Tag: Jerome Froese


2018 saw Jean Michel Jarre celebrate 50 years in the business and whether the world really needed another of his compilations, ‘Planet Jarre’ was probably one of the better collected representations of his work for casual admirers.

But not standing still and releasing his fourth new album in three years, ‘Equinoxe Infinity’ continued the story as the French Maestro tuned 70.

SOFT CELL made a totally unexpected return for a huge one-off farewell gig at London’s O2 Arena; and with it came a boxed set, the ‘Northern Lights’ single and other new recordings which have raised hopes for a new album.

From the same era, FIAT LUX announced plans for their debut album ‘Save Symmetry’ with an excellent lead track ‘It’s You’, while B-MOVIE came up with their most synth-propelled single yet in ‘Stalingrad’.

But one act who actually did comeback with a brand new album in 2018 were DUBSTAR; now a duo of Sarah Blackwood and Chris Wilkie, as ‘One’ they reminded audiences as to why they were the acceptable face of Britpop with their bridge to Synth Britannia.

IONNALEE finally released her debut opus ‘Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten’ and her tour which included choice cuts from IAMAMIWHOAMI, proved to be one of the best value-for-money live experiences in 2018, one that was even endorsed by Welsh songstress Charlotte Church.

CHVRCHES offered up their third album ‘Love Is Dead’ and continued their role as international flagwavers for quality synthpop, while EMIKA presented her best album yet in ‘Falling In Love With Sadness’, an exquisite electronic record with a Bohemian aura.

JOHN GRANT was on an artistic roll both solo and in partnership with WRANGLER as CREEP SHOW with two new albums. However, he was beaten by Neil Arthur who managed three albums over a 12 month period as NEAR FUTURE and BLANCMANGE including ‘Wanderlust’, possibly the latter’s best body of work in its 21st Century incarnation.

It was a busy year for Steve Jansen with a new solo ambient work ‘Corridor’, the well-received vinyl reissue of JAPAN’s two Virgin-era studio albums and his epic, more organically flavoured band project EXIT NORTH with their debut long player ‘Book Of Romance & Dust’.

Sarah Nixey went on some ‘Night Walks’ for her best solo album yet, a wonderful collection of everything she had ever been musically all wonderfully rolled into one.

Meanwhile Tracey Thorn went back to the ‘Dancefloor’ with her ‘Record’ which content wise was right up there with some of Alison Moyet’s electronica output from the last five years.

Those who liked their electronic music darker were well served with NINE INCH NAILS, IAMX, KIRLIAN CAMERA and HELIX, but after experimenting with the single only format for a few years, Daniel Graves announced he was taking the plunge again with a new AESTHETIC PERFECTION album.

The Sacred Bones stable provided some quality releases from Hilary Woods, Zola Jesus and John Carpenter. Meanwhile, providing some fierce socio-political commentary on the state of the UK was GAZELLE TWIN.

Hungary’s BLACK NAIL CABARET offered some noirish ‘Pseudopop’ and promising Norwich youngsters LET’S EAT GRANDMA got more deeply into electronica without losing any of their angsty teenage exuberance on their second album ‘I’m All Ears’.

Less intense and more dreamy were GLASSHOUSE, the new duo fronted by former TECHNIQUE singer Xan Tyler.

Aussies CONFIDENCE MAN provided some wacky dancey glitz to the pop world and after nearly four decades in the business, Canadian trailblazers RATIONAL YOUTH finally played their first ever concert in London at ‘Non Stop Electronic Cabaret’ alongside dark wave compatriots PSYCHE and Numan-influenced Swedish poptronica exponents PAGE.

Sweden was again highly productive with Karin Park, Johan Baeckstrom and Val Solo while Norway took their own approach with FARAOSOFT AS SNOW and ELECTRO SPECTRE setting their standard. Veteran Deutschlanders THE TWINS and PETER HEPPNER returned with new albums after notable recorded absences while next door in Belgium, METROLAND presented themselves as ‘Men In A Frame’.

While the new HEAVEN 17 album ‘Not For Public Broadcast’ is still to be finished, Glenn Gregory teamed by with live keyboardist Berenice Scott as AFTERHERE. Their long-time friend Claudia Brücken performed as xPROPAGANDA with Susanne Freytag and partnered up with one-time TANGERINE DREAM member Jerome Froese, releasing the ‘Beginn’ album in the process.

It was a year of interesting collaborations all-round with UNDERWORLD working with Iggy Pop, U96 linking up with Wolfgang Flür for an excellent single called ‘Zukunftsmusik’ and German techno pioneer Chris Liebing recruiting Polly Scattergood and Gary Numan for his Mute released album ‘Burn Slow’.

Based in Berlin, THE KVB offered up some brooding gothic moods with ‘Only Now Forever’ while Valerie Renay of NOBLESSE OBLIGE released her first solo album ‘Your Own Shadow’.

Highly appealing were a number of quirky Japanese influenced female artists from around the globe including COMPUTER MAGIC, MECHA MAIKO and PLASMIC. But there were also a number of acts with Far Eastern heritage like STOLEN, FIFI RONG, DISQO VOLANTE and SHOOK who continued to make a worthy impression with their recorded output in 2018.

Heavy synth rock duo NIGHT CLUB presented their ‘Scary World’ on the back of tours opening for COMBICHRIST and A PERFECT CIRCLE while also from across the pond, NYXX and SINOSA both showcased their alluring potential.

At the poppier end of the spectrum, Holger Wobker used Pledge Music to relaunch BOYTRONIC with their most recent vocal incumbent James Knights in an unexpected twist to once again prove the old adage to “never say never” as far as the music industry is concerned.

Meanwhile, Chris Payne co-wrote and co-produced the excellent ‘Walking In West Berlin’ EP with KATJA VON KASSEL while also revealing plans for an autobiography and opening for his old boss…

The surprise album of the year was Chris Catrer with his ‘Chemistry Lessons Volume One’ while using a not dissimilar concept with their second album ‘Hello Science’, REED & CAROLINE took their folk laden synthpop out on a US tour opening for ERASURE.

IMMERSION provided a new collection of their modern Motorik as SHRIEKBACK, FISCHERSPOONER, THE PRESETS, HEARTBREAK and QUEEN OF HEARTS all made comebacks of varying degrees with audiences still eager for their work.

