Produced by James McRiff
- Amboss [19:40]
- Traummaschine [25:24]
Manuel Gottsching - guitar, vocals, electronics
Hartmut Enke - bass
Klaus Schulze - drums, percussion, electronics, effects
4 stars Ash Ra Tempel is was the brain child of Manuel Göttsching, a unique guitar player who handled soaring noise as easily as fluid harmonious bliss. The band was one of the pioneers of the German kraut scene and up there at the top of the scene with the mighty Can. Ash Ra Tempel explored the sonic and rhythmical experiments of psychedelic rock to a much fuller extent then bands like Guru Guru, Amon Düül had done.
Ashra Tempel is not very likely to please fans of harmonic delight, but it has many stunning moments and there's a very raw and pure power emanating from it. While the album is guitar oriented, it touches the spirit of Progressive Electronic. The fact that Klaus Schulze handles the drums and some of the electronics sure had its influence.
The debut album is divided into two distinct parts, the wildly raging experimental space-rock of Amboss and the cosmic ambience of Traummaschine. Schulze handles the drums on the first track and though he pulls it off most convincingly, I must say I'm glad he switched to keyboards, as he proved to have a more distinct touch in that field.
The creative gathering of Schulze and Göttsching results in pure delight on Traummaschine. With just guitar effects, electronics and percussion, this 25 minute track is a marvel of slowly flowing guitar melodies and tuneful electronic effects. On this track the dividing line with the pioneering works of progressive electronic is very vague. This music has the same organic flow and mesmerizing cosmic flares of Tangerine Dream's Alpha Centauri and Schulze's Irrlicht, but it is vastly superior to those works. The spirit of Floyd is felt heavily, especially halfway in when the guitars make room for a Eastern-tinged bass guitar loop with Göttsching's oohs and aahs whispering dreamily around it.
Excellent debut from this essential band. 5 stars: brilliant album, one that really gets to me and that I can't stop listening to for months, one for my top 5%.
Karl Bonnek / Belgium