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ASHRA

Progressive Electronic • Germany


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Ashra biography
ASHRA was Manuel GÖTTSCHING's continuation of ASH RA TEMPEL, moving from the outerspace psychedelic realms of the temple to the electronic domain of Berlin characterized by TANGERINE DREAM. It's this aspect which leads to the "New Age", which has since been quite successful. The spiralling guitars and electronic layers create calm ambiences which are the basis of this style.

There were four excellent albums in the late 70's/early 80's: "New Age of Earth", "Blackouts", "Correlations" and "Belle Alliance". "New Age of Earth" (mainly synth but with some guitar) was the result of his new direction. This is a beautiful, lyrical release, with solo guitar against tapestries of electronics, which has a much more 'human' feel than other similar 'Berlin school' works of the same period. "Blackouts" is very relaxing and a great way to unwind after a difficult day.

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New Age of EarthNew Age of Earth
Import
EMI Europe Generic 1990
Audio CD$3.05
$3.08 (used)
Ashra & Ashra 2Ashra & Ashra 2
Made in Germany Music 2012
Audio CD$14.23
$13.50 (used)
BlackoutsBlackouts
Virgin Records
Audio CD$9.00 (used)
Walkin the DesertWalkin the Desert
Import
Spalax 2002
Audio CD$16.42
$11.43 (used)
Correlations CompleteCorrelations Complete
Import
Mg Art 2016
Audio CD$67.99
Ashra Live Vol. 2Ashra Live Vol. 2
Import
Audio CD$28.85 (used)
SunrainSunrain
Blue Plate Caroline 1997
Audio CD$17.95
$13.22 (used)
Belle AllianceBelle Alliance
Import
PID 2002
Audio CD$15.97
$24.99 (used)
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ASHRA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ASHRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 152 ratings
New Age Of Earth
1977
3.73 | 90 ratings
Blackouts
1977
2.91 | 37 ratings
Correlations
1979
3.20 | 29 ratings
Belle Alliance
1980
3.58 | 15 ratings
Walkin' The Desert
1989
1.62 | 12 ratings
Tropical Heat
1991

ASHRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 9 ratings
Sauce Hollandaise
1998
4.00 | 3 ratings
@shra
1998
4.00 | 3 ratings
@shra Vol. 2
2002

ASHRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Live At The Open Air Festival Herzberg 1997
2001

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

3.09 | 3 ratings
Sunrain: The Virgin Years
1996
2.60 | 5 ratings
The Making Of
2002

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

ASHRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sauce Hollandaise by ASHRA album cover Live, 1998
3.70 | 9 ratings

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Sauce Hollandaise
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Blackouts by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.73 | 90 ratings

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Blackouts
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ASHRA's best studio album

4.5 stars

In 1977, Manuel Göttsching bought a sequencer and began to experiment with it. At the end of the year, his new solo album "Blackouts" was released. Although still warm and soft, his music becomes less minimalistic, more various, melodic and guitar-oriented.

"77 Slightly Delayed" is an humorous reference to the fact that this record could have been delayed to 1978. This opening track is a nice sweet, dreamy piece. "Midnight On Mars" features more guitar. "Don't Trust The Kids" / "Blackouts" is in fact a single pleasant 8 minutes track. I don't really understand why it has been separated in 2 halfs, but it does not matter. "Shuttlecock" continues in the same vein, with a little funky rythm. The record finishes with the 17 minutes long "Lotus", which contains some experimental passages. Enjoyable, but a bit too long.

Less innovative than "New Age of Earth" (due to the analog sequencer?), "Blackouts" has however more variety, melody and is better balanced than its predecessor. The tone is still warm and soothing, like if you were floating in space. Manuel Göttsching's guitar makes the compositions even prettier. Very recommended to TANGERINE DREAM, KLAUS SCHULZE or even space rock fans.

 New Age Of Earth by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.02 | 152 ratings

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New Age Of Earth
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars

Initially recorded in 1976, "New Age Of Earth" is undoubtly an important album in the development of electronica. Contrarily to what the title may suggest, the style is different from the new-age and "world" genres that will develop in the next decades. Furthermore, there is no real relation with the New-Age philosophy. Manuel Göttsching has now left the Ohr label for Virgin to create ASHRA. Unique member for this first album, he made the musical direction evolve from long ASH RA TEMPEL space rock jams to electronic-dominated shorter compositions. However, there are some interesting differences from what his german compatriots were doing at the same period.

First, the synthetizer sequences are manually played and not programed, adding more human feel and modulations to the overall ambiance. Second, the style is very minimalistic and share similarities with STEVE REICH. Finally, due to the usage of major scale the tracks sounds warmer, smoother than the other tunes of the same genre, .

"Sunrain" is a good synthesis of these different aspects. Soft and comforting, it will become an ASHRA classic. "Ocean of Tenderness" is my least favorite of the record. I tend to find this slow ambient tune a bit too long. The other short track, "Deep Distance" is an inspired soft cosmic dreamy passage.The record finishes with the 22 minutes long "Nightdust". Contrarily to the other compositions, the ambiance is darker and more mysterious. While its first half is atmospheric, the second half contains a cool synth sequence and a nice spacey guitar.

