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Ash Ra Tempel - Ash Ra Tempel (1971)

Updated on August 14, 2016
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Ash Ra Tempel is one of the most notable groups within the current krautrock in the 70's. The group was initially founded by the guitarist Manuel Göttsching, keyboardist and drummer Klaus Schulze, and bassist Hartmut Enke in 1971. All three founding members had previously played together as part of the short-lived group ''Eruption ''; on the other hand, Schnitzler and Schulze had worked together on the first album of Tangerine Dream.

His music is characterized by being very cosmic and atmospheric, and instead of writing letters in english, since the german language was not popular in the rock of the moment, Ash Ra Tempel decided to make purely instrumental music.

The band had its debut with an eponymous album in June 1971, this production is considered by critics as a classic of its kind; it is essentially an exploration and development approach rock space much like ''Electronic Meditation'' , first album of Tangerine Dream, perhaps unsurprisingly, given the presence of Klaus Schulze. The work has only two tracks, two large spatial sessions between 19 and 25 minutes each, showing a split personality, offering two very different soundscapes, like two side of the same coin.

The first session, ''Amboss'' is dizzying and overwhelming, pure psychedelic space rock, pure psychedelia; begins with a lush keyboard painting from the beginning a dark and mystical landscape, with accents on percussion, keyboard takes the leading place in the sound, then go moving the sound to a furious jam in which the guitar takes the main place , flooding of feedback, distortion and great solos to the jam session, highlighting Göttsching as large electric gunner. This is a stunning piece from start to finish, combining the best of heavy psychedelia, with space sounds and large electronic innovations in guitar and keyboard.

The second part, ''Traummaschine'', is proto-environmental, more dramatic and atmospheric, runs through the territory that Tangerine Dream explore on their album ''Zeit''. This time the band reaches a greater conjunction between the various passages and changes between each; use other techniques, especially the sounds that brings him Göttsching guitar, some additional percussion bongos type are added, and so they create an atmosphere that has elements of the first session, but with a less conventional and riskier volatility.

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Both ''Amboss'' and ''Traummaschine'' the most outstanding is Manuel Göttsching, with his guitar, which sets the limits and points of every moment and fills the sound with distortion-laden solos. For his part, Klaus Schulze, provides a very important sound at atmospheric level but doesn't play a role as leader in the sound, the band format probably limited his abilities or talent and this caused him to leave the band in search of a solo career, with which explode and explore their talents, to amazing places, planting basis for new sounds and becoming an undisputed icon of electronic music.

With this album the band immediately receives as kosmische oversized power trio, sessions are developed in a very intuitive way and, of course, improvised, at times the instruments reach such a merger that is not distinguished as such, but only listening to an amazing electronic environment. Overall the album is very good, ground basis for future new sounds, and visiting various electrical territories that would be exploited more effectively both in later albums of Ash Ra Tempel and other bands as well.

Manuel Göttsching
Manuel Göttsching | Source

After the release of the first album, came ''Schwingungen'' 1972, ''Seven Up'' with Timothy Leary, also from 1972, ''Join Inn'' and ''Starring Rosi'' of 1973. In 1975 recorded the soundtrack ''Le Berceau de Cristal'', unpublished until 1993. After this release, the band changes its name to ''Ashra'' lead entirely by Manuel Göttsching, who was always a vital member sound Ash Ra Tempel, but this time taking a total place, as if it were his own project, in fact it is said that at times the band was formed only by Göttsching.

Ash Ra Tempel - Le Berceau de Cristal

Nothing short of an essential album of Krautrock that must be in your collection. I won't forget when I bought the 1997 LP reissue on Spalax. In hindsight, it was a lousy reissue. It did not feature the cool fold-out gimmick cover, instead it included a CD booklet. I really wished Spalax showed a little more care in their reissues. At that time I still didn't have the Internet, so I was basically confined with what I could find at various record stores near where I lived, or mail order catalogs.

"This reissue was what I could find at the time at a nearby record store. Regardless of the shortcomings of that reissue, this album just simply blew me away. This lineup included Manuel Göttsching, Hartmut Enke, and Klaus Schulze. At this time in his career, Schulze was primarily a drummer, so don't expect any synth or organ work. What you get is just amazing spacy guitar-dominated Krautock, and they seem to be rather contrasting to each other."

"Amboss" doesn't take very long before it gets into an aggressive rocking jam. The band just doesn't let up for nothing! Then there's "Traummaschine", which is largely a calm, proto-dark ambient piece with a dark, eerie, sinister vibe, although it picks up steam with Manuel's guitar playing and it actually stars rocking, but then it calms down.

An essential classic, as far as I'm concerned.

You can also check this album:

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