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Manuel Göttsching - Hoenig & Göttsching: Early Water CD (album) cover


Manuel Göttsching


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4 stars Bubblebath City

If you own a copy of Manuel´s famous chessboard album E2-E4, you are most likely going to find out where that specific sound came from, when you put this very record on. Early Water is not a blueprint for the chessboard album though, but it rather originates that very fluid and watery sound that both albums are sage rated in. This is sooo bubbly and sloshing - that I´ve often pictured poor Manuel trying to play a colossal synth, that looks and feels like a giant bucket filled with water - lapping and splashing the damn thing around like an enraged plumber trying to refit a 100 pound water-heater.

Anyway, apart from the sloshing quality of this single long piece, - it´s the overall feel of serenity and calmness that penetrates your skull. To use the bucket metaphor from before - the music pure and simple seems like it´s being tipped out of the musicians. It appears to be second nature, easy like breathing - and I think, the very nature of what these guys were trying to do here, -was to get simple and in tune quickly. Göttsching and Hoenig are both fabulous with bleebs and sequencers, and if you wanna know how natural and liberating electronic music can be, you should start searching for this gem. They connect in a wonderful way, that every musician owes them-self to experience just once in their lifetime. Siamese twins joined at the synth.

Michael Hoenig originally played with Agitation Free and was part of the Krautrock scene for a number of years. He additionally worked with Klaus Schulze on Timewind - and then he made this one together with Manuel. Boy am I glad he did! These sessions are filled with laid back and contemplative electronic improvisations, - and yes this is from a session these two guys had back in 1976. Funny thing is, that you had to wait 20 years to get your hands on the record... I guess you could call it one of those who didn´t make it. But since when did producers have any shred of taste whatsoever? Mmmmhhh taste like dineros.

How does it sound like then? Bubblebath City pretty much sums it up. If you´ve ever tried chilling in one of those bubbly tubs - then try imagining the bubbles as tiny beebs and electronic flutters. Underwater moths zipping about in ever changing patterns. It´s like the album is breathing bubbles underneath you. The way the track unfolds, makes me think of a guy in a pool trying desperately to play music on a jump rope. Every time he bobs it one way - it takes like two seconds for the change to happen at the other end of the line. A kind of delayed underwater jump rope electronic improv - now doesn´t that sound almost too good to be true?

If you want more out of your tunes than bib bibs, - just wait until Manuel remembers that he used to be a guitarist. If you stuffed him full of a couple of tubes with food and liquid, he could play that thing from now and on to the end of days. He has become a very gentle player by 1976, and it´s strange to think that only a couple of years earlier, he was tripping like a mad man playing wild distorted and Jimi Hendrix-like with almost no clean bits unless it was on an acoustic. Early Water is one of the first watery sound experiments he did alongside Ash Ra Tempels´ amazing Le Berceau de Cristal. His playing just goes. Like watching a child throwing paper ships into a stream, and then watching how they elegantly swoop along to the current - it sounds almost sensual. It´s like witnessing a man deeply in love with his instrument, when you hear Manuel: he cuddles it - caresses it. A true love affair between human and machine. Just like this record actually.

If you´re into Michael Hoenig´s Wasteland album, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Terry Riley, any of Manuel´s own projects or just curious about music, that sounds like you could transport it in a bottle, then you should definitely join me in the tub. The water is fine. 4.5 stars.

Report this review (#513762)
Posted Saturday, September 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars A classic Berlin Electronics album that I didn't even know existed until a short time ago. Similar in many ways to Tangerine Dream's 'Ricochet', 'Early Water' is one huge 48 minute track utilising sexy analogue arpeggiators.

Manuel Göttsching of 'Ash Ra Tempel' - adds plenty heavily treated and highly original Gibson guitar experiments throughout. Not only that, but he turns his hand to Farfisa Organ (Farfisa Compact), ARP (Odyssey) and ARP Sequencer.

Coupled with Michael Hoenig's keyboards, we're given something quite special. A beautiful car journey through an uncontaminated 1976 sunny countryside without a human being in sight. Entirely electronic from beginning to end with Göttsching's guitars sounding uncannily like those of Edgar Froese from around the same period but more tastefully played and less in your face.

A missing link for Tangerine Dream fans who wondered what the hell went wrong after 1976... It's just a pity it's so long... 48 minutes is too much to take in one sitting for a singular electronic musical concept. It's great as background music but doesn't stand up to a full on listen. For this reason only it's downgraded to three stars.

It is very pretty though...

Report this review (#613861)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Crystalline waters

Initially recorded at the end of 1976, "Early Water" is a collaboration between ex-ASHRA RA TEMPEL Manuel Göttsching and ex-AGITATION FREE Michael Hoenig. The result of this session has been restored and entirely remixed by Hoenig in Los Angeles in 1995. The album consists in one single 50 minutes long track, in the pure style of the Berlin electronic school.

To replace things in their context, Göttsching had just recorded "New Age of Earth", and Hoenig had just collaborated in TANGERINE DREAM and KLAUS SCHULZE live performances. Compared to ASHRA's first album, the music is colder, hypnotic, sometimes oppressive, but always fluid. The important use of sequencers sounds sometimes futuristic. Manuel Göttsching's guitar is simply gorgeous and undulates around Hoenig's interlacing synthetizer loops. This long piece contains however some lengthy passages, especially the middle part, and therefore maintaining attention is difficult. In terms of ambiance, this has more similarities with a SCHULZE or a TD concert, certainly due to Hoenig's recent experiences.

Released in 1976 in a shortened version, "Early Water" would have stand up to comparison to other progressive electronic opus at the same time. A bit long, nonetheless recommended to TANGERINE DREAM or SCHULZE fans.

Report this review (#1547098)
Posted Saturday, April 2, 2016 | Review Permalink
4 stars Hoenig gets a bad rap it seems, like he's the red headed stepchild of the Berlin school. I'd argue his admittedly small recorded output is as creative if not more than what Manuel Gottsching and his Ash Ra group were doing. Same with Tangerine Dream. Hoenig's proper studio release Departure from the Northern Wasteland in seventy eight was a left field addition to the burgeoning electronic almost new age music scene and this was recorded prior to that, after Gott released seminal New Age of Earth. This does go on long like Gott seminal E2E4 but is very palatable in small doses or atmospheric window dressing. Plus my kids think it's cool I own a few forty five minute long songs.
Report this review (#2114206)
Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 | Review Permalink

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