Edgar Froese, founding member of influential German electronic music band Tangerine Dream, died Tuesday in Vienna. He was 70.
The cause was of death was a pulmonary embolism, according to a statement on the band's website.
Along with Kraftwerk in the 1970s, Tangerine Dream experimented with electronic rock and dance music using analog and later digital synthesizers that laid a template for a generation of musicians and bands to come.
"This is a very difficult field of music," he told The Times in 1977. "You have to know so much about electronics, about the equipment you are using.... It's not just playing some chords on a guitar."
Edgar Willmar Froese was born June 6, 1944, in Tilsit in East Prussia. (Now part of Russia, the town was renamed Sovetsk.)
He formed the band, which at first used traditional instruments, in 1967, and was the only constant member of its ever-shifting lineup. As an electronic ensemble, the group was known for its minimalist presentations in concert.
Times music reviewer Robert Hilburn said of Tangerine Dream's 1977 performance at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, "The three Dream members resembled technicians in a space-age laboratory as they sat at separate banks of synthesizer control panels. Except for some occasional spotlights in the second half of the set, they were illuminated only by flickering bulbs on the panels.
"The ultimate in anonymous rock."
The band's music was also heard in movies, such as "Risky Business" (1983) and "The Sorcerer" (1977).
News of Froese's death saddened synthesizer enthusiasts attending the National Assn. of Music Merchants convention last week in Anaheim.
"Edgar was getting in on the ground floor before synthesizers had presets," said Jack Hotop of Korg USA, distributor of Korg electronic instruments. "You had to turn the knobs. You had to craft your sound and really create your own fingerprint in a way that set you apart from anyone else."
Times staff writers Ryan Faughnder and David Colker contributed to this report.