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ASH RA TEMPEL

Krautrock • Germany


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Ash Ra Tempel biography
Formed in Berlin, Germany in 1970 - From 1976 to 1998 renamed as "Ashra" - Regrouped as a duo in 2000-2001

One of the most formidable of the German Krautrock groups, ASH RA TEMPEL were a powerful force led by guitarist Manuel GÖTTSCHING, and also included former TANGERINE DREAM drummer Klaus SCHULZE at various points. Their music is very spacy and psychedelic, in the manner popularized by early HAWKWIND and AMON DÜÜL II. The early albums all had basically one track a side, one more powerful and dramatic, the other of a more atmospheric nature.

Their albums are all classics; those with Klaus SCHULZE ("Ash Ra Tempel" and "Join Inn") are the best. ASH RA TEMPEL's first release is a classic of the space/cosmic genre. This is definitively the one to start with if you're not familiar with this band. "Schwingungen" is a vastly underrated album even by ardent fans of the band. Basically, "Join Inn", along with the two albums, are supposed to be the essential woks from ASH RA TEMPEL, and I certainly haven't been disappointed by any of the three. GÖTTSCHING's later work varied between solo albums and those within a group format.

Later, after recording the dreamy soundtrack "Le Berceau de Cristal" (1975 unreleased until the 90's) ASH RA TEMPEL changed name to ASHRA, making a more melodic synthesizer based music. In the year 2000 the ASH RA TEMPEL moniker was reborn. Joined by long-time colleague Klaus SCHULZE, the appropriately titled "Friendship" was released. This is the best release by Manuel since "Blackouts" and shows that he hasn't lost his touch. ASH RA TEMPEL is probably the best known band of the German space scene. A SPACE JOURNEY FROM START TO FINISH...!

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ASH RA TEMPEL discography


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ASH RA TEMPEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.14 | 424 ratings
Ash Ra Tempel
1971
3.74 | 183 ratings
Schwingungen
1972
3.18 | 104 ratings
Timothy Leary & Ash Ra Tempel: Seven Up
1973
3.90 | 174 ratings
Join Inn
1973
3.12 | 87 ratings
Starring Rosi
1973
4.02 | 64 ratings
Le berceau de cristal (OST)
1993
3.57 | 57 ratings
Friendship
2000

ASH RA TEMPEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 13 ratings
Paris Downers
1974
3.65 | 24 ratings
Gin Rosé at the Royal Festival Hall
2000

ASH RA TEMPEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

ASH RA TEMPEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
Communication - The Best of Ash Ra Tempel
1976
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Ash Ra Tempel Works
1991
4.65 | 15 ratings
Schwingungen / Seven-Up
1998
3.90 | 12 ratings
Join Inn / Starring Rosi
1998

ASH RA TEMPEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

ASH RA TEMPEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Join Inn by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.90 | 174 ratings

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Join Inn
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nş 507

Ash Ra Tempel was a German progressive rock band formed in Berlin, Germany, in 1970. Ash Ra Tempel was linked to the Krautrock music scene. The group was originally founded by the guitarist Manuel Gottsching, the percussionist and drummer Klaus Schulze and the bassist Hartmut Enke. All three founding members had already played together as part of the short lived band Eruption, created by Conrad Schnitzler. Before that, Schnitzler and Schulze had worked together in Tangerine Dream. Besides that, Gottsching had played in Steeple Chase Blues Band, a band that also featured Enke.

Along with Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel was one of the first bands to convert the trippier side of late 60's psychedelia into the Kosmische rock of the 70's. Most of Ash Ra Tempel titles were solely the work of Gottsching, plus other additional players. The band released four studio albums in the 70's, "Ash Ra Tempel" in 1971, "Schwingungen" in 1972 and "Join Inn" and "Starring Rosi", both in 1973, plus a collaboration album with Timothy Leary, "Seven UP". In the 90's, Ash Ra Tempel released a soundtrack album "Le Berceau De Cristal" in 1993. A final album was released in 2000, "Friendship". It represents a kind of a return to the origins with Gottsching and Schulze working together again.

