RIP Edgar Froese, Music Surrealism Legend Of ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ Soundtrack Fame [Videos]

Edgar Froese, pioneer of electronic, experimental, and other-worldly music, has died at age 70. On the Tangerine Dream Facebook page, the surviving band members state the following.

“This is a message to you we are very sorry for … On January 20th, Tuesday afternoon, Edgar Froese suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from the effects of a pulmonary embolism in Vienna. The sadness in our hearts is immensely. Edgar once said: ‘There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address.’ Edgar, this is a little comfort to us.”

News outlets like the Guardian U.K. are publishing biographies about Edgar Froese that talk of his involvement with founding Tangerine Dream. Adding to the biography of his music, the AV Club paraphrases his life and work and describes him as follows.

“An art student who arrived in West Berlin in the late 1960s, amid a rising generation of young experimentalists who were inspired equally by psychedelic rock, surrealism, and rapidly developing electronic technology. Froese and his compatriots in exploring music and multimedia would soon come to be known as the ‘Berlin School.’ While their counterparts in the Dusseldorf School such as Kraftwerk, Can, and Neu! would develop the more percussively rock-derived, motorik rhythms into the Krautrock that would eventually give way to techno and synth-pop, the spaced-out Berlin School created the lengthy soundscapes that presaged ambient music, trance, drone, and new age.”

Edgar Froese founded the band Tangerine Dream in 1968. In a 1994 interview by Electronic Sound Magazine U.K., Edgar Froese says the following.

“We were the first people to use synths and sequencers, but we never actually thought of ourselves as ahead of our time. We had a vision to create sounds which were original and different, and that’s all there was to it. It’s kind of strange to now be seen as an inspiration for so many young bands.”

The unique style Edgar Froese became known for from the start may be due to his influence by surrealist Salvador Dali. Before forming Tangerine Dream, Edgar Froese’s band The Ones performed at Salvador Dali’s villa around 1966. In an interview about that experience with The Quietus in 2010, Edgar Froese says the following.

“The Ones were a two years adventure and the guys I played with had no interest in following my experimental path into the different worlds of music. Dali was quite a big influence in my life because his philosophy of being as original and authentic as possible had touched me very intensively at that time. As he used to be incomparable I invested a lot of time, too, in training myself to follow such a philosophical path. When I met Dali the first time I was 22, a youngster who knew immediately that nearly everything is possible in art as long as you have a strong belief in what you’re doing.”

Edgar Froese worked with Tangerine Dream for several years, but it was when their 1973 album Atem was named Album of the Year by the famed U.K. radio DJ, John Peel, that their popularity began to explode. In 1974, major label Virgin Records released Phaedra. To date, there are over 100 Tangerine Dream albums spanning six decades, but Edgar Froese also has several solo recordings.

According to Billboard Magazine, “Unlike the extremely propulsive music of some of their peers, Tangerine Dream’s electronic music was less about mimicking the rhythms of urban landscapes and more about evoking cosmic, space-y landscapes.” These cosmic and spacey landscape sounds followed Edgar Froese when he did musical work with major movie productions in the 1980s such as The Keep, Wavelength, Flashpoint, Miracle Mile, and Firestarter.

In recent pop culture, Edgar Froese’s band, Tangerine Dream, is famed as the musicians behind tracks in the Grand Theft Auto 5 video game. Edgar Froese’s most recent studio work with Tangerine Dream was released in June, 2014, and is titled Chandra – The Phantom Ferry Part II.

[All images are from the referenced links.]