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Peter Baumann: 'Music was the fourth entity in Tangerine Dream'

As one-third of Tangerine Dream in their wildly experimental early-70s period, Peter Baumann has seen it all, from being pelted with fruit and veg to accusations of desecrating cathedrals...

Peter Baumann’s audition for Tangerine Dream was, by any standards, a little unorthodox. Invited over as a possible replacement for outgoing organist Steve Schroyder, the 18-year-old was faced with one tiny problem: he couldn’t actually play keyboards. Band members Edgar Froese and Christopher Franke pressed on regardless. Within 20 minutes, Baumann was offered the job.

“I knew the difference between white and black keys, but that was about it,” he recalls of that day in 1971. “I got together with them and Edgar said: ‘Just start playing.’ That was it. It was a very extreme exploration of sound and its modifications. At the time, Edgar was also using the guitar in very unconventional ways. I had a reverberation spring attached to my Farfisa organ, which I started to rattle, and it made an enormous, thunderous noise. It was an aggressive sound that really disrupted things, a counterpoint to some kind of smooth, tonal landscape. After the session, Edgar went: ‘Yeah, that was very cool. Let’s go and play a concert.’ When it came time to get on stage, the lights dimmed and we just started to make sounds. It was very adventurous.”

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