Recorded: July 1979, Frankfurt |
- Wudu [2:28]
- Screamer [4:25]
- Boomerang [3:27]
- Aerogen [3:51]
- Sausalito [4:22]
- Kazoo [5:37]
- Code Blue [14:52]
- Mistral [3:38]
- Flying Turtles [11:25]
- Voices of Heddernheim [24:21]
- Urscreamer [2:38]
CD #1 is the remastered original Belle Alliance CD. CD #2 contains previously unreleased material.
Manuel Göttsching - guitar, synthesizer, sequencer, bass
Lutz Ulbrich - guitar, keyboardss, voice, bass
Harald Grosskopf - drums, percussion, synythesizer, voice
Originally released in 1980, this double CD from 2008 features the original 43 minute album plus 38 minutes of previously unreleased material.
Ashra is: Manuel Göttsching (on guitar, sequencer, synthesizer, and bass), Harold Grosskopf (on drums, percussion, and synthesizer), and Lutz Ulbrich (on guitar, keyboards, and bass).
The original release is a masterpiece wherein the electronics provide a tasty adhesive for the lively guitars and the percussive locomotion.
The guitars are numerous and luminous, generating a plethora of riffs, growling, pluckily ascending, floating. Nimble-fingered pyrotechnics effortlessly achieve dazzling pinnacles and then cavort at dizzying altitudes, delineating melodies of engaging quality. The slippery chords cascade with relentless passion, creating a surging wall of delightful euphoria.
The percussives are steadfast when that’s what suits and hyperactive when that style is what’s called for. The beats can be intricate and submerged, almost xylophonic as they inject animation from within the mix. At other times, the rhythms are forceful and prominent, with inventively crafted tempos boosting the music into high propulsion.
The electronics are a mixture of incidental vaporous atmospherics and principally energized keyboard riffs imbued with crystalline definition. Although their presence is integral to the music, the keyboards often adopt a sneaky demeanor amid the bevy of outstanding guitars. In one long track, breezy keyboards dominate, creating a celestial excursion of amiable introspection.
The compositions infuse contemporary electronics with pop sensibilities, resulting in dreamily bouncy tuneage. Many modern performers accomplish this blend, but when Belle Alliance came out in 1980, doing this was unheard of. Ashra blazed new ground with their pleasantly uptempo style, and the music retains its bewitching appeal even today.
The bonus disc offers material that takes this spry fashion in a rock direction, with urgent rhythms and crashing guitars. Powerful melodies are delivered with jocular acumen.
This stuff is guaranteed to delight diehard fans and newcomers who are just discovering this ground breaking band.
Matt Howarth / Sonic Curiosity