Space rock supreme…
By Uncle Blurt
Around the BLURT mothership I am known as the resident Krautrock fanatic, er, expert, but it was still a surprise to learn recently that Ash Ra Tempel is still operating. Formed by guitarist Manuel Göttsching, keyboardist/drummer Klaus Schulze (late of Tangerine Dream, of course) and bassist Hartmut Enke in 1971, the group went through numerous permutations, with Gottsching being the lone constant. (For awhile he operated simply as Ashra.) Along the way, such psychedelic, atmospheric and, yes, classic LPs as Schwingungen in ’72 and Starring Rosi in ’73 were released, and the band would go on to be a major influence on contemporary psych bands, particularly during the ‘90s when CD reissues allowed the group to be discovered by a younger generation.
Apparently Gottsching is still at it, as evidenced by this concert about a month ago in Holland.
It’s available now at Big O zine as a free MP3 download along with downloadable artwork, and it’s an audience-sourced beauty, just Gottsching on keyboards (!) and Lutz Graf-Ulbrich on guitar. Just the full track alone, the 18-minute “Echoes,” is worth the kosmiche kost of admission alone, its ambient-tilting textures leavened by intricate extrapolations that incorporate bluesy psych and, naturally, motoric rhythms (this despite the absence of a drummer). The full tracklist is below.