After 33 years Peter Baumann is back to expand the frontier of electronic music
Tangerine Dream expanded the frontiers of electronic music back in the 70s - now Peter Baumann is at it again with new album Machines Of Desire
'Polymath’ is a much-abused term these days, but Peter Baumann is without doubt the real deal. From 1971 to 1977, he was a member of Tangerine Dream at a time when the band were expanding the frontiers of progressive electronic music with a series of landmark albums, including Phaedra and Stratosfear.
After leaving the band, he pursued a solo career before founding the Private Music label. Here, as producer and company head, he championed instrumental electronic/acoustic artists such as Yanni and Suzanne Ciani, and helped reboot the careers of jazz and blues icons such as Etta James and Taj Mahal. And then, wanting to reach out beyond his musical hinterland, he founded The Baumann Foundation, a think tank created to explore the experience of being human in the 21st century. He also co-authored a controversial book on the “evolutionary implications of the September 11 attacks”.
But the reason Prog is talking to Baumann today is because 33 years since his last record, he’s released Machines Of Desire, a new album that both embraces the darker end of modern electronica and harks back to his classic work from the 1970s. However, the initial sessions that gave rise to the album started on a tragic note. Baumann had maintained his friendship with Tangerine Dream founder Edgar Froese over the years, and when he found himself bitten once again by the music bug, he met with Froese in early January 2015 with a view to a possible collaboration.
“We left it that I would do a couple of sketches and come back in February to see if he wanted to work on it or not. When his wife Bianca called me, I said, ‘Okay, let’s talk about the dates we’re going to meet,’ but she said, ‘Peter, I have really bad news for you…’”
Froese had died suddenly just a few days after their meeting from a pulmonary embolism.