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4 stars Jamming with Sauce Hollandaise

A successful space/psychedelic live album full of improvisations and somewhat surprising: the concert was recorded in 1997 and not in the early 70s what you probably might expect! The 'Sauce Hollandaise' tastes very good with its recursive repetitive hypnotic themes for what Manuel Göttsching is acqainted. Harald Grosskopf is enhancing the rocking aspects of the songs with his good drum/percussion work. So here we have to remark a special mix of genuine instruments and electronic sounds which is exemplary for Krautrock.

One recommendation first: this is not music which you can really enjoy in 'multitasking mode' - you absolutely have to concentrate on it. Echo Waves is my favourite and shines because of the great guitar interaction between Lüül and Göttsching. Blending into the main theme carefully the song starts very psychedelic, later enhanced by sensitive percussion work - wonderful. For 30 compelling minutes this song is rather groovy in parts, just performed in a rocking mood. The other two songs are provided with more electronic elements whereas Niemand lacht rückwärts is the better one. A very dynamic track with a special suspense curve and a furious end also including a short and excellent drum solo by Grosskopf.

I love 'Sauce Hollandaise' - 4.5 stars really. Currently hard to get but hopefully re-released soon. If it is your intention to add unique Krautrock albums to your collection this is a must have.

Report this review (#133843)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well, I guess, ASHRA or specifically, Manuel Göttsching's following of the "minimalistic", unique musical language of his clear influence Steve Reich, heads into what is not mere plagiarism, which is the easy way out, no, he as a self demanding composer, who has felt the vibes of the "electronic-music" future in Reich's structures, takes those "elements" and as such, makes them work as compositional elements, not as Reich's structures. It is clear Manuel Göttsching has "breathed" this "air".

Now, the "naked truth", if you are either> a-"disgusted", b-"repelled", c-"offended" by A-"Trance/Dance/electronics including "Floor/Dance/Trance", B-"Non-TD "copy-kats" electronics", C-"intelligent music", D- "ambiental structures", E-"worry too much if music is prog or not", or all of the above. Well skip on to the next review, if you please. (You won't miss a thing.)

A clear influence of Reich's music as far as using independent "minimal lines" and percussions. But, by its own, a pioneering source of the" future" (from 1998 to 2013) of what now young people understand as "electronic" music. And yes even in that "Un-Prog" land, a lot of good "electronic music" has been happening. "Underworld" (the band not the pic), to name my favorite, among others.

So do not feel compelled to enjoy this extraordinary, 15 years ahead of its time, progressive electronic, masterful "live" performance. Not to make a "big fuzz" of how glad I am, I got this ASHRA's "Sauce Hollandaise", for now, ****4 PA stars.

"Essential" if you got to this point of the review.

Report this review (#1087361)
Posted Sunday, December 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars At least, nearly 20 years after, the first live release from ASHRA. "Walkin' the desert" wasn't a live recording but a studio album with reworked tracks inspired by a 1988 Berlin concert. The set-list is a bit curious as it does not feature any official ASHRA studio track from its golden age, the 70's. In the tradition of electronic progressive pioneers, the performance contains both already released and previously unreleased compositions, the known ones being rearranged.

"Echo Waves" (from "Inventions for Electric Guitar") is the most convincing track. Nice and modernized with techno beat, it finishes with a cool spacey guitar solo. If you enjoy the original studio version, you'll enjoy this live track. However, "Twelve Samples" (from "Walkin' the desert") is a bit different. It's an audacious choice as this is rather singular piece in ASHRA's discography. However, this live version is more ambient and less middle-eastern, which leads to 2 problems. First, if you don't know the original version, this mixture results in a strange sauce, sometimes hard to digest. Second, if you know and enjoy the original version, the middle-eastern samples are more discrete, thus reducing the personnality and the charm of this composition. "Niemand Lacht Rückwärts" (previously unreleased) is the main novelty here. The first part consists in mysterious experimental passages and drumming, while the second part is quite dreamy and ends with a cool guitar solo. Overall, pleasant but a bit unequal.

As a first live release from ASHRA, "Sauce Hollandaise" is enjoyable, although not essential. Not the ideal place to discover the band's classic compositions, but the spirit is present.

Report this review (#1546266)
Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016 | Review Permalink

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