Steven Jones & Logan Sky harked back to the days when Gary Numan and OMD would release two albums in one year by offering ‘Hans Und Lieselotte’ and ‘The Electric Eye’ in 2016. Those veteran acts themselves celebrated their 40th anniversaries by going orchestral, something which SIMPLE MINDS also did when they opted to re-record ‘Alive & Kicking’ for the ’80s Symphonic’ collection although Jim Kerr forgot how a third of the song went!

With SIMPLE MINDS also performing a horrible and barely recognisable ‘Promised You A Miracle’ during BBC’s ‘The Biggest Weekend’, making up for the live joke that his former band have become was one-time bassist Derek Forbes with the album ‘Broken Hearted City’ as ZANTi with Anni Hogan of MARC & THE MAMBAS fame.

Other former members of high-profile bands were busy too with Ian Burden, formally of THE HUMAN LEAGUE returning with the Floydian ‘Hey Hey Ho Hum’ while A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS reformed briefly for an orchestral re-run of their catalogue.

With the release of their second album ‘Kinetik’, EKKOES handed over THE HUMAN LEAGUE support baton to SHELTER who came up with their best body of work yet in the more introspective shades of ‘Soar’

That darker approach manifested itself on singer Mark Bebb’s side project FORM with Keith Trigwell of SPEAK & SPELL whose debut long player ‘defiance + entropy’ also came out in 2018.

Having been championed by RÖYSKSOPP, Wales’ MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY returned with ‘Infinity Mirror’ while riding on the well-deserved momentum from opening for OMD, Ireland’s TINY MAGNETIC PETS embarked on their first headlining tour.

Representing North of the border were Ryan Vail and HANNAH PEEL, but hailing from Scotland were WITCH OF THE VALE who proved to be one of the most interesting new acts of 2018 having supported ASSEMBLAGE 23 on their most recent UK visit. There was a good showing from UK acts in 2018 with RODNEY CROMWELL, ANI GLASS, THE FRIXION and FAKE TEAK all issuing some excellent synth tinged songs for public consumption.

NINA’s long awaited debut album ‘Sleepwalking’ was a fine hybrid of synthpop and the currently fashionable Synthwave aesthetic; her live double billing with Canadian synthpopsters PARALLELS was one of the hottest tickets of the year.

The sub-genre was indeed making waves and there were some very enjoyable artists coming out of it like GUNSHIP, Dana Jean Phoenix and Michael Oakley.

However, the endless AOR excesses, moonlight sax breaks and highly unimaginative band monikers using numbers between 80 to 89 affixed to an archaic technology reference, illustrated by yet another neon sunset, VCR grid and Lamborghini, were becoming tiresome.

As Synthwave cynics, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK’s touch paper was being lit big time! The whole point of the synthesizer’s role during the Second British Invasion of the US was to fight against the insipid overtures of AOR like TOTO, CHICAGO and JOURNEY, NOT to make music coated with its horrid stench as THE MIDNIGHT did in 2018 with their long player ‘Kids’.

But there was naivety within some quarters too; electronic music did not begin in 2011 with ‘Drive’, an above average film with a good if slightly over rated soundtrack. However, its cultural influence has led to a plethora of meandering tracks made by gamer boys which sounded like someone had forgotten to sing on them; perhaps they should have gone back to 1978 and listened to GIORGIO MORODER’s ‘Midnight Express Theme’ to find out how this type of instrumental music should be done?

Many of the newer artists influenced by Synth Britannia that ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK has featured have sometimes been accused of being stuck in the past, but a fair number of Synthwave acts were really taking the soggy biscuit with their retro-obsession.

Rock band MUSE’s use of glowing artwork by Kyle Lambert of ‘Stranger Things’ fame on their eighth album ‘Simulation Theory’ sent sections of the Synthwave community into meltdown. There were cries that they had “stolen the aesthetics and concept” and how “it’s not relevant to their sound”!

But WHAM! had Peter Saville designed sleeves and never sounded like NEW ORDER or OMD, while electropop diva LA ROUX used a visual stylisation for ‘In For The Kill’ that has since been claimed by Synthwavers as their own, despite it being from 2009 when Ryan Gosling was peddling graveyard indie rock in DEAD MAN’S BONES 😉

This was one of the bigger ironies of 2018, especially as MUSE have always used synths! One of Matt Bellamy and co’s biggest musical inspirations is ULTRAVOX, indicating the trio probably have a better understanding of the fusion between the synthesizer, rock and classical music, as proven by the ‘Simulation Theory’ bookends ‘Algorithm’ and ‘The Void’, than any static laptop exponent with a Jan Hammer fixation.

It is interesting to note today how electronic music has split into so many factions, but there’s still the assumed generalisation that it is all one thing and that synthpop fans must also like Synthwave, Deep House, EDM, Industrial and those tedious beach chill-out remixes.

Back in the day and even now, some fans of THE HUMAN LEAGUE didn’t like OMD, DEPECHE MODE fans only liked DEPECHE MODE and rock fans had a token favourite electronic band.

Out of all the acts from the Synth Britannia era, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK had very little time for THOMPSON TWINS despite their huge international success, but their leader Tom Bailey’s 2018 solo recorded return ‘Science Fiction’ was warmly received by many.

Just as COLDPLAY and SNOW PATROL fans don’t all embrace ELBOW, it is ok to have preferences and to say so. Not liking the music of an artist does not make you a bad person, but liking everything does not make you a better person either… in fact, it shows you probably have no discerning taste! In 2002, SOFT CELL warned of a ‘Monoculture’, and if there is no taste differentiation in art and music, it will spell the end of cultural enhancement.