But, somehow, it was a coincidence that gave birth to this album. Schulze, a founding member of Ash Ra Tempel who had already given up after their first heavily psychedelic album "Ash Ra Tempel", suddenly and surprisingly he returned behind his drums and the keys on "Join Inn". Still, in this time he was here exclusively as a "special guest" alongside with Gottsching, Enke and the singer and poet Rosi Muller, Gottsching's girlfriend at the time. The cover of the album clearly shows that Schulze is no longer part of it, as he is only inserted as a photo. As a viewer, one has the impression that the personal chemistry is no longer right, but the listener of can get a completely different impression.

"Join Inn" was the last album of Ash Ra Tempel with their classic line up, Gottsching, Schulze and Enke, a completely unplanned work, but in the end a masterpiece of very great improvisational art, which is probably one of the most unusual and extraordinary phenomena in the German music history. This is why Ash Ra Tempel is considered today a model of that time and music called Krautrock, one of the most creative and inspired German progressive rock bands.

As is usual with all Ash Ra Tempel albums in that time, "Join Inn" has also two lengthy suites equally divided between the psychedelic style of Gottsching and the cosmic style of Schulze. The first one is an energetic jam with about nineteen minutes long. It's Gottsching's crazy, thrilling guitar performance accompanied by a solid Krautrock rhythm section and few electronic additions. The second one is an atmospheric and floating track with about twenty four minutes long, dominated by keyboards and electronics. It has a more atmospheric, psychedelic ambient recording, with lots of keyboard sounds, with hypnotic bass and a subtle guitar that appears only after a long time. A reference to the two previous albums of them is the presence of a short vocal part performed by Rosi Muller in the latter of these songs.

As the title may suggests, "Freak'n'Roll" is the rocking track but isn't as "freaky" as its title can suggests. As always, Gottsching clearly sets the tone contributing with a great spacey guitar playing. It's an improvised piece characterized by guitar and bass, on which Schulze also plays drums and keys. It's a guitar dominated piece with a humming bass driving and flat keyboards and accompanied by a precise drumming work. The whole track is quite inspired. Sometimes it's a bit heavier, yes almost heavy, but mostly very soulfully. All in all, this is an excellent piece, really. But, personally, I like most of the electronic side of the band and "Jenseits" is no exception. This is a great dreamy, spacey, mystic and very atmospheric track that takes you to a far away and dreamy place. The track also featured some lyrics which were spoken by Gottsching's girlfriend Rosi Muller in a childlike voice. It perhaps conveys a little the musical aura behind the song. The track would have fit perfectly well onto any of Klaus Schulze's 70's albums. I just can't get enough tired of stuff like this one. It's a wonderful track, really. This and the first album are, decidedly, Ash Ra Tempel's best albums.

Conclusion: With Schulze again on keyboards and drums, the novelty and intuition came with the entry into the band of Muller, a young muse who for years became an inseparable companion of Gottsching. Her presence, indeed, actually marked a definitive achievement of a more effective sound team and Ash Ra Tempel took advantage of her highly fascinating and evocative voice to create what it's rightly considered by many their most balanced album, convincing and mature, "Join Inn". In many ways "Join Inn" could be seen as the first Ash Ra Tempel Mk II. It too had a side of intense psychedelic rock and a side bliss-out. With "Join Inn" the band has left their experimental phase and has consistently performed well and well worth a listening of it from start to finish. For me, "Join Inn" is the most beautiful work of the band and the most coherent in itself. So, overall, "Join Inn" is a very pleasant and unique Krautrock album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Schwingungen by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.74 | 183 ratings

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Schwingungen
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nş 503

Ash Ra Tempel was a German progressive rock band formed in Berlin, Germany, in 1970. Ash Ra Tempel was one of the founders of what became known as Krautrock, also called "Kosmische musik", a German avant-garde and experimental rock movement that gave a special emphasis to electronic treatments, sound manipulation and repetitive music. They were responsible of two of the most influential projects of the German progressive rock scene, Ash Ra Tempel and Ashra. Their music is very spacey, psychedelic, powerful and dramatic, sometimes with a more atmospheric nature.

Born out of the late of the 60's in the Berlin underground scene, Ash Ra Tempel were rooted in a succession of beat and blues German bands, including Bluebirds, The Bomb Proofs, Bad Joe, and Steeple Chase Blues Band. The latter one of these was transformed entirely when Klaus Schulze from Tangerine Dream met up with them becoming Ash Ra Tempel. The trio of Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching and Hartmut Enke decided to abandon the more conventional composition and song writing, in favour of free form improvising and developing a new musical language. As such, they became notorious for jams that could exceed 30 minutes. That can be seen perfectly well on their eponymous album of 1971, on "Schwingungen" of 1972, on "Join Inn" of 1973 and also on their last album "Friendship" of 2000.