The first listen can result on mixed feelings. Repetitive, without many variations, the minimalistic style can disconcert TANGERINE DREAM, SCHULZE or JARRE fans. Personally, I prefer shorther tracks over the long ones. However, Manuel Göttsching may have been more innovative than his electronic brothers at the same time for this first opus. "New Age Of Earth" has its own identity: warm, soothing and ideal of relaxation. A soft trip to friendly stars.

After all, maybe this album had on influence on New-Age philosophy and music, one will never know...

 Tropical Heat by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1991
1.62 | 12 ratings

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Tropical Heat
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Easily ASHRA's weakest album. Released in 1991, "Tropical Heat" is a compilation of compositions initially recorded in 1986-1987. These for sure does not sound like their former records. The band tries to mix their style with "tropical" elements and the worst mid-80's electronic sounds. This record is harder to understand when you know Manuel Göttsching composed such innovative and avant-garde albums like "New Age of Earth" and the influencal "E2-E4", just 5 years earlier.

The opening "Mosquito Dance" is one of the rare pleasant passage of the record. It's a relaxing and charming soft tune with a dynamic rythm and joyful melody. On the contrary, The title track have no particular tropical feel, but sounds terribly dated and uninspired, as it contains many of the synth clichés of this period. Where's my ASHRA? "Pretty Papaya" is the only composition by Manuel Göttsching. Not really pretty, this is a dated 80's synth tune trying to sound exotic.

"Nights In Sweat" is a missed attempt at including jazz samples. With its awful beats and disjointed melody, this track is barely listenable. In the same style, "Don't Stop The Fan" is just slightly better. "Monsoon" concludes the record with an hawaiian-like guitar. A peaceful tune, not bad but not good either.

Reworking this rather uninspired dated mid-80's material was not a good idea. Releasing it during the beginning of the 90's, a period that gave birth to a new generation of electronic artists, was even worse. Few rare enjoyable moments, I recommend to skip to other albums of ASHRA.

 Walkin' The Desert by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.58 | 15 ratings

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Walkin' The Desert
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The desert has unexpected resources

In 1988, West-Berlin was the european culture capital. During this event, ASHRA performed a concert without Harald Grosskopf, who was not available. Manuel Göttsching and Lutz Ulbrich created a stylistic exercise with different instruments. The compositions were later reworked by the two musicians and released as an album.

"Walkin' the desert" is quite unique in ASHRA's discography. Heterogeneous, its style is completely different from their albums records, and even from what other 70's electronic bands were doing at the same time. No new-age, pre-techno, or accessible melodic synthetizer music here; the approach is more similar to the minimalistic genre developed by pioneers such as Steve Reich. An evidence: each track names the instruments used and their number.

"First Movement" has reminiscences with "New Age of Earth", in the minimalistic style. My least favorite passage of the disc. "Second Movement" displays a relaxing ambiance consists in interlaced atmospheric synth textures, with javanese influences. Its mysterious mood makes you wish to explore an ancient temple.

"Third Movement" can remind a little "Inventions For Electric Guitar", as the guitar plays the role of the electronic sequence. Once more, it shows Manuel Göttsching's mastership with this instrument. The last track, "Fourth Movement", is the most original and "desert"-ic. A good inspired collage of short samples of middle-oriental instruments and songs. The first part is melodic, while the second half is rather ambient. Very refreshing. The 1990 CD edition contains a bonus track, "Dessert". More accessible than the other compositions, it's a pleasant slow melancholic tune.

"Walkin' the desert" is a good surprise compared to most electronic music of the same period. Recommended if you want to discover another facet of ASHRA, and especially if you're into minimalistic genre and Steve Reich.

 Belle Alliance by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.20 | 29 ratings

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Belle Alliance
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars "Belle Alliance" is the continuation of the style adopted on the former ASHRA album, "Correlations": accessible space disco-rock, the Manuel Göttsching way. However, the music is more various, as it shows influences from other musical genres.

"Wudu" and "Screamer" are efficient openers, with a energic beats and guitars. Then comes "Boomerang" with its reggae ryhtm and joyful tone. Undoubtly inventive but a bit odd as its ambiance contrasts with the former tracks. Back to electronics with "Aerogen", my favorite composition of the record. Fast space-disco/rock with a very good guitar solo from Göttsching.

The second half is less dynamic. "Sausalito" has an average melody and is the least interesting track of the record. "Kazoo" contains is a slow ambient tune with some oriental incursions, but unfornately not many variations. With 15 minutes duration, "Code Blue" is the only long track of the album. This very slow atmospheric composition sounds by moments similar to Terry Riley. Enjoyable, but much too long and certainly does not justify its length. The record finishes with "Mistral", a delicate aerial tune with spanish influenced guitar play.