Taste is always the key, but then not everyone who loves chocolate likes Hersheys… and with that analogy, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK bids farewell to 2018 and looks forward to a 2019 that includes the return of TEARS FOR FEARS and the first full live shows from Giorgio Moroder, plus new releases by VILE ELECTRODESKITE, VILLA NAH, I AM SNOW ANGEL and LADYTRON.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK Contributor Listings of 2018


Best Album: MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY Infinity Mirror
Best Song: MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY Lafayette
Best Gig: TANGERINE DREAM at London Union Chapel
Best Video: THE SOFT MOON Give Something
Most Promising New Act: VOX LOW


Best Album: BLANCMANGE Wanderlust
Best Song: ELECTRO SPECTRE The Way You Love
Best Gig: OMD at Glasgow Kelvingrove Park
Best Video: NYXX Voodoo
Most Promising New Act: WITCH OF THE VALE


Best Album: DUBSTAR One
Best Song: PAGE Start (Poptronica Version)
Best Gig: DIE KRUPPS + FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY at O2 Academy Islington
Best Video: FIFI RONG Horizon
Most Promising New Act: ZANTi


Best Album: EMIKA Falling In Love With Sadness
Best Song: FIAT LUX It’s You
Best Gig: SOFT CELL at London O2 Arena
Best Video: FAKE TEAK Bears Always Party The Exact Right Amount
Most Promising New Act: WITCH OF THE VALE


Best Album: GUNSHIP Dark All Day
Best Song: SHELTER Karma
Best Gig: IAMX at London Electric Ballroom
Best Video: JUNO REACTOR Let’s Turn On
Most Promising New Act: MECHA MAIKO

Text by Chi Ming Lai
8th December 2018


One is a former member of TANGERINE DREAM and son of electronic music pioneer Edgar, while the other is best known for her being part of PROPAGANDA.

‘Beginn’ sees the first results of a new collaboration between Jerome Froese and Claudia Brücken. Atmospheric album opener ‘(The) Last Dance’ starts with a synth string pad, lo-fi Roland CR78-style drum machine and subtle piano part. From the off, this is a beautifully produced track, Brücken sounds absolutely stunning here and her vocals float ethereally over Froese’s textural synth and guitar parts. Sequencers are used sparingly throughout and the emotional impact comes from the lyrics which catalogue the unavoidable break-up of a relationship “…we danced our dance”.

With a couple of exceptions, this is very much a downtempo, chilled-out album. The tempo rarely raises itself above 100bpm and the second track ‘Wounded’ is another example of this. With its skittery percussion and dark string synth textures, ‘Wounded’ has the kind of production aesthetic and chord progression which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Exciter’. The track’s chorus really lifts off with a dark droning FM-bass synth underpinning everything; lyrically we are again dragged into pretty dark surroundings with Brücken storytelling about a person trapped in a relationship.

‘Flight (of) Fancy’ (there are plenty of brackets on the track names!) lightens the mood considerably and is the most guitar-oriented piece on ‘Beginn’; possibly a bit too lightweight in conception (one could imagine Emma Bunton or Natalie Imbruglia covering this), it’s partially salvaged by a welcome minor key sequencer-based part in the middle 8.

‘Cards’ is similar in tone and conception to Alison Moyet’s some of recent solo works… in fact if you were looking at an overall comparison point for ‘Beginn’, then ‘the minutes’ would be a good place to start. Breakbeats which are introduced later in the track and some middle-Eastern inflected melodies keep the dark vibe going and gets ‘Beginn’ back on track again.

‘Light (of the) Rising Sun’ is a short ambient piano / synth based piece; more of an interlude than a complete song, Brücken delivers another beautiful vocal in a track which has positive and uplifting lyrics which counterpoint some of the darker themes present elsewhere.

‘Whispers (of) Immortality’ is the epic center piece of ‘Beginn’ with Brücken providing a spoken word contribution throughout. The song, which features hissing analogue snare and hi-hats, has a Brücken vocal delivery which is very reminiscent of THE VELVET UNDERGROUND’s Nico, especially on the “here she comes” line.

In contrast, the following ‘Sound (of the) Waves’ is very much a game of two halves, the first stripped back with little percussion, then the second lifting off with more breakbeats.

‘Sweet Sense (of) Liberation’ is a definite highlight of ‘Beginn’ and the most contemporary-sounding piece here by a long shot, ’s xPROPAGANDA bandmate Susanne Freytag. With its deep detuned Reese sawtooth sound and Drum N Bass kick / snare pattern, it wouldn’t sound out of place on a Hospital Records compilation. Adding to the album a welcome change of pace, the track has some PROPAGANDA-style spoken word elements in it’ middle section and sparkling blippy sequencer lines throughout.

The album climaxes (as it started) in a low-key fashion with ‘Unbound Spaces’, featuring a mixture of found sounds and synthetic textures and brings the album to a satisfying and melodic atmospheric conclusion.

Interestingly, ‘Beginn’ is a bit of a curveball in that it’s really not what you would expect considering the backgrounds of the two artists; if you approached it expecting a TANGERINE DREAM album fronted with icy PROPAGANDA vocals, then you may be surprised.

It’s plainly obvious to the listener that ‘Beginn’ has had a lot of time and love invested in it; it is immaculately produced and Brücken has never sounded better.

Her vocals compliment Froese’s synth and guitar textures perfectly and if you are seeking a reflective downtempo album which combines these elements, it’s unlikely you will hear a better one delivered this year. A perfect beginning…

‘Beginn’ is released by Cherry Red Records on 15th June 2018 in download, CD and limited edition double vinyl LP featuring two bonus FLEETWOOD MAC cover versions, pre-order direct from https://www.cherryred.co.uk/artist/brucken-froese/





Text by Paul Boddy
27th May 2018


For fans of electronic music, the surname Froese really needs little or no introduction and Edgar’s son Jerome has forged a musical career which has seen him partnering his father in TANGERINE DREAM between 1990-2006 before pursuing a solo project resulting in four of his own albums.

Following this came a teaming up with ex-TD member Johannes Schmoelling and Robert Waters as LOOM. On the near horizon is the much-anticipated collaborative work with PROPAGANDA’s Claudia Brücken called ‘Beginn’. Jerome kindly took time out to talk about subjects including his musical upbringing, his exposure to cutting edge electronic equipment and the contentious subject of the continuation of TANGERINE DREAM without Edgar’s involvement.

To those that know your background, your musical upbringing might seem obvious, but could you describe how you got into music and some of your early experiences?

At first I was lucky enough to be brought up within a totally strange cultural environment! This was a concern to my parents as well as to the other band members and their circle of friends. Therefore almost all of their artistic activities were geared towards leaving well-beaten paths for entering an entirely new area of sounds and a completely different way of using instruments or things which hardly could be described as instruments.

