Review – Tangerine Dream @ Krake festival

This (German) (p)review appeared in the Berliner Zeitung. We translated it for you. Please note that all (c) are with Berliner Zeitung, Lenja Stratmann & Franka Klaproth.

The original article can be found here, more info about the Krake festival here.

Tangerine Dream: “Music should tempt people to drift away from everyday life”

The Krake Festival doesn’t want to limit itself to one genre, nor do its headliners. We spoke to two: Tangerine Dream and Rosa Anschütz.

Attention fans of electronic music: This Friday the Krake Festival starts in Berlin, and with a bigger and more diverse line-up than ever before. The name says it all: like an octopus with tentacles, the festival will be spread over two consecutive weekends (12.08.-21.08.) for five days at several locations in Berlin. The event has been organized and launched since 2010 by the Berlin label and promoter Killekill. The crew itself describes the event as a “festival for experimental dance music” – it should offer space for genres that cross borders as well as for unusual performances. Electronic music is presented in its many different facets. But hip-hop, post-punk and drum ‘n’ bass are also represented.

Tangerine Dream: Experimental Electro since 1967

Tangerine Dream, a pioneering band in the field of electronic music, will kick things off on Friday. You can experience the live concert in the Silent Green. It’s the band’s first time playing the Krake Festival. Tangerine Dream is a music formation that was founded by Edgar Froese in 1967 and achieved great international success. Along with Kraftwerk from Düsseldorf, Froese and his band were the first in Germany to experiment with electronic music and thus attract the masses.
Today the band no longer consists of the original members (Froese passed away in 2015), but it was continued at the express wish of the founder and is no less successful than in the early years. In the 55 years of band history, a total of over 100 studio albums and over 60 film scores were created.
Thorsten Quaeschning, composer and piano synthesizer for Tangerine Dream, feels in good hands at the open-genre Krake Festival. He describes that the band doesn’t like to be placed under the bushel of a certain genre of music. “It’s difficult to depict genres. We often say Krautrock, which is uncomfortable on many levels. But you don’t resist when there are people who, for example, also Neu! [Krautrock band, editor’s note R.] like, then bring it to our concerts.” Genre names could be a figurehead, but also cause pigeonholing, which doesn’t go with the “cosmic music” as the band itself describes it – it should connect everything.

Quaeschning says that he himself finds naming songs difficult, as this limits the listener’s mental cinema from the outset. Precisely because of what the song name already suggests to the subconscious. Her music is about getting listeners involved in experiences with sounds. “The idea is to trigger a mood in people. That they allow themselves to be tempted to turn away from everyday life and drift in one direction.” Many of them stand in the audience at their concerts with their eyes closed.

The uniqueness of Tangerine Dream concerts ultimately lies in the fact that they play a live composition at the end of each performance. That is, they agree on a tempo and root key and start composing in real time. “We call it a session.” This can last from 15 minutes to two hours – “sometimes longer,” says Quaeschning with a grin. The band apparently enjoys what they do and has infected people all over the world with their music.

In this way, Tangerine Dream creates electronic and analogue music and is inspired by the sounds of nature and a wide variety of musicians: Beatles, Bowie, Bach – these are just a few of the names that Quaeschning lists. There are also various sources of inspiration for the name of the band. At least, that’s what she wants it to appear like. Quaeschning does not want to reveal whether Salvador Dalí’s painting “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or the grass of the same name was the decisive factor in the band’s name. The answer lies somewhere in between. Ultimately, the entire festival is as colorful as the roots of Tangerine Dream. Each day gives space to a different electronic music subculture.
Rosa Anschütz sings to electronic melodies
Tangerine Dream will also be accompanied by Rosa Anschütz on Friday at the Krake Festival. Born in Berlin, she made her debut in 2019 with the EP “Rigid”, this year she released the album “Goldener Strom”. She describes her work as a composer and vocalist as “transmedial”. She explains: “I try to bring visual and audio together, I think that somehow belongs together.” She finished her art studies with a sound installation about songwriting. In the transmedial area you are in the in-between – where things meet.

Anschütz is “very likeable” about the concept of the Krake Festival: After all, it relies on fluid transitions instead of rigid specifications. Anschütz would ultimately classify himself as electronic music. In fact, their songs also contain rather unusual elements by today’s genre standards, such as the use of the voice. “The voice is one of the most important instruments for me,” says Anschütz. “She has the power to convey important information.”

Analog musical instruments also play a role in Anschütz, which is rather unusual for modern electronic music. According to Anschütz, genres always have certain codes and aesthetics. Speaking of her own relationship to these norms, she explains: “I’m not saying I don’t care, it sounds so unconscious. I observe what is going on and try to free myself from it.” The issue of freedom plays an important role for her in general. So she used to play in orchestral settings. Looking back, she says: “Electronic music meant emancipation for me.”

She has also had a monthly radio set in Hong Kong for the past two years, which grew out of her longstanding relationship with Japan. "I find electronic releases from China the most progressive, even if it's politically very restrictive there." And the music on your own doorstep? Berlin was formative in the way she consumed music, as a space that paved her way to electronic music. She has just spent five years in Vienna for her studies, but states: "Berlin has always remained a very inspiring place for me." Electronic music runs through Berlin. "She's all over Berlin - and you can feel that."
After an exciting Friday, the festival continues in a similarly exciting way. Some of the festival performances take place during the day or sometimes in the evening. The fourth and fifth days together form a 36-hour DJ set. Tangerine Dream and Rosa Anschütz, who both play in front of an international audience, are definitely looking forward to their home game in Berlin.