” he said. “We didn’t have the attitude for rock’n’roll, the blues and so on.”
This philosophy would enable Tangerine Dream to encompass various kinds of classical, avant-garde and minimalist influences within their music as well as heavy rock and ambient atmospheres, and it set Froese and Tangerine Dream apart from other “Krautrock” bands such as Neu! or Kraftwerk, whose so-called “motorik” beats emphasized machine-like repetition. Froese’s versatility and artistic inquisitiveness drove Tangerine Dream to create more than 100 studio albums; his catalogue of more than 20 solo albums included Macula Transfer (1976), Stuntman (1979), Kamikaze 1989) and the four-volume series Ambient Highway (2003).
Froese’s composition “Stuntman” has been used as the opening theme music for “Mabat Sheni” (“Second Look”), an investigative news program from Channel One television in Israel, since the 1980s.
In his personal life Edgar Froese declared himself to be vegetarian, teetotaler, and a non-smoker; he also did not take drugs. Froese was married to artist and photographer Monique Froese from 1974 until her death in 2000. Their son Jerome Froese was a member of Tangerine Dream from 1990 through 2006. Edgar Froese remarried to artist and musician Bianca Acquaye.
he band’s live performances became increasingly rare in recent years, though they played selected European dates in 2007 to mark the group’s 40th anniversary, including one at the Astoria in central London. Their show at the Royal Albert Hall on 1 April 2010 was billed as the Zeitgeist concert, and was captured on a three-CD live album. The Electric Mandarine Tour 2012 took the band to Europe and North America, and they performed in Melbourne, Australia, in November that year.
Froese died suddenly in Vienna on 20 January 2015 from a pulmonary embolism and was posthumously awarded the Schallwelle Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2015.