Ever since I can remember, I was a fan of soundscapes and Sci-Fi technology; so naturally I was very keen to play with all kinds of items which looked or sounded like that. That’s why in the early 70s, an EMS VCS3 synthesizer may have been used by the baby of the family for other than its intended purpose!

Due to the fact that TANGERINE DREAM always wanted to be cutting-edge in terms of equipment, there was a lot of discarded stuff stored in a loft above our office in Berlin. I’m remembering countless big units of Mellotron audio tape cartridges and many other curiosities which have filled the room to the brim for a certain time. Nevertheless, all the newest tech could always be seen at Chris Franke’s huge studio which was located in an old cinema and was definitely a ‘wow’ moment for any ‘electronic’ musician!

Once there, you were able to find prototypes of synth and computer legends like the PPG Wave, Oberheim or the E-mu Emulator as well as the first Apple Macintosh or just some strange custom-built stuff. Chris was a real tech freak, putting his hands on any gadget which was accessible or could be game-changing in some kind of way. Edgar was more pragmatic equipment-wise, selling his unneeded stuff after some time. Some years ago he told me that he only regrets the disposal of his Memory Moog and Oberheim 4 Voice. But I’m going off on tangents…

Were you surprised when you were asked to become part of TANGERINE DREAM?

No, because I slipped into it.

Do you feel that you joined TD at a high or low point in its overall history?

You must never forget that it’s a matter of common knowledge that things went down after Chris Franke left 😉

Well, all right, joking apart. Due to the effect that equipment got smaller, cheaper and all at once widely used by many more artists at that time, it was also much more demanding to be in contrast with the electronic music scene. The days where TD could comfortably run ahead were over and the only choice was to look forward, change tack and create something else, which still is the sound for a certain attitude towards life.

With regard to soundtracks, another strategy was necessary as well because TD’s trademark pioneering film music from the late 70s to mid-80s became undertaken and copied by many local session musicians working at a lower budget and being available 24/7. “Can you please make a score which sounds like TANGERINE DREAM?” suddenly became a common phrase in Hollywood and manys the time we’ve heard that said!

After joining TD in early 1990, I found myself right in the middle of a rebuilding process with lots of ambitions for another approach to the whole musical concept of the band. I won’t judge in public if this was a high or low point of TD, but six-digit sales of most 90s albums confirmed to us that there were still listeners out there.

Your growing up was anything but normal, what were the best and worst parts about having a touring / recording musician as a father?

That cannot be described easily. Certainly one of the best parts was that he encouraged me and others in making music with an abundance of patience and devotion. Edgar was really good in seeing and teasing skills out of people and when he was in a good mood it was always a pleasure to have him around but he could also be very possessive.

Your mother Monique created the wonderful sleeve designs for all of the early TD releases, how does it feel looking back at these and seeing your younger self featured in them?

Actually, it was my dad’s idea to put me on the album covers. Then, most people didn’t know what this was all about and because of my long hair, more than a few were asking: “Who is that little girl appearing on the covers!?”

Only once (for Edgar’s second solo album ‘Epsilon In Malaysian Pale’ in 1975) did my parents arrange some kind of photo session with me for the inner sleeve.

After all, Richard Branson from Virgin liked that picture so much that he used it for the album’s press campaign and he also hung the poster in his personal office.

You are quoted in a previous interview that you were unhappy about the adding of saxophone and live percussion within the group. What was it about this move that you disagreed with?

That’s not totally true. I really like drums and percussion and I think that they were placed very well in most of TD’s history. Especially in 1997 when our studio technician had the vision to build a custom made electric percussion set called Codotronics. A huge set-up, that was based on MIDI-triggered microphones which were controlled by several sampling units.

Emil Hachfeld, the percussionist who played the whole thing, was an outstanding and charismatic musician who was able to set the house on fire. Unfortunately, he died of an asthma attack in 2000 and it became clear that for his replacement he was a really hard act to follow.

Saxophone is another story because I mostly don’t like the sound of this instrument unless you really mess with it. When using a saxophone within instrumental music, you are quickly finding yourself on a razor’s edge ride to muzak and I fear that some 90s TD tunes sounded a bit like that.

What factors influenced you into calling it a day with TANGERINE DREAM?

You know, being and working in a family business is a very special affair. Quite often you’re not in complete agreement with each other, but on the surface there is always some sort of clannishness.

Unfortunately, our ‘blood is thicker than water’ concept completely turned upside down when my mother passed away in 2000 because she always managed to be some sort of an ombudsman within the family.

And that is how it came that some persons took their chance to enter our private and band life with an ambitious intention to blow up all family ties without a qualm.

It was clear from the outset that this wouldn’t go well, so I left TD in late 2006 after 16 years and never had any regrets about my decision.

When it became apparent that TD were going to continue without the involvement of your father, what were your initial feelings about this?

As years go by, Edgar was asking me several times whether I would be interested in continuing with ‘TD’ at some date. Because I know that he would have wanted to ensure that the band will go on within the family. He was therefore rather disappointed when I refused his offer. I did so, out of respect for what he had built up over years. I mean it’s a fact that one day the last light fades away.

I can understand, that people do have persisting manners of sticking to old habits. This applies especially when one is getting older, when memories and fond habits take a fixed place in daily life. But here I feel to say that Edgar has never authorised or selected anybody to continue with TD without him in any shape or form nor gave consent to access his tapes or hard drives.

I really had lots of private ‘father-son’ conversations with Edgar until his death and he precisely told me that he wanted to take things somewhat easier and gradually withdraw from the everyday running of the band from 2017 onwards. Many of the fans knew he already wasn’t in good shape any more. Originally, my aim was to protect his heritage from egotism and avarice from third parties but then everything turned out differently.

As for statements by the current regime and their subjects, I would only say that they have the right to talk such nonsense as they do, since talking rubbish is a human right as well.

If Peter Baumann had changed his mind and decided to rejoin, would this have changed your overall stance on TD still existing as a viable project?


What made you setup your own record label Moonpop?

