Ash Ra Tempel/Ashra/Manuel G?tsching Reviews

From: Chris Richards <>
Any of you cats into Ash Ra Tempel? I just recently got my hands on a very sweet audience tape of their first ever performance in the UK, at the Royal Festival Hall in London, 4-2-00 (that's 2-4-00 for you folks outside North America). Great stuff here! Lots of cool trippy synths and guitar!!!! Anyone who might be interested in trading should e-mail me off list about it.

From: Chris Richards <> Subject: Re: Krautrock
A few of my favorite bands:
Ash Ra Tempel: I have a couple of their early records. Join Inn and Schwingengun (or however it's spelled) or both great records. The later stuff, where Manny Gottsching has shortened the name of the project to simply Ashra was like shooting craps. Some of it's pretty good spacey music, some of it sounds like bad B-movie disco soundtrack boredom. Avoid the two-fer discs of the Ash Ra Tempel albums that were issued on Purple Pyramid here in the US. They're taken from LP pressings (you can hear the pops and clicks) and some of them are cut short a minute or so. Stick with the ones on Spalax.

From: "tom george" <> Subject: Ashra
Hello everyone, Just thought I would add a little Ashra information since they have been getting some talk lately. there are two new historical releases available now. they are:
Ashra-"The Making Of" 3-cds
This is outtakes and other things not used in the making of the "Correlations" album.
@SHRA- vOL. 2 1-CD
This is music from the "Live in Japan" tour. a continuation of the original album.
these are available from www.ashra.com

From: Mochaen <> Subject: RE: Ashra
> How would you describe their music?I'm not familiar with them.
> > And Martin Bartosik [SMTP:mbartosik_eas@zsnp.sk] responded: New age, ambient, psychedelic, heavy simplification would be that it sounds like Tangerine Dream. But be forewarned there are Ashra and Ash Ra and Ash Ra Tempel. The man behind these project is guitar player Manuel Gottsching. I have: Ash Ra Tempel s/t (very psychedelic) Ash Ra Tempel Friendship (ambient, very good, should be available from Cranium :) Ashra New Age of Earth (very new agey, i.e. way to much synthesizer to my taste) > Gottsching Manuel E2-E4 (ambient with some hypnotic techno ambient sound)
I do basically agree with some of Martin's assessment, so I'm not frothing at the mouth over this ;o)), but it does kinda highlight how different tastes lead to different perceptions and descriptions of music. See, with all due respect to Martin, personally I would never describe Ashra as "New Agey", especially considering some of the pappish drek that goes by that label. I think Martin's comment "way too much synthesiser to my taste" is rather telling. Often, loads of synth is taken to equal New Age. That's not necessarily so....quite a bit of material released under the New Age monicker is not synthetic at all, just the opposite in fact. Instead, it seems to me that Manuel Gottsching was influenced by the so-called Berlin School characterised by Tangerine Dream. He doesn't really sound like TD a lot of the time, but an emphasis on sequenced electronic patterns puts him in that basket for me.
However, having said that, to a prog-rocker who prefers, say, prog-rock influenced by R&B, metal, or even classical symph-prog, much of the electronic side of things will come off sounding "new agey" to them, so there you go....
So Peter, depending on your specific tastes, Martin's comments may indeed make sense to you, in which case they're spot on...for you. If, however, you do like electronic music, and especially if you're interested in Berlin School or relations, then to think of Ashra (especially) as New Age would be somewhat misleading.
Here's my own assessment of things Ashra or ART:
The material produced under the name Ash Ra Tempel, was quite psychedelic and space-rocky in nature, with a strong emphasis on electronics and a prominent role for Manny's guitar. The emphasis shifts back and forth between space-rock workouts and experiments in texture and timbre. Standouts for me are _Ash Ra Tempel_ and _Join Inn_. They produced six albums which show some variation and melodic development. For example, _Seven Up_ has Timothy Leary speaking, while _Starring Rosi_ emphasizes the vocal talents of Manny's then girlfriend and is more song-slanted. For my money, this is their least succesful release. _Inventions for Electric Guitar_ is rather good, again featuring Manny's guitar being subjected to all kinds of FX manipulations.
Releases under the name Ashra tend to be more solo-oriented projects by Manny, as opposed to the group format of Ash Ra Tempel, though he was later joined by Harald Gosskopf (who once played with Wallenstein) and Lutz Ulrbrich (who played with the stellar Agitation Free). The Ashra work is much more influenced by the Berlin School of electronics and so displays extensive use of sequenced electronic patterns. It's this aspect which leads to the "New Age" label for some people, but I feel that's misleading. If anything, think late 70s TD and you're more on the track. In previous threads, I and others have said that later Ashra tends towards the commercial. I think it's probably because the material has a lighter more "up" feel combined with the occasional use of things like 4/4 "disco" rhythm in places. Standouts for me are _New Age of Earth_ (mainly synth but with some guitar), _Blackouts_ (lovely.. more guitar but a great album to chill out to), _Correlations_ (with Harald and Lutz...this is the one where one track is in 4/4, definitely a more up and frothy attempt) and _Belle Alliance_(which on occasion harks back to Ash Ra Tempel). _E2-E4_ was released by Manny under his own name and still contains plenty of choice sequencing, if that's yer bag. I wouldn't call it ambient though.

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