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Ashra - New Age of Earth CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

4.04 | 207 ratings

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3 stars 3.5 stars

Initially recorded in 1976, "New Age Of Earth" is undoubtly an important album in the development of electronica. Contrarily to what the title may suggest, the style is different from the new-age and "world" genres that will develop in the next decades. Furthermore, there is no real relation with the New-Age philosophy. Manuel Göttsching has now left the Ohr label for Virgin to create ASHRA. Unique member for this first album, he made the musical direction evolve from long ASH RA TEMPEL space rock jams to electronic-dominated shorter compositions. However, there are some interesting differences from what his german compatriots were doing at the same period.

First, the synthetizer sequences are manually played and not programed, adding more human feel and modulations to the overall ambiance. Second, the style is very minimalistic and share similarities with STEVE REICH. Finally, due to the usage of major scale the tracks sounds warmer, smoother than the other tunes of the same genre, .

"Sunrain" is a good synthesis of these different aspects. Soft and comforting, it will become an ASHRA classic. "Ocean of Tenderness" is my least favorite of the record. I tend to find this slow ambient tune a bit too long. The other short track, "Deep Distance" is an inspired soft cosmic dreamy passage.The record finishes with the 22 minutes long "Nightdust". Contrarily to the other compositions, the ambiance is darker and more mysterious. While its first half is atmospheric, the second half contains a cool synth sequence and a nice spacey guitar.

The first listen can result on mixed feelings. Repetitive, without many variations, the minimalistic style can disconcert TANGERINE DREAM, SCHULZE or JARRE fans. Personally, I prefer shorther tracks over the long ones. However, Manuel Göttsching may have been more innovative than his electronic brothers at the same time for this first opus. "New Age Of Earth" has its own identity: warm, soothing and ideal of relaxation. A soft trip to friendly stars.

After all, maybe this album had on influence on New-Age philosophy and music, one will never know...

Modrigue | 3/5 |


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