Back in 1998, we started TDI Music which was our first own label. At that time a huge part of our song catalogue was expiring from record companies and publishers, so we immediately took the chance to re-release all that music in our own way. After a short period of time we were pleasantly surprised about the possibility to open up new vistas. Having this in mind, I was encouraged to set-up another label for my solo projects, that’s all.

Which of your solo albums are you most proud of and why?

I think this still has to be my debut album ‘Neptunes’ from 2005. Just because of the intense use of my favourite instrument, the guitar. During the recordings I was finally able to work out a lot of tricks, sounds and atmos which I’ve created for a while. Shortly after I had the idea to call it ‘Guitartronica’ because my main goal was to develop a guitar sound differently from expectations.

Electronic / synthetic musical instruments and musicians have evolved incredibly over the last 40 years, but there seems to be a lack of development in innovative guitar technology (or guitarists willing to take risks), why do you think this is?

I wouldn’t put it that way. There are many artists out there, creating great music while combining guitar sounds with weird or classic effects, synths and other stuff. It’s just that they aren’t omnipresent. For example: In 2006 I got an album from a band called HAMMOCK because we were label mates in the USA at that time and I really liked their spacey and dreamy guitars embedded in wide effect layers with the addition of colourful voices. Meanwhile they are a well-known name and just did parts of the score for Ubisoft’s ‘Far Cry 5’ game and they didn’t have to change their typical sound for that.

In comparison, synthetic musical instruments have evolved incredibly over the last 40 years but where are we now? So many companies are re-releasing their old stuff in cheap or over-expensive boutique versions and tons of modular systems are congesting the market once again, hoping for a secondary breakthrough.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like this kind of resurgence, especially in regard to better usability and capability and needless to say that I also like to hit step sequencing pads or modulating sounds on a tablet and so on.

But due to my family situation, it’s just that I grew up with having a finger on the pulse of the time when this kind of gear has popped up for the first time, so I’m not going mental on new technology anymore! Nowadays, I only use what’s really suitable for my needs and that is much less than some might think. I mean for guitarists, a campfire is already half the battle 😉

Taking a cursory look at your studio, you seem less obsessed with modular / analogue gear than many producers who create electronic music, is there a particular reason for that?

I’m a sound aficionado and if I do like what I hear I’m not judging about its origin. Digital, analogue, fictional, bulldog … I don’t care. I think it’s much more important where to put the sound in terms of room, modulation and its presence within a composition. Talking to producers who are philosophising for hours and hours about their monophonic analogue basslines like a horny dog isn’t really my thing!

I believe your studio and record label are based on two separate floors of an office block, when you go to compose / produce, does this not make it feel you are clocking into work?

No way, I really like to have all my needs at one place.

You’ve been Grammy nominated in the past, which musical achievement are you most proud of?

To take advantage of keeping my artistic integrity after all these years. Awards are nice but not important.

What is the situation with LOOM at present?

Calm. Unfortunately, the work on the second studio album has come to a standstill in 2017, so I kept my focus on other projects which were not all musically related. Basically LOOM was intended to be a line-up for live shows in the first place and maybe we’ll reduce it to that in the future.

On your website, there is information about the other LOOM guys Johannes and Robert working with Moya Brennan from CLANNAD, will this collaboration see a release?

I guess so, but not under the LOOM brand as previously announced.

You have been working with Claudia Brücken in the studio on the upcoming album ‘Beginn’, what can we expect from that collaboration?

Well I know that expectations are always high, but do not wait for a PROPAGANDA-like album with TANGERINE DREAM influences! For years I always fancied recording an album were I could merge my own sound with vocals and corresponding lyrics.

When Claudia and I met back in 2014, I played her some early demos of eligible songs which she liked very much and so the whole project was about to begin(n). Quickly we both recognized that we were on very good terms with each other, which made this collaboration very joyful and instructive as well. While in production we better and better localised the direction and style where the music should go to.

Anyway, after the first sessions here in Berlin, Paul Humphreys gave us the opportunity to use his London based studio for the final voice recordings while he was touring with OMD in the US for a couple of weeks. And to be honest, his studio was much better equipped for vocal takes than my place. After returning to Berlin, I entered a very intensive period of detail work on the album which lasted for quite a while. In the end it took a bit of time, but Claudia and myself are very happy with result and are now waiting eagerly until its release.

There’s a couple of FLEETWOOD MAC covers on the vinyl edition of the album, this is very intriguing!

Yeah! In the early stages of the production Claudia asked me about my opinion regarding the recording of some cover versions and I noticed that she is an admirer of Stevie Nicks as I am. Then I told her that TANGERINE DREAM were in contention for producing Mrs Nicks 1989 album ‘The Other Side Of The Mirror’ and that we’ve met her in L.A. around that time.

And so it happened that we both were digging out our FLEETWOOD MAC faves which were ‘Sara’ (Claudia) and ‘Gypsy’ (Me). The only condition was to give these compositions a bit of our own trademark. While ‘Gypsy’ is a bit more upbeat, we managed to create an almost ambient version of ‘Sara’.

If you weren’t a successful musician is there any other career that you would aspire to?

Maybe a pilot or at least to have a job at an airport to live out my wanderlust!

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its grateful thanks to Jerome Froese

The album ‘Beginn’ with Claudia Brücken is released by Cherry Red Records on 15th June 2018 in CD, digital and limited edition double vinyl LP, pre-order the latter from https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/brucken-froese-beginn-limited-edition-gatefold-sleeve-2lp-vinyl/





Text and Interview by Paul Boddy
Photos © Jerome Froese Archive
9th May 2018

A Beginner’s Guide To TANGERINE DREAM

If any artist is deserving of a Beginner’s Guide, then it’s Berlin’s finest TANGERINE DREAM.

With a back catalogue spanning over a hundred albums (and that’s not including compilations), without some guidance it would be a pretty daunting task knowing where to start.

Picking a wrong entry point could quite easily put one off from delving further and in TD’s case… this would be a shame as their electronic musical journey (which looked like it had sadly ended in January this year with the passing of founder member Edgar Froese) has so many classic tracks which have gone on to influence future artists.

