Tangerine Dream live in concert. 1997 / Photo by Ralf Roletschek (Wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

That Time Tangerine Dream almost moved to Australia

I was listening to an interview with Tangerine Dream recorded during their 1982 tour — and I was shocked to suddenly hear that they had been planning to relocate to Australia.

At first, I thought it was a joke they were making with the interviewer, Donnie Sutherland. Visitors to Oz will often graciously say that they love the country, the beaches, the way of life.

But listening to that part of the interview again, I was surprised to hear Edgar Froese saying: “We tried to move to Australia, and build a studio . . . but your government unfortunately did not allow it.”

Holy shit? Really? Tangerine Dream tried to move here?

Already, their music had made a huge influence in Australia, thanks to a tour back in 1975. And in turn, this tour had made a great impression on the band: Within a few months of returning to Germany, Edgar Froese recorded his second solo album – Epsilon in Malaysian Pale. Taking only three days to record, and describing the inspiration as being nearly ‘mystical’, the A-side was a musical reflection of his jungle-trips in Malaysia — while the B-side, ‘Maroubra Bay’ was based on a surf-beach, not far from the centre of Sydney.

Edgar Froese would say in another interview with a Sydney music mag that their 1975 Australian tour had “influenced our music quite strongly for a year or two . . . everything smells in a different way there, everything looks different, everything feels different. For a European, it’s completely strange. I found it like being on another planet.”

For the Australian government to have knocked Tangerine Dream back from migrating here was a terrible mistake; Tangerine Dream have been a major musical force, shaping the sound of ‘electronic’ music for almost fifty years.

Imagine what it would be like if they had set up a studio here?  How would it have influenced Australian musicians, interested in this area of music?

After asking people in the Tangerine Dream fan community about this, I have learnt that Tangerine Dream were also involved with the anti-nuclear movement at that time — and this would most likely be the reason that the Australian Government had rejected their application.

Anyway, the above song ‘Kiew Mission’ (which is also performed in the Australian interview video) encapsulates this experience, Tangerine Dream’s attempt to bring people together through peaceful protest. It is also one of their most beautiful tracks, with the continents of the world being recited in Russian . . . Australia even gets a mention — though I’m not sure we deserve it.

But that’s the point of the song: it is the governments of the time that need to be kept in check (like ours) and it is usually creative people who end up attempting to do this through their art.

And what remains is the art, not the politicians or the conflict.

Thanks to Andy King and Zest: The Unofficial Tangerine Dream Newsletter FB page, Michael Berling and Voices in the Net TD discography. For a background to their 1975 Australian tour you can read this by  Garry Dobinson.

Band image courtesy of Ralf Roletschek (Wikimedia/CC-BY-SA-3.0)

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