"Schwingungen" brings some changes in relation to their debut. It's a bit different from their debut because of the presence of vocals and lost Schulze, who was working on his first solo album "Irrlicht". So, "Schwingungen" was recorded with a new drummer, Wolfgang Muller, who took the place of Klaus Schulze and a number of guests, such as saxophonist Matthias Wehler or vocalist signed as John L., previously from Agitation Free. Musically, it's a bit less crazy material than the debut, as if the musicians wanted to combine psychedelic breakouts with more accessible, almost conventional playing. It's no longer made of improvisation, but it's partly based on previously composed motifs.

As we would expect from a band like Ash Ra Tempel, "Schwingungen" is characterized by their usual lengthy suites, which can exceed the twenty minutes. In the case of this 1972 album, we have two different parts. The first part that would be Side A of the LP, "Light And Darkness", which is divided into two pieces, "Light: Look At Your Sun" and "Darkness: Flowers Must Die", and the second part taht would be Side B, the title track "Schwingungen: Suche & Liebe". The two parts are quite distinguishable but they're part of a whole of an ensemble that divided can loses an important part of power. I'm talking about the synergy of the unit that is stronger than the sum of the factors separately.

"Schwingungen", which could be translated as "vibrations" or "oscillatory movement" stood as one of the works of Ash Ra Temple that defined the cosmic music of that period. More turbulent than the descriptive works of Tangerine Dream, it was favoured by those who snubbed the technological haughtiness of these, in favor of a sound still rooted in rock. It sounds like a freaky Pink Floyd's version crossed with Tangerine Dream and the ambient music of Brian Eno.

In "Light And Darkness", the first part "Light: Look At Your Sun" recalls the blues roots of Gottsching and Enke. The band combines blues guitar parts and blues rhythm with the psychedelic cosmic ambience characteristic of Krautrock. Sadly, the vocal layer, which could have been without it, isn't good. "Darkness: Flowers Must Die" is a crazier recording with a lot of electronics, exotic percussion, piercing saxophone sounds, Gottsching's guitar madness and a hypnotic rhythm section play. But it has also the unnecessary and bizarre vocals again. No wonder that John L. who got booted out of Agitation Free for being too deranged, apparently Ash Ra Tempel felt the same and fired him after this album too. The second half of the album consists of "Schwingungen: Suche & Liebe". It's all about that meditative and attentive search for peace and love and the universal harmony. In addition to that peaceful vibe, the music is as meditative, airy and spaced out as it can be. "Suche & Liebe" (Search/Quest & Love) builds up slowly towards a blissful climax at the orgiastic end. "Suche" is a rather sinister spacey piece consisting of mostly vibraphone and organ and "Liebe" is more guitar and voice, this time by Gottsching, and that sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd and Ash Ra Tempel's debut.

Conclusion: Comparing "Schwingungen" with Ash Ra Tempel previous debut, this is a more conventional progressive rock number, starting with echoed vibraphone notes and evolves into a Pink Floyd's like atmospheric rock prototype. Combining experimental playing with greater accessibility wasn't a bad idea, but the band should definitely stick with instrumental playing, and if you really wanted to have vocals, you should look for someone who can sing. I have no complaints about the instrumental layer, but this terrible howl takes away the pleasure of listening significantly and ruins the fantastic atmosphere of the album. "Schwingungen" isn't their best album but we cannot forget the pioneering spirit of this band. Very little has been said about the legacy of Ash Ra Tempel to prog rock music, but some it's here.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Ash Ra Tempel by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.14 | 424 ratings

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Ash Ra Tempel
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nş 502

Ash Ra Tempel was a German progressive rock band formed in Berlin, Germany, in 1970. The band was one of the protagonists of the psychedelic rock in Germany, one of the founders of what became known as Krautrock, also called "Kosmische musik". Krautrock was a German avant-garde and experimental rock movement. The most consistent years of the Krautrock scene cover a relatively short period from 1970 to 1975. But, it became, above all, most known as the incubator of two of the most influential projects of the entire German prog rock scene, Ash Ra Tempel and Ashra. These projects were two of the pioneers of the progressive space rock genre and of the progressive electronic music.