Founded by Froese in 1967, the band metamorphosised, both musically and personnel-wise, throughout their career. The band’s early genesis featured lengthy kosmische and experimental musical workouts which were characterised by droning organ and Mellotron textures. Championed in the UK by John Peel, this period of the band is often referred to as ‘The Pink Years’ because of the pink ear featured on the Ohr label the albums were released on.

The adoption of the Moog sequencer in the early 70s by the band and subsequent championing of it by member Christopher Franke, plus the purchase of state of the art modular synthesizers helped transform the band’s sound from its early experimental and uncommercial nature.

The newer evolving material, although hardly radio-friendly, was more melodic, electronic and musical enough to catch the ear of Richard Branson, who would go on to sign the band to his fledgling Virgin label and start off ‘The Virgin Years’. Featuring Froese, Franke and Peter Baumann, the first of the ‘classic’ TD line-ups produced albums like ‘Phaedra’ and ‘Rubycon’ which defined the ‘Berlin School’ sound of hypnotic, sequencer-driven electronic music.

Baumann was later replaced by Johannes Schmoelling in December 1979 and was partly responsible for the band’s shift to an even more melodic phase which also saw them diversifying further into film soundtrack production.

It started a run of live and studio albums which have been cited as some of the strongest of their career. ‘The Blue Years’ phase eventually saw the departure of Schmoelling in 1985 with Paul Haslinger replacing him.

With the advances in synthesizer technology, the ‘Blue Years’ heralded a more digital and latterly New-Age-style sound for the band, eventually getting them signed to Jive Electro which released the live ‘Poland’ album, a double LP recorded behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ in sub-zero temperatures.

Even more line-up changes followed after Schmoelling left in Decmber 1985; at one point Edgar’s son Jerome joined the band, but with the integration of live saxophone, flute and percussion, TANGERINE DREAM drifted away from its more pure electronic roots and lost much of its fanbase along the way. The addition of respected synthesist Ulrich Schnauss at the end of 2014 promised a long awaited electronic renaissance.

But the unexpected passing of Froese meant that this line-up was tantalisingly short-lived. With only a handful of Australian dates last November showcasing an updated version of the band’s ‘Sorcerer’ soundtrack with this stripped down line-up, it provided a fleeting glimpse of what was slated to be the ‘Quantum Years’. In a surprise announcement on 6th April 2015, Edgar’s widow Bianca Acquaye announced that TANGERINE DREAM would continue with Schnauss, Thorsten Quaeschning and Hoshiko Yamane.

This Beginner’s Guide showcases both TANGERINE DREAM tracks and ones which feature ex-members. A couple of the tracks featured in the guide are live ones, although anything in the TD back catalogue which is categorised as such should be approached with caution as their live albums were often not really live at all.

Often comprising of concert parts interspliced with studio recordings or overdubs, the most infamous being the ‘Albuquerque, Mexico’ segment of the ‘LiveMiles’ album which was promoted as being a live recording; but a subsequent comparison with a fan’s bootleg revealed that the 30 minute track actually featured nothing that was actually played at the show!

The article aims to focus on the more commercial and melodic phases of the band’s career and strives to give an entry point into one of the electronic genre’s most prolific and important artists. Those that wish to delve further could either research forward or backwards in time with an act that, alongside artists such as JEAN-MICHEL JARRE and VANGELIS, has gone onto provide some of the most influential instrumental electronic music of all time.

TANGERINE DREAM Ricochet Part Two (1975)

Picking a track from TD’s mid 70s ‘purple patch’ is pretty difficult as there are plenty of seminal pieces to choose from, but the B-side of the Virgin live album release ‘Ricochet’ is certainly a landmark piece of electronica. ‘Ricochet Part Two’ (which was mainly sourced from a recording at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls), starts off with a beautiful and pastoral descending Edgar Froese piano figure before being joined by layers of Mellotron flute.

Then a teasing / repeating end section dies away to a hypnotic echoed sequencer part which still sounds incredible today, mainly down to the contrast with the opening of the piece. The intro is reprised later in the piece and the sound of the album signposted how purely electronic and more rhythmic the band would later become.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Ricochet’ via Virgin Records

TANGERINE DREAM Bent Cold Sidewalk (1978)

Of all the albums in TD’s back catalogue, ‘Cyclone’ alongside the latter ‘Tyger’ is generally considered the most Marmite by the band’s followers. This is down to the presence of vocals on both albums. The former work featured vocalist / flautist Steve Jolliffe alongside drummer Klaus Krieger who were drafted in following the departure of Peter Baumann. ‘Bent Cold Sidewalk’ contains many typical TANGERINE DREAM elements.

But the vocals, although effective in places, have the overall effect of dating the track to a time when Progressive Rock loomed large. The opening and closing sections of the song are pretty striking, lots of synthetic brass, rolling drum fills and Jolliffe’s surreal lyrical meanderings which although at times come a little too close to Blackadder’s Baldrick singing “See the little goblin…”. The middle section of the track which follows a more typical sequencer workout recalls Italian horror soundtrack specialists GOBLIN and could have easily been featured on the George Romero zombie classic ‘Dawn of the Dead’.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Cyclone’ via Virgin Records

TANGERINE DREAM Cloudburst Flight (1979)

Quite possibly the track which launched several TV holiday theme tunes, ‘Cloudburst Flight’ from ‘Force Majeure’ starts with a blissed out 12 string guitar part which instantly transports you to a sun-drenched beach somewhere (obviously not too many of those in Berlin!) – a simple pulsing 8 beat bass sequencer and cross-panned electronic percussion ramps up the energy level before a descending bassline and chordal synth provide the main theme to the piece.

A squealing Minimoog solo comes in next before the track winds down to a more sedate conclusion. It’s seven minutes length is certainly a lot more concise than many TD tracks from this era and there are also hints of PINK FLOYD too, elements of the track were re-worked for the track ‘Guido The Pimp’ from the ‘Risky Business’ soundtrack.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Force Majeure’ via Virgin Records

EDGAR FROESE Stuntman (1979)

Outside of TANGERINE DREAM, Froese was prolific as a solo artist too, releasing 8 albums including ‘Stuntman’ whose title track was released as a single on the Virgin label. His solo work is insightful in assessing his contributions to his ‘normal day job’ and gives a feel for the musical and compositional elements that Froese brought to TD. ‘Stuntman’ was an ultra-concise and direct track in comparison to much of his band’s work and the nearest to a Jarre style ‘anthemic’ synth piece.

