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Ashra - Correlations CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

2.97 | 66 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Three friends

After a hat-trick of solo albums, one in his own name and two under the band moniker Ashra, Manuel Gottsching decided to put a small band together to record the third Ashra album. He brought in multi-keyboards player and guitarist Lutz Ulbrich plus drummer/percussionist Harald Grosskopf; the latter had previously played with Gottsching on the last album recorded by Ash Ra Tempel.

On "Correlations", Gottsching pursues a more commercial sound, while remaining heavily indulged in an improvised style. There is a real band feel to the album, the authentic drum and percussion sounds immediately providing a rock, in preference to electronic, basis on which the track are constructed.

The opening "Ice train" is very much of the style of bands such as SBB, with lead guitar being driven along by heavy drums. "Club cannibal" sees Ulbrich introduce his mellotron to the sound. The funky rhythm supports a varied keyboards and guitar workout, but I find the piece overall to be rather directionless. "Oasis" is a softer lead guitar solo with a basic theme which never really develops.

As the title suggests, "Bamboo sands" has tropical overtones, the bouncy beat and light sounds making for a commercially appealing piece of funk rock. "Morgana da capo" sees the return on the mellotron, which lays a lush orchestrated foundation for further guitar improvisation. At around 9 minutes, "Pas de trois" is the longest track on the album (there is no feature track this time as such), but it offers more of the same, being an extended lead guitar workout. The album closes with "Phantasus", a more moody piece with a heavy drum rhythm.

Perhaps it is the expectations raised after two fine albums which leads me to feel more than a little disappointed with this album. This seems to be little more than three friends getting together and indulging themselves for an hour. There is no questioning the proficiency of the performances, and the music is certainly pleasant and inoffensive. There is for me though no character to the results. "Correlations" is anonymous, it drifts along effortlessly while failing to capture the imagination of the listener. Don't get me wrong though, many will enjoy this album, especially those who lean towards improvisation and fusion for their pleasure.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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