Ash Ra Tempel was formed by ex-Tangerine Dream member Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching and Hartmut Enke. The drummer and percussionist Klaus Schulze and the ambitious guitarist Manuel Gottsching played in an amateur group, the Steeple Chase Blues Band, when the boom of the German rock scene began. Both with Enke on bass, the trio gave birth to Ash Ra Tempel, who released their first eponymous debut studio album, "Ash Ra Tempel" in the year of 1971.

The ambition of Ash Ra Temple was to forge a new German style grafted from improvisational blues and a re- imagined Anglo Saxon sound that inspired them. On this album, the band omitted lyrics, favouring, instead, the led instrumental landscape of hypnotic space rock sound. Both, Schulze and Gottsching, were early adopters of electronica, furnishing to the Ash Ra Temple albums a very own atmospher, unleashing a torrent of signature sounds. The repetitive nature and the hallucination of the compositions found on this album, took surely some concentration on the part of the band, as well as a keen sense of timekeeping, although at times the instruments blend into one seamless almost mechanistic.

The debut album of Ash Ra Tempel seems to be to many people the favourite album by the band despite I really prefer their third album "Join Inn". But, I don't blame them, as you won't get a more perfect space atmosphere than the one you'll find here. Strengthened by Gottsching's long distance improvisations on guitar and Klaus Schulze's pictorial sense, the two side lengthy tracks, one a furious psychedelic work out and the other a kosmische bliss out, are really one of those cornerstore of the progressive German rock releases. This is really a good example of how the ambition and imagination can really make something work in the world of the improvisation. This improvisational style can really be described as the rhythm section laying down a path for the guitar to explore. And if the acid rock freak out might be the thing that gets the attention, I often think it's the floating, laid-back second side that shows the genius at work here.

The two tracks on the album are both very spacey pieces, but still very different from each other. "Amboss" is an intense guitar jam that reminds me a whole lot of Tangerine Dream's "Electronic Meditation" during their most intense moments. This isn't strange since Schulze was on that Tangerine Dream's album before coming to Ash Ra Tempel. It opens quiet and relaxed, but soon bursts into a frenetic jam, highlighted with Gottsching's excellent spacey guitar playing and Schulze's energetic drumming. It's quite fascinating how such an energetic and noisy piece still can be so atmospheric and relaxing. After a gentle prelude, "Amboss" develops into an unbelievable psychedelic orgy, driven by Gottsching's freaky guitar and Schulze's wild drumming. "Amboss" is perhaps more balanced than its instrumental rants. Quite different is the lengthy "Traummaschine". As the name suggests, it's a slow, dreamy, spacey ambient piece. It presented the band as the German Pink Floyd. It's more "progressive" than "cosmic". "Traummaschine" lives up to its title, and gives a clue about what Schulze later would do on his own albums. It's a very quiet and mysterious piece, with floating electronics and shimmering guitar. It consists of elongated loops of sound, which are accompanied by somewhat textless singing. This is cosmic music in the style of the early Tangerine Dream. Only occasionally does the piece gain momentum, rhythm guitar and hand drums kick in, and finally a typical herbaceous guitar solo develops. After that, "Traummaschine" always falls back into the initial wave of gentle sounds. This space trip is very beautiful.

Conclusion: Anyone who claims to have the most important Krautrock albums in their music closet these days must have two or three albums of Ash Ra Temple in addition to Kraftwerk, Amon Dul, Tangerine Dream, Guru Guru, Agitation Free, Can and Popol Vuh and some other albums of Ashra too. This debut album of Ash Ra Tempel is one of the finest examples of the so called Krautrock scene. They're perhaps the quintessential example of Krautrock. The whole album gives you a feeling of flying through space in a pyramid and visiting planets with ancient temples. Gottsching is perhaps one of the most innovative guitarists ever, despite there is no flashy solos and Schulze is a master to create the spacey electronic music. Yes, this really is spacey music. However, if you're looking for something more controlled and electronic kind of spacey atmospheres start with one of the first Ashra albums instead of Ash Ra Temple albums.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Ash Ra Tempel by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.14 | 424 ratings

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Ash Ra Tempel
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars For whatever reason, the term "jam band" has become synonymous with one of its narrower variants, the stoner-improv of the Grateful Dead and Phish. But Ash Ra Tempel is certainly the work of a jam band, the kind of band that doesn't get overly concerned about rehearsal and whose compositions are by their nature unpremeditated.