Totally drum-less, but relying on an LFO filtered bassline to carry the piece, ‘Stuntman’ is wonderfully melodic with its Minimoog lead lines and underpinning Solina string textures making this a perfect entry point into Froese’s solo excursions.

Available on the EDGAR FROESE album ‘Stuntman’ via Virgin Records

TANGERINE DREAM Tangram Set One (1980)

Those familiar with much of TD’s earlier work wouldn’t be surprised with an album which featured only two tracks, but what makes ‘Tangram Set One’ interesting is that rather than being a lengthy and repetitive piece, it comes across as 7 shorter compositions linked almost in a minimix format. Side one of the album really showcases Johannes Schmoelling’s arrival with the band, the track moving through different phases, slow-building sequences at the start.

It truly lifts off at 3’27’ where several melodic driving sequencers converge in a quite stunning moment. The track quickly moves on through a quirky military-style break, a 6/8 part (complete with trademark Froese guitar solo) and then into a melodic Yamaha CP80 piano-based section before a percussive white noise-driven breakdown section, which surely went on to influence DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Oberkorn (It’s a Small Town)’, leads the album into an uplifting polysynth-led conclusion.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Tangram’ via Virgin Records

PETER BAUMANN Strangers in the Night (1983)

Peter Baumann left the band a couple of times, but in 1977 the split was to become permanent. An initial TD sounding / KRAFTWERK influenced solo album ‘Romance ’76’ was released while he still featured in the line-up and this was followed by ‘Trans-harmonic Nights’. This sonically / synthetically helped set the musical template for the first DEPECHE MODE and YAZOO albums with shorter more minimal synth tracks, but ultimately lacking the vocals which would eventually give both of those bands stellar success.

The next stage was an unexpected curveball, with Baumann trying to re-invent himself into a synthpop artist taking cues from Bowie, Numan and Foxx, although critically lacking the vocal talents to match his undeniably skilled synthesizer work. Baumann’s cover of ‘Strangers in the Night’ is a complete re-invention of the Frank Sinatra song to the point that the lyrics remain the only thing in common with the original. The synth work, production and accompanying promo video really timestamp the track, but musically, this version has aged pretty well, with all the sounds forming a template for much of today’s electronic pop.

Available on the PETER BAUMANN album ‘Strangers In The Night’ via Arista Records

Available on the PETER BAUMANN album ‘Strangers In The Night’ via Arista Records

TANGERINE DREAM Hyperborea (1983)

‘Hyperborea’ is an unusual album in the TANGERINE DREAM canon, as despite featuring the classic Froese / Franke / Schmoelling line-up, it doesn’t really sound like anything the act had produced previously. It was almost as if the band decided to throw out the rule book and this resulted in an album which had diverse, almost world-music influences in places. Even though the trademark driving sequencers were still present and correct, the patterns were somehow different…

The title track is the undeniable centrepiece of the album, a glorious two movement, pulse-slowing piece which mainly revolves around a simple descending rich resonant bass and a syncopated gated chordal synth part. A sparse kick and snare pattern ticks away in the background whilst musically the piece perfectly matches the album artwork of a giant glacier. According to Greek mythology, Hyperboreans were mythical people who lived in the far north where the sun shined for 24 hours a day, possibly suggesting an area in the Arctic Circle.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Hyperborea’ via Virgin Records

TANGERINE DREAM Love On A Real Train (1983)

The track which helped sealed TD’s Hollywood film soundtrack credentials is undeniably ‘Love On A Real Train’. Soundtracking Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay’s passionate (and let’s face it, softcore porn-ish) encounter in ‘Risky Business’, it is hard to imagine dance acts like CHICANE and BT sounding the same without the influence that this piece surely had on them. The track itself is beautifully textured, with subtle layers of electric piano, breathy pads and an iconic descending sequencer part.

Subtle shakers and percussion help generate the travelling momentum of the piece while a cyclical bass mixes with the Steve Reich ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ – influenced sequencer elements. In what turned out to be the band’s final album for Virgin, the soundtrack itself actually only featured 15 minutes worth of TD music, the rest comprising of MOR acts such as JOURNEY, PHIL COLLINS and BOB SEGER.

Available on the ‘Risky Business’ OST (V/A) via Virgin Records

TANGERINE DREAM Warsaw In The Sun (1984)

If any criticism could be laid at a lot of mid-period TD work, it would be that much of the percussive / drum elements were often neglected in favour of the intricacy of the musical elements. The majority of the drum programming was pretty basic but functional, and this is not an accusation that can be aimed at this piece. ‘Warsaw In The Sun’ was one of the standout sections from the ‘Barbakane’ side of the ‘Poland’ live album and is hands down one of the most heavy hitting and melodic TD tracks.

Released as a single in two sections, the track has an ultra-memorable hook, with the single version having an alternative version and added Fairlight Orchestra 5 stabs for dramatic effect. The aforementioned kick and snare are almost like DEPECHE MODE in their power and fans of this track are highly recommended to invest in the ‘Poland’ album, which is consistently strong over its four 20+ minute pieces.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Poland’ via Jive Records

TANGERINE DREAM Charly The Kid (1984)

Where much of the era’s soundtrack work was lacking in subtlety, ‘Charly The Kid’ from the film adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘Firestarter’, shows a softer side to the band. Although the movie itself (like a lot of King films) was a bit of a howler, the soundtrack (the band’s fifth) is worth searching out. Although many of the music cues are short and don’t really work outside of the context of the film, ‘Charly The Kid’ with its electric piano and gentle pulsing sequencers works well as a standalone piece of music.

In typical film soundtrack mode, the theme from this track also crops up on three other pieces featured on the album: ‘Crystal Voice’, ‘Shop Territory’. Other TD soundtracks worthy of investigation are ‘Sorcerer’, ‘Thief’, ‘Flashpoint’ and the excellent Kathryn Bigelow vampire pic ‘Near Dark’.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Firestarter’ OST via Jive Records

KLAUS SCHULZE Freeze (1984)

Former TD drummer Klaus Schulze managed to carve out a successful solo career after leaving the band in 1970 and is still making music now, including some successful collaborative work with DEAD CAN DANCE vocalist Lisa Gerrard. Most of his early albums featured lengthy 20-30 minute pieces which were less melodic and more improvisational than the direction his former employers went on to follow.

