Ash Ra Tempel VI / Manuel Göttsching – Inventions For Electric Guitar

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First of all: that cover! Look at that flamboyant personality looking back at you, smiling! The self-assured saint of the electric six string, the gong behind him twining around the iconic guitar player like a halo.

People tend to praise “E2-E4” to be Göttsching’s masterpiece (and for giving birth to Trance Music especially) – but to my ears it’s a bit boring after ten minutes or so. I prefer the repetitive, minimal echo-ridden guitar meditations on his first solo-album from 1975. Maybe it is because I’m not much of a dancer…

Anyway, the three compositions on “Inventions For Electric Guitar” are played on guitar only – played through a variety of effects that make the record sometimes sound as if it was made with synthesizers instead of a single guitar.

Especially the second track, the short “Quasarsphere”, doesn’t sound like guitar music at all. It is a prime example of airy Kosmische Musik. Not unlike Popol Vuh’s opening title to “Aguirre” – maybe less haunting and more dreamy.

But for example the last three and a half minutes of “Echo-Waves”, the opening track on the record, feature some significant rock-guitar-solo, that indicate Göttsching’s roots in Rock Music (listen to “Chicken Maladie” of Göttsching’s Steeple Chase Blues Band from the late 60’s, archived on “The Private Tapes Vol.1”-Bootleg.) By the time of recording “E2-E4” that rock-music-vibe was gone, but its presence on “Inventions For Electric Guitar” is undeniable.

Of course, there is much more: “Pluralis” sounds like a room full of mirrors – a tune endlessly reflecting its own melody: Radiating, lovely & detailed. A radiance so strong it contaminated Mark McGuire’s musical DNA back in 2008. Listen to “Pluralis” and “A Matter Of Time” (from 2008’s “Amethyst Waves” cassette) back to back – stunning!

I’ve been asking myself why the Emeralds never teamed up with Manuel Göttsching, maybe for one of these FRKWYS-Sessions and while writing this review I learned that Mark McGuire left the Emeralds. – So, maybe it’s time for Steve Hauschildt & John Elliott to ask Manuel Göttsching to sit in for some intergenerational cosmic tunes, but well… I don’t know, maybe it’s not such a good idea.

Anyway: For now there is “Inventions For Electric Guitar” and there’s the impact this relaxed and beautiful music still has on contemporary musicians. Period.
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review by Holger Adam

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