Wednesday, Jan 4, 2023 – Manuel Göttsching Remembered

The Last Giant of of Berlin's Space Music Leaves the Planet. Manuel Göttsching of Ashra/Ash Ra Tempel Remembered

Early in December we got the sad news that Manuel Göttsching had left the planet on December 4th. but the notification came later than that and while we remembered him in the Memorial show, we couldn’t give him our full attention amidst all the seasonal and retrospective programming of December. I’m going to rectify that today.

I always thought of Manuel Gottsching as the most soulful of the Berlin Trinity: Klaus Schulze/Tangerine Dream/Manuel Göttsching. His compositions had a warmth the others lacked and his guitar leads flitted between dangerous micro-second precision on Inventions for Electric Guitar and sensual trips to ecstacy on New Age of Earth and Blackouts.

In 1970 he founded Ash Ra Tempel with Klaus Schulze, then playing drums and bassist Hartmut Enke. Beginning with their eponymous debut in 1971, their first four albums, Schwingungen (1972), Seven Up (1973), and Join Inn (1973) revealed their psychedelic influences, especially the Grateful Dead, in their totally improvised jams. Seven Up was a collaboration with LSD guru, Timothy Leary. They released six albums, the last one, Inventions for Electric Guitar in 1975 just featured Göttsching on cyclical guitar orchestrations. Göttsching’s sound turned completely in 1976 with the album, New Age of Earth. It found Göttsching, again alone, in a sea of synthesizer moods with the most beautiful electric guitar on top. It was originally released as an Ash Ra Tempel albums but quickly became issued as Ashra, a name Gottsching would use for his new group that made a more pop-influenced electronic music. Göttsching became best known for another solo album though, his 1981 release, E2-E4. Named for a chess move, it’s an hour long improvisation of guitar, synthesizers and sequencers that owes a lot to Steve Reich-style minimalism.  He continued recording well into the 21st century.

Manuel Göttsching is an artist in the DNA of Echoes. I got to interview him in 1982 in Berlin on the first European interview trip for the Totally Wired radio series.. And I finally got to see him live 14-years ago at a Gatherings show in Philadelphia. Along with Vangelis and Klaus Schulze, he was among the electronic giants lost in 2022. He was only 70 years old. We remember him tonight on Echoes.


Photo Credit: Angela Ricciardi

We’ll also hear new music by Skullcrusher, who despite that heavy metal name make some dreamy music on their album, Quiet the Room and Hammock from their album, Love in the Void.

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