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Ash Ra Tempel - Schwingungen CD (album) cover

SCHWINGUNGEN

Ash Ra Tempel

 

Krautrock

3.74 | 115 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
4 stars On Ash Ra Tempel's second album, Schulze was replaced by Wolfgang Mueller on the drumkit. Göttsching also hired vocalist John L from Agitation Free. His free style singing adds an extra dimension to Ash Ra Tempel and creates an astonishing album covering almost all aspects of kraut rock. If you don't have a clue what kraut rock is all about, then this album might reveal many sides of it: psychedelicca, free-jazz, cosmic ambience, space-rock, Eastern flavours and raw lunacy.

Light, Look at Your Sun couldn't be more Floyd, it has a pensive blues rhythm with Eastern-tinged guitar atmospheres that reminds me of PF's More, that slightly uneven little gem of an album where David Gilmour first added his blues chops to Pink Floyd's psychedelics. John L adds beautiful soft vocals and Wolfgang Mueller plays in a straightforward slow pace, similar to PF's Nick Mason. That's not the only comparison to Pink Floyd's 68-69 style of psychedelic space-rock. Look at Your Sun is an amazing track oozing that unique Floydian lazy-psychedelic ambience that few managed to re-create.

Darkness, Flowers Must Die is the musical antipode, a frantically rocking free jazz piece with pulsating guitar chords, droning free-jazz drumming and mad vocals, similar to those of Can's vocalists Mooney and Suzuki. The music rages with an insane intensity and daring anarchistic posture. This is as far as you can go from what the Symphonic Prog artists were doing on the other side of the Channel in the same years. Isn't it amazing how uniquely all those scenes evolved back in the day?

After the disturbed lunacy of Darkness, Flowers Must Die, Suche and Liebe restores the peace with 15 minutes of dreamy vibes, distant mellotrons and guitar effects. This track is similar to the early progressive electronic soundscapes, and again Göttsching proves to be the master at it. The last 5 minutes build up to a sweeping harmonious finale with a swaying pace and brightly ooh-ing vocals. It gives a great soothing effect after the out-worldly ambience that preceded, not dissimilar from the finale of Floyd's Saucerful of Secrets.

I am a committed admirer of the Floyd sound of '68-'69, but even I will admit that Floyd's urge for innovation didn't necessarily lead to the most consistent albums. This album from Ash Ra Tempel captures the spirit and soul of early Floyd without mimicking any particular song. When that is done with results as magically as here, I can't have enough of it. Tempted to a fiver here.

Bonnek | 4/5 |

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