Side One, "Amboss" (English: "Anvil"), reminds me of a live Jimi Hendrix Experience jam - - but whereas in Hendrix's hands this piece would have evolved out of a structured song, and would eventually evolve back, "Amboss" is just the jam. As sidelong power-trio jams go, it's not bad. And it definitely hints at the in which direction Ash Ra Tempel's drummer, Klaus Schulze, would be heading over the next few years as a solo artist.

In some ways Side Two, the twenty-five minute "Traummtaschine" ("Dream Machine"), is even more Schulzian. While guitarist Manuel Göttsching was the star of "Amboss," "Traummtaschine" is much more atmospheric; occasionally one instrument is prominent, but there really isn't a lead part here. Both Göttsching and Schulze are credited with "electronics," and while that's pretty descriptive, I'm not sure exactly what means they used to achieve some of the sounds of the soundscape.

So Ash Ra Tempel is one side freakout and one side chillout. To a Klaus Schulze fan like me, it fits perfectly on a timeline between his prior album, Electronic Meditation (1970, with Tangerine Dream) and his first solo record, Irrlicht (1972). Whereas Electronic Meditation was marked by experimental antimusic, and Irrlicht was largely an ambient drone album, the experimentation on Ash Ra Tempel is carried out within some degree of structure, even if that structure is inferred by comparing Ash Ra Tempel to the other two LPs. Although it must strike many listeners as noise for the sake of noise, Ash Ra Tempel is actually closer to art for the sake of art. And whatever they were doing with this album, Göttsching, Schulze, and bassist Hartmut Enke weren't creating music as entertainment.

I guess it makes sense, then, that I admire and appreciate Ash Ra Tempel even more than I enjoy it, which I do on occasion. In particular, "Traummtaschine" fits well as part of an early-Schulze playlist.

Anyway, three stars for a good album. It's not a bad place to start for those interested in this group, although the identically structured Join Inn (1973) is definitely more accessible.

 Join Inn by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.90 | 174 ratings

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Join Inn
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I have to confess that I'm a Klaus Schulze fan, so my angle on Ash Ra Tempel is a bit skewed. I only own three of the group's albums, and Schulze is credited with drums and electronics on two (their 1971 debut and Join Inn). Meanwhile, Manuel Göttsching is generally acknowledged as the leader and decisionmaker of Ash Ra Tempel; in fact, Schulze left the band after their first album and appears to have just "joined in" for the recording session that produced this album.

Side One of Join Inn is the aptly named "Freak 'n' Roll," a semi-coordinated jam featuring some of the most proficient - - and most straightforward - - drumming I've heard from Schulze. Guitarist Göttsching is at least as good as he had been "Amboss," the opener from Ash Ra Tempel, and overall, "Freak 'n' Roll" has a clearer sound than "Amboss." Other than that, the two tracks are quite similar.

Mirroring "Traummtaschine," the second side of Ash Ra Tempel, "Jenseits" (English: "the hereafter," "afterworld," "afterlife") is an excellent ambient piece in period Schulze style, with Schulze playing a heavily tweaked organ instead of the drumkit. Although some of Schulze's experiments later in the decade with voice as an accompaniment were successful (e.g., Ernst Walter Siemon on Blackdance, 1974), others were decidedly not (e.g., Arthur Brown on Dune, 1979); Rosi Müller's contributions to "Jenseits" work quite well. And of course, "Jenseits" is not a Schulze solo track. Its composition is credited to Göttsching, Schulze, and bassist Hartmut Enke (though not to Müller, although she would figure in writing Ash Ra Tempel's follow-up album later in 1973), and Göttsching's improvisation is essential to its success.

Join Inn is strongly reminiscent of Ash Ra Tempel's self-titled debut: in both cases, Side One is a nineteen-minute power-trio jam, and Side Two is a 25-minute ambient cooldown. But in retrospect, the moderately effective Ash Ra Tempel sounds like a practice run for Join Inn, which nicely exemplifies these two sides of Kosmische Musik: an experimental approach to western rock instrumentation and a studio-as-instrument minimalism. While falling short of "masterpiece" status, Join Inn is a very good album, and one I'd recommend to those interested in this subgenre of progressive rock.

