Jun 14, 2015

Sundaze 1524


Today even more from that band that has exerted a relatively large influence on later space rock and krautrock bands.  .... N'joy

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Along with Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel (later Ashra) was one of the first bands to convert the trippier side of late-'60s psychedelia into the kosmische rock of the '70s. Most Ash Ra titles were solely the work of Manuel Göttsching, plus any other additional players who happened to be around during the recording of his ten albums. Göttsching trained in classical guitar and studied improvisational music plus electronics at school. In 1970, he formed Ash Ra Tempel with no less than Klaus Schulze (fresh from a brief stint in Tangerine Dream) and Hartmut Enke. All three founding members had previously played together as part of the short-lived group Eruption founded by Conrad Schnitzler. Prior to that Schnitzler and Schulze had worked together in Tangerine Dream.  After a self-titled album in 1971, Schulze left for a solo career; Göttsching continued on with a variety of bandmembers and guests, including Timothy Leary on 1973's Seven Up (and Schulze again, for Join Inn).

Ash Ra Tempel released its self-titled debut album in June 1971. This release is considered by critics to be a classic of the genre; Schulze temporarily departed for a solo career shortly after its release. Schwingungen (1972), Seven Up (with Timothy Leary) (1972), and Join Inn with Schulze again (1973) are all considered key works from the band. The pop-oriented 1973 album Starring Rosi was thus named because it featured lead vocals by Rosi Mueller.

Their music is widely characterized as cosmic and atmospheric. The early albums were more psychedelic-oriented and all had one lengthy track per side: one more powerful and dramatic, the other of a more atmospheric nature. Instead of writing English lyrics, since German language was not popular in rock music at the time, Ash Ra Tempel more or less decided not to have lyrics in their songs.

By 1975, Göttsching had released his first solo album (Inventions for Electric Guitar) and though Ashra returned the following year, the next two records by the "group" were Göttsching-only albums, the brilliant New Age of Earth in 1976 and Blackouts one year later. For the 1980s, most Ashra LPs were band-setting albums (with the assistance of guitarist Lutz Ulbrich and drummer Harald Grosskopf) while Göttsching solo records (like the landmark E2-E4) were, truly, solo records. He also reunited with Schulze to work on Alphaville's 1989 LP, The Breathtaking Blue.

Later, after recording the soundtrack Le Berceau de Cristal (1975; unreleased until 1993) Ash Ra Tempel shortened its name to Ashra, making a more melodic, synthesizer-based music. In 2000 the band was reunited in the line up of Manuel Gottsching and Klaus Schulze. The pair had previously worked together on Schulze's album In Blue.

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(review at Discogs)
This is one of the epic Guitar/Synth albums of the late 70's that builds on use of delayed and looped guitar and analog synth sequences. This is where Ash Ra really takes off from the foundations of the Ash Ra Tempel band into Manuel's headspace and with amazing results.

He's later revisited some of his classic E2-E4 works by treating it as the contemporary classical composition it should be seen as, using multiple guitars to perform that piece live. I don't think he could ever pull that off with this, with only Manuel playing, per the liner notes, 'Sequencer, Keyboards and a lot of guitar."

I could compare it to Tim Blake's Crystal Machine or Tangerine Dream, but Manuel Gottsching really owns the territory this release explores, as a logical extension of his work with Ash Ra Tempel as they evolved and dropped acid with Tim Leary, to this... outward and onward.

Blackouts might sound a bit less uncommon now, decades later... but if you you were even alive before 1980 and had a chance to hear this you were lucky to ever find it, and over the years this has become recognized for the cult classic it has always been in the minds of us lucky enough to have had this to chill out to back in the late 70's and early 80's.

Keep in mind that this was done with minimal technology at a time when few people had hands on a studio with gear capable of recording this, and that this is one of the guys with the vision to see and hear what could be done with it and where it could lead. It was amazing to hear then, when you'd never hear anything like this on radio, when the Internet didn't exist, and when you were pretty damn luck if you ever found a copy of this or someone who had it, and could kick back, and chill... and it's still an adventure now, when making music that sounds sort of like this isn't hard, but still requires more talent than most people will ever have to even get close to this good.

"This record should be heard comfortably" is what the back cover advises.

Ashra - Blackouts (flac 263mb)

01 77 Slightly Delayed 6:46
02 Midnight On Mars 6:51
03 Don't Trust The Kids 3:15
04 Blackouts 4:36
05 Shuttle Cocks 8:29
06 Lotus Parts I-IV 16:56

Ashra - Blackouts (ogg  111mb)

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With the addition of guitarist Lutz Ulbrich and drummer Harald Grosskopf, Ashra became a full-fledged band for the first time in several years. No surprise, then, that tracks like "Ice Train" and "Club Cannibal" are quite rock-oriented even with Göttsching's continued reliance on an assortment of synthesizers. Correlations still has some fine moments, though they're more tied to proto-synth pop than the space music of past Ashra classics.

Ashra - Correlations (flac 246mb)

01 Ice Train 7:40
02 Club Cannibal 5:25
03 Oasis 4:43
04 Bamboo Sands 4:38
05 Morgana Da Capo 5:24
06 Pas De Trois 8:59
07 Phantasus 5:07

Ashra - Correlations (ogg 100mb)

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Belle Alliance is a strong progressive rock album from Ashra -- Manuel Göttsching, Harald Grosskopf, and Lutz Ulbrich. There are lots of influences at work on this album. There are punk rock attitudes, ska guitar riffs, Berlin school sequences, jazz overtones, and ambient atmospheres. Wudu opens and sets the scene for the fast, almost punk inspired (!) Screamer. Things then return to normality for the next track, Boomerang, a gentle, melodic, almost "soft rock" piece. Things get more intense with Aerogen, a screaming track that needs a BIG Hi-Fi and plenty of volume to enjoy at its best. The guitar playing here is wonderful (Manuel and Steve Hillage are two of my Guitar Heros/Zeros). Things then start to slow down and mellow a bit with the next one, Sausalito; a light rock track that re-introduces the sequencer half way through to great effect.

Things then return to the mid seventies influence. Kazoo is perhaps more advanced and with more urgency and beauty than ever. The drums are kept well in the background and the (always simple and easy to follow) harmonious melodies of keyboard, guitar and bass are very moving to me - I love this track.... The next one, Code Blue, is worthy of Klaus Schulze, a high acolade I hope... Organ chords blend into a lovely light sequencer pattern, rising in key to a climax and gently fading into a real "ambient" setting. The album is finished off with Mistral, a sort of consolidation of what we've listened to so far and also a sort of farewell, as it was around three years before we heard from Mr Goettsching again and, iconic though E2-E4 is, it's totally different to what went before..

Ashra - Belle Alliance  (flac 268mb)

01 Wudu 2:29
02 Screamer 4:26
03 Boomerang 3:29
04 Aerogen 3:54
05 Sausalito 4:24
06 Kazoo 5:42
07 Code Blue 15:03
08 Mistral 3:41

Ashra - Belle Alliance  (ogg 103mb)

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