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Ash Ra Tempel - Ash Ra Tempel CD (album) cover


Ash Ra Tempel



4.15 | 358 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Definitive Epic (Like Light Years in Diameter Epic) Space Jam

Despite my love for tight, complex music, I do appreciate an escapist excursion in the clouds sometimes as well. ASH RA TEMPEL's self titled album is about as prototypic as it gets in that regard. The band combines two sounds: free form psychedelic jamming that reminds me of the bridge of "Dazed and Confused" taken much, much further and on the other end new-agey ambient electronics. (Given Tangerine Dream's Klaus Schulze's part of this band that's no surprise.) The album is two side-long pieces, with the first emphasising the guitar jam with just a little bit of ambient to open. The second side is the opposite, predominantly ambient with a little guitar jam as icing added in. The moods created are VERY different but the sound maintains a coherence and identity. It is strange, for the little bit of Krautrock I've heard aside from this did almost nothing for me. There's basically no melody, no key changes, no organization. But for some reason even someone like myself must give credit where it's due. It works. And it works well.

The reason it works so well is that despite the lack of traditional musical ideas, the sound is extremely emotionally provocative. The goal of both pieces is similar to that of post-rock. Intensity builds gradually from near stillness to all-out insanity. But ART, to my ear, succeeds at its task much more effectively. Sounds move in an out in a very organic way. Listening to ASH RA TEMPEL is like watching a fire, with the first side "Amboss" like watching a fire start and then blaze, wild and destructive, and the second "Traummaschine" like watch hot coals glowing with occasional tongues of flame licking up for a moment.

Similarly, I must credit Schulze's drumming. It is dextrous, intense, and full of life. Almost tribal in places, the drums evoke a sense of running, frenzy. Even the cadence of the electronic pads seems to be breathing with a deep life. So many times drums can be too mechanical, too precise in prog. Not here. And like the entire album, the drums sound and production primitiveness only enhances the experience.

I am tempted to give this album 5 stars, because I cannot imagine an album that quite does this type of music this well. Of all the new age albums I own when I'm trying to just chill, few journey as far and deep as this one. If ambient or space jams make you want to run, you won't like this at all. But if you appreciate anything of the sort, this will be an excellent addition to your collection.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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