P.S.: Whereas "Amboss" seems to be the progenitor of "Freak 'n' Roll" on Join Inn, "Der Vierte Kuss," recorded by Göttsching, Schulze, and Enkein 1970 but unreleased until 1996, may be the ancestor of "Amboss." "Der Vierte Kuss" ("The Fourth Kiss") was released on the Rhino compilation Supernatural Fairy Tales: the Progressive Rock Era.

 Starring Rosi by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.12 | 87 ratings

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Starring Rosi
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Starring Rosi was recorded by a lineup of Ash Ra Tempel very different from the group that had released Join Inn earlier the same year. Here Ash Ra Tempel is effectively a duo of Manuel Göttsching, who plays guitar, keyboards, and bass, and Rosi Müller, on vocals, vibraphone, and harp. They are joined by the famous Krautrock dummer Harald Großkopf and equally renown Krautrock record producer Dieter Dierks, who plays bass on the final song.

Stylistically, Starring Rosi is all over the proverbial map - - as exemplified by the three instrumental pieces on the album. "Laughter Loving," inexplicably to me at least, is a country-western instrumental with Göttsching playing a twangy lead, a strummed rhythm guitar, a suitable bass part, and one (or more) freestyle parts in the back of the mix. Großkopf pounds away throughout. The slower, darker, and decidedly non-country "Schizo" has a similar structure, but with much less of Großkopf. "The Fairy Dance" is more ambient, although not much like the atmospheric pieces on Ash Ra Tempel ("Traummtaschine") and Join Inn ("Jenseits"), insofar as "The Fairy Dance" has comparably substantial structure. It's a bit like synth-based new-age music of the 1980s and 1990s.

"Day Dream" and "Interplay of Forces" are the two songs with substantial vocals. I don't say "substantial singing," because throughout the album Müller speaks most of her parts. Each of these songs has a repetitive aspect. On "Interplay," after reciting each couplet in German, Müller recites an English translation; on "Day Dream," Göttsching sings each line after Müller says it. As it turns out, Göttsching is a pretty good singer.

Two other tracks are largely instrumental, with Müller contributing a few vocal lines. "Cosmic Tango" returns to the "Laughter Loving" sound, this time with pre-Beatles rock & roll guitar soloing over a galloping beat - - reminiscent of surf-rock. Müller recites the lines "ready, steady, go," "far out," and "cosmic tango." On the closing number she recites a brief poem centering on the lines "the moment I met you / I knew you'll bring me up." In another example of repetition, she later backs Göttsching as he sings those same lines at the end of the song. "Bring Me Up," a Santana-like rocker, is the most commercial song on Starring Rosi, and also the only one I find enjoyable.

I ordinarily don't give much consideration to an album's title or artwork when writing a review. But I have wondered why this album is called Starring Rosi when Göttsching is clearly the star. The title has to create an expectation among listeners that Müller's contribution will be substantial, and it must have been obvious that this expectation would not be met. This brings up the question: why not just call this a Göttsching solo album? Or why not Starring Harald?

Anyway, the album's title is not the only source of my confusion over Starring Rosi. Where Join Inn was spontaneous, Starring Rosi seems calculated. And although Join Inn (1973) was similar stylistically to the band's 1971 debut album, it still sounded experimental and innovative. Much of Starring Rosi sounds derivative by comparison. Or maybe it's fairer to call Starring Rosi a failed experiment in interpreting popular music styles. At any rate, I really can't recommend this album. "Bring Me Up," if available as an inexpensive, standalone download, wouldn't be a bad investment, but otherwise, I wouldn't suggest spending time or money on Starring Rosi that could be spent on Ash Ra Tempel, or especially on Join Inn.

 Le berceau de cristal (OST) by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.02 | 64 ratings

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Le berceau de cristal (OST)
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by PlacesofLight405

3 stars I like this album. It's a nice, spare entry to the Ash Ra discography. However, I find this album inferior to the work immediately preceding and following its 1975 recording date. The soundscapes aren't as engaging here as the are on New Age of Earth or Inventions for Electric Guitar and the Ashra melodies and band interaction hold more appeal the the floating Le Berceau de Cristal. A pleasant, top-heavy album that rarely gets play on my turntable due to the existence of much better Ash Ra and ambient/electronic releases out there.

I would like to see how the music interacts with the movie someday. That could bump the score for me, however it's unlikely. If Goettsching and crew thought this was so great, why did it sit unreleased until the early 1990's?

Nice cover art, but the words and font don't go with the picture. For some it's quibbling, for me it's a turnoff.

 Ash Ra Tempel by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.14 | 424 ratings

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Ash Ra Tempel
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Manuel Göttsching was born in 1952 in West Berlin, being one of the first post-war generations in Germany. In 1960, he began to learn to play classical guitar. In the mid-60's, he became interested in rock music through artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green, and Eric Clapton. As a 15-year old schoolboy, Göttsching teamed up with Hartmut Enke, his friend and classmate, to create his first school band. 1968 was a revolutionary year in his musical development, when he met the Swiss avant-garde composer Thomas Kessler, who specialized in electronic music. In 1970, together with Enke, Wolfgang Müllerm and Volker Zibell, Göttsching founded an outfit Steeple Chase Blues Band. The same year, him, Enke, and Klaus Schulze formed Ash Ra Tempel, which many years later would prove to be one of the most influential and important bands in the history of what would later be known as krautrock or kosmische music. In March of 1971, Ash Ra Tempel recorded their eponymous debut, at Hamburg's Star Studios. The album was released three months later under the Ohr label. Manuel Göttsching recalls "The first Ash Ra Tempel was, for me, not really record production, I wanted to have it as much as possible as a kind of document. (...) We were a live band and our real strength and the power that we had and that we could show was our live performances, so I just wanted to bring this as much as possible on this record."

A calm ambient chord swell accompanied by gentle cymbal touches innocently opens "Amboss", as if mighty, grey clouds were arriving just before a tremendous thunderstorm. The atmosphere slowly builds up with guitar parts becoming more and more pronounced and self-assured. In addition, lengthy reverb and feedback tails start following the instrument's parts. The storm clouds are gradually getting closer with drums getting heavier, louder, and more dense. At one point, the instrument finally settles on an even, rapid rhythm that appears as if waiting for guitar and bass to join. The rain starts falling. Everything becomes enormous, powerful, and loud. Finally, the guitar breaks through with its solo part. In the beginning, Manuel Göttsching's playing strongly resembles that of Jimi Hendrix, not only with the tone of the instrument, but also with its use of certain riffs on the pentatonic scale. Suddenly, the popular, rocky-sounding pentatonic is substituted by more "stylish" modes, which might bring middle eastern or Egyptian (as suggested by the cover art) influences to mind. Soon after reaching its spacey climax, the guitar retreats towards drawing softer ambient textures, until the loud jam returns once again. This time it's even heavier, reaching a point when it could even be called cacophonous. The piece ends suddenly and decisively.

Contrary to "Amboss", "Traummaschine", which translates into "Dream Machine" from German, is a pastel, sedative ambient track throughout. Beginning with a dreamy, slowly progressing sonic wave, which includes high amounts of reverb and guitar feedback, it really takes its time to build up, in fact much more slowly than its predecessor. Around nine minutes into the piece, one will start noticing more guitar layers "clustering" and gradually strengthening the overall effect of Dream Machine's movement. Finally, the musical scenery is supported with Eastern-sounding hand drums. Although more powerful, the track still does not lose its dark, three-dimensional, catacomb-like atmosphere. At one point, one of the guitars participating in building the Dream Machine becomes brave enough to sing a washy, highly overdriven solo somewhere in the distant background. Suddenly, the pace slows down with the string instrument being abandoned. When the rhythm disappears completely and "Traummaschine" reclaims its ambient quality, similar to the one with which it started, the guitar once again starts its solo part, not for long, however. With the atmospherics it built, one might be tricked into thinking that a musical eruption is slowly creeping, while in reality, the Dream Machine fades into a silent territory from which it started.

