Long before the genres (let alone the terms) of ambient, techno and electro existed, German pioneers Tangerine Dream were making that music in one form or another. Immediately upon their inception in 1967, the group, eternally lead by founding member Edgar Froese, forged new territory for a generation of electronic musicians to follow in the decades to come. The group became best known in America for their Eighties soundtrack work — Risky Business, Firestarter, Legend, Near Dark and many others, including one of my favorite films ever, Miracle Mile. Their Seventies ambient sound shifted to a more sequenced, rock-inflected style in the Eighties, which caused some controversy among fans that loved their earlier material. But Tangerine Dream have occasionally gone against the grain of their audience’s expectations (let alone the mainstream), whether recording a string-laced drone record like Zeit or releasing albums featuring spoken word or vocals. Their latest studio CD is 2011’s Finnegan’s Wake.
The seven-time Grammy-nominated Tangerine Dream are currently on a North American tour that began in Montreal on June 30th and continues tonight in Washington, D.C. and ends in Saratoga, CA on the 14th. This is a rare opportunity to witness them live. I am not sure what the set list will entail — their extensive discography includes well over 100 studio albums and soundtracks — but it should be a visceral, visual and immersive experience. You won’t see people bouncing around like at the normal rock and pop shows we might be used to, but let yourself be sucked into the atmosphere and it will be invigorating in its own way. If you are unaware of the influence Tangerine Dream has had, they have been referenced in everything from This Is Spinal Tap to Aqua Teen Hunger Force to Tenacious D’s epic anthem “City Hall”. Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree is reportedly a big fan.
The current TD line-up consists of Edgar Froese (keyboards, guitar), Thorsten Quaeschning (keyboards), Linda Spa (sax, flute, keyboards), Iris Camaa (percussion/v-drums), Bernhard Beibl (guitar) and Hoshiko Yamane (violin/cello).
July 6: Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
July 7: Best Buy Theater, New York, NY
July 8: Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C.
July 11: Granada Theater, Santa Barbara, CA
July 12: Club Nokia, Los Angeles, CA
July 13: Uptown Theater, Napa, CA
July 14: Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA