If you love long ambient instrumentals like those found on the track “Yes I’m Changing” on Tame Impala’s album Currents or the soaring instrumental and audio feats of classic rock artists such as Hendrix and Pink Floyd, you should know that those kinds of experiences are very much the result of the efforts of one great band, Tangerine Dream. Without them, the long instrumental track and inclusion of ambient noise in the world of music today would be impossible. They are, if you will, the kings of orchestrated ambient electronica.
Maybe, like most of our generation, the first time you even heard of this band was after their ‘comeback’ based on the Spotify release of their own interpretation of the Stranger Things soundtrack. Yet, way before the Duffer Brothers (creators of Stranger Things), the band Survive, or fans of the show were tripping on the sonic influence of Tangerine Dream, David Bowie credits Tangerine Dream with influencing much of his music. In fact, the German music journalist Tobias Rüther in his book Heroes, David Bowie and Berlin (2015), writes “he became good friends with Edgar Froese, the founder of Tangerine Dream, who helped Bowie find an apartment … and (eventually) get off cocaine and heroin.” Just two years later, Bowie released the albums Low, and Heroes.
If you’re looking for just how big Tangerine Dreams influence is, consider David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Yes. Now you’re getting it. It’s easy to play bands like Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream back and forth against one another and come up with the idea that Tangerine Dream changed ‘psychedelic instrumentals’ or more specifically, EDM. The rhythmically throbbing, deeply layered creations of Tangerine Dreams peak years not only informed the development of several major strains of electronic club music but built a space in which other artists such as Bowie, Coldplay, the Grateful Dead and quite simply every single great ambient trip you’ve ever had could be created.
Tangerine Dream was founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese and has turned out a massive catalog of over 120 full albums. Tangerine Dream is a German collective band with members who have come and gone over the years. The band’s creations are a melting pot of every classical rock and instrumentalist imaginable. The iconic electronic group has consisted of over 20 members over 49 years. Early influences and contemporaries of theirs included Bach, Corelli, Hendrix, and Pink Floyd.
Their original creator Edgar Froese was the longest lasting member until his death in 2015. Sure, Tangerine Dream is a huge influence in early of EDM and electronica, but if you love a good trip at a live show or a nice atmospheric mind melt on any album, you need to dig into Tangerine Dream. If you haven’t heard them yet, start with these top five songs; Love on a Real Train, Kiew Mission, Cloudburst Fight, and Loved by the Sun.
written by ATHENA BURTON