While many band members of Tangerine Dream started a successful solo career after they had left the band (Klaus Schulze, Conrad Schnitzler, Peter Baumann, Johannes Schmoelling, Chris Franke or Paul Haslinger, only to name a few), TD's founder Edgar Froese launched his solo career in that year TD got their contract with the British record label Virgin. His debut album Aqua was recorded in winter 1973/1974 in Berlin at the same time TD's Virgin debut Phaedra was recorded in England. The reason for Edgar Froese to produce an album on his own was the need of additional financial support. It allowed TD to develop their custom-built equipment. According to Edgar Froese, his advance was immediately invested in the acquisition and development of the then unknown sequencers and modular synthesisers. The water that can be heard on the title track is the water tube in his apartment.
Edgar Froese used an Artificial Head System (a replica of a human head fitted with condenser microphones, built by AKG and Sennheiser) for recording noises, especially those of airplanes approaching the Berlin airport. Unfortunately the resulting three-dimensional effect could be reproduced adequately only with headphones but not through two speakers. Thus this experiment was not continued on later recordings by Edgar Froese or Tangerine Dream.
The album was originally released in two different versions, one by Brain Records in Germany, and the other by Virgin Records in the rest of the world:
The track order for both these was different (by exchanging side a of the record with side b).
Two tracks (Panorphelia and Upland) were mixed differently.
The background image of the cover was rotated by 180 degrees (thus, the front cover of the Brain release uses the upside-down back-cover of the Virgin release and vice-versa).
The reason behind these differences is unknown.
Aqua has also been issued in a special French version, called Aqua II, to promote the release of the CMC 440 multiterminal system.
The album was released on CD in 1987. Later the CD was also released as part of a 3 CD box set called Ambient, together with the albums Timewind by Klaus Schulze and Blackouts by Ashra.
In 2012 the original album was re-released as part of the compilation box Solo (1974-1983) - The Virgin Years, which was carefully remastered and provides an excellent sound quality (probably much better than the original release).
The 2005 Re-Recording
In April 2005 a reworked version of this album has been released by Edgar Froese. All tracks from the original album have been more or less 'tangentized', that is, remixed and partially re-recorded in a similar way like on Beyond The Storm and the Ambient Highway series. Especially the title track is underlayed with modern sounding rhythm and bass sequences, which completely change the mood of this composition in an interesting way. While the composition Upland seems to be the untouched version of the original release, the heavily reworked version of this track, as known from Beyond The Storm and Ambient Highway Vol. 4 (retitled Bourbon Street Parade on the latter) re-appears as kind of bonus track, now titled Upland Dawn. Anyway, like with similar reworkings Edgar Froese has done before, it is left to the subjective opinion of the listener whether he prefers the original or the new versions. Though the inner page of the 2-page insert clearly states that the album contains new recordings, the fact that this CD does not feature the original versions is not recognizable from the outside.
Like on all releases since 2003, the artist's name now includes his middle initial W. on the cover and in the credits. The early cover previews of the forthcoming 2005 re-releases used an identical style of artwork, featuring the same typeface and the reduced original artwork (or an excerpt of it) in a monochrome, wide frame, which made these re-releases some kind of a series. Of the final releases only Ages and, to a certain degree, Epsilon In Malaysian Pale used this artwork style. The re-release of Aqua now features a completely new design using artwork by Edgar Froese instead of the original photo by his wife Monika.
The order number is neither printed on the package nor the CD, but the number given below is the order number the Eastgate Music Shop lists this release. Copies sold in the UK have been found with an additional barcode sticker showing the TDP number listed below.
In January 2007 this release became available as MP3 download at the Tangerine Dream Download Shop.
In June 2009 the 2005 re-recording of Aqua was re-released in Japan as part of a series of HiQualityCDs with mini LP paper sleeves featuring a slightly changed cover artwork, changing the album title to Aqua 2005 and leaving out Edgar Froese's middle initial again.
LP [a]: L 35247; multi-coloured labels, foc
Promo-LP [a]: VRLP 11993; multi-coloured labels with sticker
LP [a]: VRLP 11993; multi-coloured labels
LP [a]: 840 041; multi-coloured labels
Promo-LP [a]: 2812 022; blue labels, cardboard box
LP [a]: 2933 725; green labels, foc
LP [b]: 1053; green labels
LP [b]: 1053; black labels
LP [b]: 0001.053; yellow labels
LP [b]: 0060.404; black labels; front cover with imprint "1st Brain Recordings"
CD [a]: 258 447; identical to UK version; sticker with German number on jewel case
CD [a]: 787 214-2
CD [c]: eastgate 004 CD; red/white disc; matrix code: 49004