With their eponymous debut album, Ash Ra Tempel is not only responsible for creating striking, spatial soundscapes, but also for what turned out to be a groundbreaking album for German rock music. Furthermore, it could be considered an important historical document, featuring Klaus Schulze on the drum stool, not long before he gave up the instrument and began, quite successfully, as we have come to know, composing and recording electronic music on his own. With its two contrasted epics, Ash Ra Tempel provides one of the most breathtaking and atmospheric musical journeys in the krautrock genre. An essential album!

 Friendship by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.57 | 57 ratings

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Friendship
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Ash Ra Tempel in year 2000?

25 years after the band's last official recording, after the electronic revolution of the 90's, do you really expect that the reunion of the two synthesizers pioneers can result in a music comparable to the krautrock of the classic 70's ASH RA TEMPEL albums? Recorded in 1998 and 1999, "Friendship" consists in long ambient soundscapes weaved by Klaus Schulze's keyboards textures and Manuel Göttsching's whirlwinding guitar interventions. The style is pretty much similar to Schulze's modern solo works.

"Reunion" opens on a floydian and relaxing tone, until the distorted guitar floats over spacey synthesizers and modern drums. Nice but a bit lengthy. Mainly electronic, "Pikant" is the passage the most similar to Klaus Schulze's compositions, especially his 90's releases. It nonetheless contains an interlude where Göttsching offers a delicate solo, sounding a little Spanish. On the contrary, the title track is rather driven by electric guitar. A slowly evolving cosmic piece, nice and dreamy but not very varied.

As you may have understood, of the two band cofounders, Schulze is the one the influence can be the most perceived on this album. The music neither resembles classic ASH RA TEMPEL, nor a modern version of it (such as SUBARACHNOID SPACE), nor even ASHRA, regardless of the period. "Friendship" can be described as a pleasant 90's Klaus Schulze album accompanied by Manuel Göttsching's guitars. The quality is overall constant, however the only problem is that all tracks are too long and not very changing.

Consider this disc as an unexpected enjoyable bonus from the Germans. Don't pick this one if you're looking for immersive psychedelic / space rock, but you can give it a listen if you're into modern Schulze records and electronic ambient soundscapes.

 Le berceau de cristal (OST) by ASH RA TEMPEL album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.02 | 64 ratings

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Le berceau de cristal (OST)
Ash Ra Tempel Krautrock

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A crystalline soundtrack

Recorded in 1975, but not officially released until 1993, "Le Berceau De Cristal" is the soundtrack of an obscure experimental French movie directed by Philippe Garrel, featuring VELVET UNDERGROUND's ex-female singer Nico as an actress. Not quite in the psychedelic rock style of the first four classic ASH RA TEMPEL albums, the music is much more electronic and atmospheric, in the vein of early Klaus Schulze's material, with a slight touch of Manuel Göttsching's "Inventions For Electric Guitar". These oneiric, fully instrumental and slowly evolving soundscapes sometimes announce the direction the German pioneer will later take with his future band ASHRA.

This record also marks Göttsching's first collaboration with AGITATION FREE's ex-guitarist Lutz Ulbrich. He will return four years later as a member of ASHRA, with Harald Grosskopf.

Longest passage of the disc, the 14 minutes title track is an exception, as it's a live recorded improvisation. The first half deploys spacey synthetic textures mysterious, but the second half sounds rather strange and spooky. Uneven, and lacking a bit of coherency. The ethereal "L'hiver Doux" is nice and delicate, whereas the ambient and aquatic "Silence Sauvage" features somehow futuristic percussions. Original.

In the vein of "Inventions For Electric Guitar", the trippy repetitive and minimalist "Le Sourire Envol'" and "Deux Enfants Sous La Lune" shape the style Manuel Göttsching with adopt for ASHRA. Then comes one of the most beautiful moment of the album: "Le Songe D'or", slow and contemplative. In this peaceful landscape, the weird tortured "Le Diable Dans La Maison" looks like an intruder. The weakest track of the record. "...Et Les Fantômes Rêvent Aussi" concludes the disc with an ambiance à la Klaus Schulze.

Despite a few odd passages, "Le Berceau De Cristal" is a very cool soundtrack. Driven by synthesizers, the style follows Göttsching's logical evolution in the mid-70's. To better represent the music, this should have been released under his artist name instead of ASH RA TEMPEL's.

A forgotten and spacey little gem, recommended if you enjoy early Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching's "Inventions For Electric Guitar", or even the first ASHRA albums.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to E&O Team for the last updates

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