Recorded: March-June 1976, Berlin.
- Sunrain [7:28]
- Ocean of Tenderness [12:36]
- Deep Distance [5:46]
- Nightdust [21:50]
Manuel Göttsching - keyboards, synthesizer, guitar.
This 48 minute classic electronic music album from 1976 has finally been reissued on CD in 2008.
A lively blend of pleasant electronics and nimble guitar produces a dose of softly upbeat tuneage possessing a cheery disposition that is quite infectious.
The general character of the music is glistening and very fluid. The electronics sparkle with vibrant optimism. Airy textures are enhanced by sprightly loops that weave mesmerizing tapestries of sound full of bubbling diodes and dreamy sweeps. Keyboards generate chords that are set into perpetual motion, functioning as a foundation for other tender electronic delineations.
Some of the guitarwork here is heavily processed and ends up disguised as auxiliary electronics. Göttsching’s style of looping notes into sequential echoes has inspired a generation of musicians to mimic this process, but in this recording you hear the master at play. The flow is seamless and quite slick, generating ambrosial passages that soar with a gentle majesty. But fear not, the guitar remains pure and crisp in other instances, manifesting as lilting notes that cascade with delightful stimulation, embellishing the flowing electronics with their tranquil punctuation.
These compositions epitomize serenity with a touch of vivid animation. The melodies drift and cavort, intertwining and transforming minimal structures into complexities that are dazzling to behold. The "Nightdust" track (being the album’s longest piece at 22 minutes) achieves a remarkable level of intensity with its application of these soothing elements, attaining a sonic richness that stands as a milestone of classic electronic music.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity
Guitarist Manuel Gottsching founded Ash Ra Tempel in 1970 with synth pioneer Klaus Schulze and Harmut Enke. Schulze left a year later, but on his own, Gottsching continued plying the spaceways with synthesizers and his signature echoed electric guitar.
In 1976, the name shortened to just Ashra, he released New Age of Earth, well in advance of a New Age category existing in record store bins. Tunes such as "Sunrain" are driven by energetic rhythmic sequences, but epic pieces like "Ocean of Tenderness" and "Deep Distance" are slow floats through puffy clouds of electronics.
2002. New Age Voice
Another masterpiece by Manuel Gottsching..... Years ahead of it's time, and still sounding fresh.
The 3 tracks on side 1 of the LP are just unbelievably beautiful.
2003. Steve Arnell / England
There are those who claim that after Manuel Gottsching went 'solo' as AshRa, the worth of that band went down to zippo. However, I disagree, and I think that "New Age of Earth" is a good argument to support that disagreement. This is a beautiful, lyrical release, with solo guitar against tapestries of electronics, which has a much more 'human' feel than other similar 'Berlin school' works of the same period.
These pieces flow and swirl, instead of tick-tocking and ominousness, and are wonderful both as listening music as well as purely ambient sound. About the only thing I can consider in a similar vein would be Steve Hillage's "Rainbow Dome Music", from which System 7 would spring some years later.
2000. Dac Crowell / USA
The first album for Virgin was New Age of Earth, an album that since became a classic. Although it is credited under the group name ASHRA, New Age of Earth is actually performed by Manuel Göttsching alone. Relying more on synthesizers than his usual guitar, Göttsching created four richly-textured compositions that are both intriguing and stimulating. [...] It is no doubt that New Age of Earth is Manuel Göttsching and Ashra's finest album. [...] In all honesty, no music collection should be without ASHRA's New Age of Earth.
1997. D. Kaufmann / Beyond the Horizon