Although a bit unequal and heterogeneous, occasionally resulting in strange transitions, the overall impression is positive. I slightly prefer "Correlations" over this one. However, as its little brother, "Belle Alliance" is quite pleasant and original.

 New Age Of Earth by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.02 | 152 ratings

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New Age Of Earth
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by MJAben

4 stars This album is a journey, plunged deep into the depths of human subconsciousness and gently lifted back to a peaceful tranquility. One thing that constantly amazes me about this record is how perfectly layered it is, often with so many different streams of sound cascading into you. What I love the most about this album however is that if I listen to it closely I am treated to some of the most thoughtful, developed and subtle psych / electronic / kraut I have ever heard. But when I listen to the album as background music it functions wonderfully as a mood inducer, and more importantly for an insomniac like myself, a sleep inducer.

I don't think the albums perfectly, the drum machine can at times be off-putting and, to be perfectly frank, this album doesn't push any envelope and remains safe. Another issue I have, albeit a small one, is that if you listen to the last song 'Nightdust' as background music it has a tendency to feel a bit empty (though if you focus in you find this is not the case).

Many reviewers have mentioned how they find 'Nightdust' to be their favorite track but for me I find that this is the opposite, it's not that the song is bad but that it feels like it meanders too much whereas the other songs accomplish what they set out to do in a much shorter and more concise manner. I feel as though 'Nightdust' doesn't really pick up until the last ten minutes which, from then on in, it is utterly jaw-dropping. For me, the highlight is the album is the middle, the songs 'Ocean of Tenderness' and 'Deep Distance' take you on such a journey in their own right, beautiful and ethereal but at the same time, feeling focused and driven.

The real strength here is listening to the album as a whole, each song individually couldn't come close to holding up to the journey that the whole album is able to take you through, from start to finish this record is absolutely fantastic.

4/5 stars but an extremely high 4 stars at that!

 Sauce Hollandaise by ASHRA album cover Live, 1998
3.70 | 9 ratings

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Sauce Hollandaise
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

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.

 Walkin' The Desert by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.58 | 15 ratings

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Walkin' The Desert
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars To be honest, the only reason I figure out, for such a few and so-so ratings for this ASHRA's "Walikin' in the Desert" (1989), is that it is, at the time and now, completely "un-Kraut" or TD (by the way). That's it. Beyond that, there is no other "real" reason, I can figure out.

The first song "first movement - two keyboards", is a "minimalistic" composition, very much in the spirit of Steve Reich's "Piano Phase" (1967), but totally different in goal and successful by its own. Still very far, forget Kraut, even "P/Electronic" as such. The mere use of acoustic keys, marks the whole difference.

Next comes the second movement named "Six Voices", which are electronic, but also include a flute like voice and a subtle but impossing "dark' chorus. The melody is intelligent, kind of a "serious business", yet flows by the addition of a vibraphone which counterpoints the now clearer skies. It is sweet but not "sickening-sweet", a thin and very well respected approach makes it perfect. (to some it could sound like Mr. Oldfield, without honey) still not "Kraut" found as such.

The third movement, "Four Guitars", goes for the same approach as the first, but now with 4 simmultaneous lines of electrics, going alongside, playing against and with each other. This is one of the recorded reasons, why M. Gottsching (guitars/keys) was and is so relevant to the whole "Prog" scene. When he is good, he is great, this song is "shocking proof!". Close to "kraut" but not the "Temple".

Fourth movement - "Twelve Samples", is closer to "world" fusion music. As understood, these 12 samples run along, although they, as independent structures, will not stand alone. In the vein of middle Eastern music, without no big emphasis, beyond being a mere good electronic/experimental song. This one could be the 3 star owner.

The last track, "Desert - Eight Tracks", takes from its predecessor, the experimental tone, but its construction goes otherwise, this one is by all standards "pure', Lo/Fi, electronic- Kraut, or at least, its "future".

So, I will highly recommend to approach this "near-masterpiece", without pre-conceptions or prejudices, in able to "see" the "caliber" of this work. By all means 4****PA stars. Enjoy!

 New Age Of Earth by ASHRA album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.02 | 152 ratings

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New Age Of Earth
Ashra Progressive Electronic

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

4 stars A sonic journey to outer space from the depths of the sea- that is the best imagery I can conjure with respect to Ashra's New Age of Earth. While it begins energetically and fluidly, it gradually lets the listener go, as the approach becomes more and more minimal.

"Sunrain" Tranquil electric piano hammers out a soft base for the lengthy Mellotron-like phrases uttered over it. Like a flower, the piece blooms into something brighter and ethereally layered.

"Ocean of Tenderness" The album dives into deeper tranquility, with washes of peaceful sound.

"Deep Distance" The continued serenity, with the high whistling tones, brings Yes' "Soon" to mind. Soon it takes on a lighter countenance of its own.

"Nightdust" It's as though the listener has finally emerged from the aquatic depths and is being lifted toward the stars. Distant tones weave a slow, nocturnal movement, as though gradually inviting the listener to a sleepy oblivion.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Philippe Blache for the last updates

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