‘Freeze’, a far shorter and more direct track was used alongside cuts from SHRIEKBACK and IRON BUTTERFLY to great effect in Michael Mann’s ‘Manhunter’. The film, which introduced the cinematic world to Hannibal Lecter (spelt ‘Lecktor’ in this version) was certainly enhanced by its cutting edge (at the time) soundtrack, and the icy Fairlight textures used here by Schulze worked perfectly in the story of the now iconic serial killer.

Available on the KLAUS SCHULZE album ‘Angst’ via Inteam

TANGERINE DREAM Song Of The Whale – Part One: From Dawn (1986)

The ‘Underwater Sunlight’ album is seen by many as one of the band’s last quality albums. Although skirting perilously close to New Age music in places, the opening track on the album (which comes in two parts) is undeniably lush and beautifully engineered – starting with percussive sequencers and breathy digital synths before synthetic guitars join the main theme.

Featuring Paul Haslinger on keyboards, the track also showcases Edgar Froese’s solo guitar work at 3’31’ alongside some big pre-delayed reverb-drenched drums. The piece dynamically moves through different phases before some heavier guitars lead the track back to another twin guitar solo and the main theme at the conclusion. ‘Underwater Sunlight’ the album, is definitely recommended if you are after a long player to chill out to. ‘Part Two: …To Dusk’ is more piano-based, but still beautifully melodic and the remaining pieces although generally more up-tempo make this a pretty cohesive album.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Underwater Sunlight’ via Jive Records

TANGERINE DREAM Running Out Of Time (1989)

Up until 1988, the band were incredibly prolific, but this year saw a slowing down and the release of just two albums, ‘Optical Race’ and the soundtrack to the Steve de Jarnatt movie ‘Miracle Mile’. The film itself is an underappreciated little gem of a movie starring Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham as a couple who tragically fall for each other just as the world goes into a nuclear meltdown.

‘Running Out Of Time’ which (as its title suggests) is featured in the climactic portions of the film where the couple’s doomed romance ends up prematurely with their helicopter freefalling into a primordial swamp. The track is similar in vibe to ‘Love On A Real Train’ and showcases TD’s knack of creating effective soundtrack music which stands up on its own merits outside of the context of the film. During the making of the album, the band were reduced to the two piece of just Froese and Haslinger. Although the film has not dated particularly well, the soundtrack judged on its own merits still holds up.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM album ‘Miracle Mile’ OST via Jive Records


CHRISTOPHER FRANKE Purple Waves (1992)

After exiting the band amicably in 1988, Christopher Franke released a few sporadic solo albums before finding his niche in writing TV and film soundtrack music, most notably for the long-running sci-fi series ‘Babylon 5’ and then setting up his own sound library company Sonic Images. Eventually relocating to Los Angeles from Berlin meant that Franke was at the very heart of the Hollywood film industry and his film work includes music for ‘Universal Soldier’, ‘The Tommyknockers’ and ‘Tales of the Crypt’.

‘Purple Waves’ is very TD-like, ‘The London Concert’ version starting with Prophet 5 pads before bell-like digital synths provide the main melodic parts. ‘White Eagle’-style sequencers pick up the rhythm around 1’40’ before becoming more prominent in the mix around 3 minutes. The middle section of the piece is a typical long and trippy Berlin School sequencer section, with layers of monosynths being joined by a Mellotron part which harks back the early Virgin era of TANGERINE DREAM. The track eventually comes full circle with the re-introduction of the main theme in the closing part of the piece.

Available on the CHRISTOPHER FRANKE album ‘The London Concert’ via Sonic Images

TANGERINE DREAM Silver Scale (1994)

TANGERINE DREAM were certainly not adverse to a bit of cheeky musical recycling in some of their pieces. ‘Silver Scale’ is a prime example, its central sequencer riff cropping up in ‘Diamond Diary’ from the superb ‘Thief’ soundtrack, ‘Church Theme’ from the film ‘Wavelength’ and ‘Horns of Doom’. This, at the time, previously unreleased version is a remixed and extended version for the ‘Tangents’ five disc retrospective collection and successfully pulls together elements from all of the aforementioned tracks.

Wonderful echoed sequencer work and ethereal shifting chords make this an essential inclusion on any TD compilation.

Available on the TANGERINE DREAM box set ‘Tangents 1973 -1983’ via Virgin Records

LOOM Cloudwalk (2013)

The LOOM project is inextricably linked with TANGERINE DREAM in that it includes both ex-members Johannes Schmoelling and Jerome Froese alongside Robert Waters. As well as their own original material, the LOOM live show usually features TD tracks from both the Jerome Froese and Schmoelling eras. ‘Cloudwalk’ is a graceful, floating and rhythmically intriguing electronic piece, beautifully melodic, starting out in waltz time before shifting to 4/4.

The drums throughout are skittering and bitcrushed and suit the quirky sound of the track. If you listen carefully, you can hear musical nods and references to the vocal melody of ‘Bent Cold Sidewalk’.

Available on the LOOM album ‘The Tree Hates The Forest’ via Viktoriapark


Possibly one of the last pieces that Froese worked on before his passing, ‘Zero Gravity’ is a dream (sorry!) combination of TANGERINE DREAM and French synth maestro JEAN-MICHEL JARRE. A collaboration that was a no-brainer, considering the two acts’ career trajectories, has resulted in a track that sounds more like TD than Jarre with its hypnotic sequencer patterns and melodic shifts.

The ABOVE & BEYOND remix takes the main theme and chord progression to turn it into one of their trademark melodic trance tracks. ABOVE & BEYOND were the ideal choice to remix the collaboration, having been influenced by the formative Jarre / TD works which have helped set the musical template for the whole melodic trance and dance genre.

Available on the JEAN-MICHEL JARRE & TANGERINE DREAM single ‘Zero Gravity’ via The Vinyl Factory

Dedicated to the memory of EDGAR FROESE 1944-2015



Text by Paul Boddy
15th August 2015