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Ashra - New Age Of Earth CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

4.01 | 190 ratings

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4 stars With New Age Of Earth, Manuel Göttsching made a move from the cosmic kraut rock of Ash Ra Tempel to more electronic soundscapes. He even renamed his project to its abbreviated form, Ashra. The first album for this new project is the strongest and combines warm electronic sounds with Göttsching's unique guitar playing.

Sunrain. A playful sequence sets a minimalist pulse serving as groundwork for melodic and bright keyboard melodies. I would situate the sound and feel of it somewhere inbetween Edgar Froese's Stuntman and Philip Glass's 70's works, but given the my minimal knowledge of the minimalists, you may of course hear entirely different references. The sequence pattern and melodic themes are kept very restrained and evocative, and would make excellent soundtrack material. But this is more then just background music or new age muzak as it is profound enough to maintain an attentive listening experience.

More subtle atmospheres come on the following track. A very minimal bass pulse sustains softly waving space-synth sounds and sparse slide guitars, building up to a pensive solo for clean guitar. This one somehow reminds me of Klaus Schulze's reflective pieces, but Ashra is lighter in tone, closer to New-Age then to the desolate dream world of Schulze. But luckily it still sits at the right side of the line that divides reflective electronic music from the flowery wallpaper sound of New-Age.

Deep Distance combines the subtle upbeat sequences of the opening track with the atmosphere of the second track.

The focal point of the album is the 22 minute Nightdust, the track where the spirit of Schulze is felt most prominently. Right from the opening it evokes the mesmeric charm of Schulze's Timewind and Moondawn, bearing the same warm analogue synth sounds joined by softly pulsating sequences. If I didn't know this was Ashra, I'd swear it to be an unearthed Schulze gem. The piece ends with a beautiful brooding guitar solo. Not the wildly soaring sonic explosion of the old Ash Ra Tempel, but the other side of the spectrum, the subtle touch of Göttsching, which is also truly unique.

New Age Of Earth never reaches the heights of Tangerine Dream's and Schulze's masterpieces of the 74-77 period, but few things do really and Göttsching comes in right behind them with this remarkable electronic album. 3.5 stars for the first side, 4.5 for Nightdust.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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