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Ash Ra Tempel - Join Inn CD (album) cover


Ash Ra Tempel



3.87 | 162 ratings

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5 stars Between 'Join Inn', it's predecessor 'Schwingungen', and the group's eponymously-titled debut album, Berlin-based Ash Ra Tempel cooked up some of the most freaked-out cosmic krautrock ever known to man. By 'Join Inn's release date of 1973, the group's founder-and-leader Manuel Gottsching had well-and-truly established his psychedelic blueprint: two lengthy, experimental jams covering each side of vinyl, the first piece intense and fiery; the second sedate and mellow. Of those first three albums 'Join Inn' interpreted the formula best, with Side One's firery 'Freak & Roll' doing exactly what the title says and the entrancing 'Jeinseits' guiding the listener through 20-plus minutes of seriously blissed-out, other-worldly psychedelic rock. By this point, the group was a three-piece, with Gottsching(synth, guitar) augmented by ex-Tangerine Dream member(and soon-to-be electronic solo star)Klaus Schulze(keyboards, drums) and Hartmut Enke(bass). Rosi Muller(vocals) lent her soft, teutonic tones to 'Jenseits', whilst Dieter Dierks and Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser handled the production at Dierks own studio. The album belongs to a small set of beautifully-crafted 'cosmic rock' albums that featured epic - and mainly instrumental - compositions which build slowly from simple origins into full-blown psychedelic soundscapes filled with shimmering synths and keyboards, misty drumming, sitar-like guitar licks and the occasional chant or vocal murmur. 'Freak & Roll' took the formula to extremes, with intense, almost tribal-like drumming, manic keyboards and Gottshcing's wild guitar rising to a powerful creschendo which is then followed by the meditative and zen-like calm of 'Jenseits', thus offering up the full psychedelic-trip feel. In some ways 'Join Inn' is similar to the beautifully-wrought 'A Meditation Mass' by fellow Germans Yath Sidhra, which is another album featuring lushly-crafted and intensely-mellow song-suites, though one with a slightly more ethnic feel. The loose, rolling groove of 'Jenseit's is a truely beautful thing, and, imbued with Rosi Muller's spoken vocals, becomes almost an act of meditation for the listener, such is the warmth and depth of the song's overall atmosphere. Ash Ra Tempel's style is very different to the likes of fellow, internationally-known German groups Can, Neu! and Grobschnitt, but their vein of Krautrock is one of the cornerstone's the genre was built upon, i.e. the idea of creating sonic experiments that were as different as possible from the anglo-american pop music that dominated the German airwaves during the 1960's and early 1970's. Their first three albums are all virtual-classics, yet it is 'Join Inn' which makes the most indelible mark. The album's stylistic juxtaposition is much more pronounced than it's predecessors, and the almost-improvisational feel provides a lush, sonic tapestry of cosmic sounds that resonate with both fear and beauty. 'Join Inn' found this experimental group at the peak of their abilities, and, led by Manuel Gottsching's un-bending dedication to all things 'cosmic', created a wonderful example of prime German spacerock. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 5/5 |


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