lunedì 14 dicembre 2015

Manuel Göttsching, avangarde has never been so much fun


"... anyway Manuel Göttsching was still alive. At that album was followed by a disc of guitar layers, called Inventions for Electric Guitar. It's an easy and irrelevant record, but to the mid-seventies perhaps it means something "
Julian Cope, Krautrocksampler page 141

As an harsh criticism, this one is not too bad: some words spoken and written by the psychedelic Kraut Rock guru Julian Cope weigh like tons, but this not means that we have always to trust our gurus. Hardly an expert and a rock musician would admit that this records Inventions for Electric Guitar 1975 and E2-E4 of 1984 would have so much influence into techno music scene years later. But let's go step by step. We are in the early '70s and the post-war Germany was hit by "flower power", by the hippies and LSD. You know … Germans like to do their things always seriously even when they decide to get high and still make it at the best. Within a few years, Germany gives birth to a number of groups that will make history by offering us a very personal version of rock music that will go down in history as Krautrock and their epic stories will be sung in the beautiful book Krautrocksampler by the lysergic bard Julian Cope. Groups like Can, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Neu!, Popol Vuh, Amon Duul, Clusters and Ash Ra Temple, to name the most famous names which created an important niche in the popular music of the '900 and submit their personal, original and futuristic reinterpretation of the canons of rock music, beats, free jazz, electronic music and contemporary music, creating a unique blend and, after more than forty years, it's still a relevant and a source for interpretations and inspirations for generations of other musicians.
We talked about Ash Ra Temple. This band of experimental rock (let's call it for now) was led by guitarist Manuel Göttsching and, for a time, had among its members include former member of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze.
Band of cosmic couriers Ash Ra Temple, that already in 1971 published their first album, self-titled, which placed them in the good of others more famous psychedelic bands like Sid Barrett's Pink Floyd  and which was sustained on Göttsching's guitar improvisations  and Impressionist sense and colors generated by the keyboards of Schulze. This record was followed by the great Schwingungen (1972), their masterpiece, where we can find Damo Suzuki, lead singer of Can. Seven Up was releazed in 1973 and it sees the arrival of the party at the highest level involving LSD with the entry of  LSD's guru Timothy Leary, a record that, frankly, has withstood the test of time and today seems rather childish and weak with any valid musical ideas.
Ash Ra close their doors with Starring Rosi (1973) or Göttsching with singer Rosi Mueller, bassist Dieter Dirks and drummer  Harald Grosskopf. I would not recommend either: Göttsching is lost and the group lacks compactness and ... well, drug can helps once, but not always.
After the group Göttsching embarked on a courageous solo career, a true cosmic saga that interest us with his cd Inventions for Electric Guitar whose cover shows him smiling and proud of the work done, the record was released in 1975 and listening to it today may sound a little bit naive and innocent but it hasn't lost  its minimalist, fun and interesting luster . Göttsching does what he does best: he creates elaborate cosmic escapes and hypnotic loops based on repeated melodic lullabies coming out of his electric guitar. Please, let's think we are in 1975 and Göttsching draws liberally to minimalistic structures, anticipating by several years the  tape loop work of Brian Eno and Robert Frip and guitars delay of which David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and The Edge of U2 will create a solid career and reputations later.
Until the reissue on CD of 1991 by the Spalax the vinyl of Inventions for Electric Guitars will be exchanged between the Dj of Detroit techno and Chicago house with Christie's prices.
They are the ones to "understand" this disc and to use it in house parties along with the Kraftwerk' records  creating an incredible marriage between German engineering, black music and Star Wars futurism that will lead to the birth of techno and house music.
Göttsching retraces his steps, or rather, the elaborate layers of his guitar's loops in 1981, he writes in the notes to the reissue of the 25th anniversary of E2-E4 in 2006: "At the end of 1981 when I came back from a long tour (with Klaus Schultze) I still felt in a "concert mood" for a few days and so one evening I gave a "Manuel Göttsching only concert" in my studio - just for myself. I luckly had the reflex to press the red record button on the tape machine. It was the 12th of december 1981 ... Nothing was too loud or too quiet. Over the years I'd made many recordings sessions in my studio, but none of them produced such a perfect and rounded result over this duration and breadth. I found it almost uncanny. And a problem. "
A problem that will be resolved with the release of the album E2-E4 in 1984, the emblematic title that takes its name from the opening of chess's game, the game preferred by Göttsching's father. When the record was released immediately becomes the link between cosmic Krautrock and psychedelic '70s and the electronic music of the '80s, almost an hour of minimalism guitarist based on intersections, repetitions and layers of guitar loops buttons based on only two chords Steve Reich and Afrika Bambaataa who go to a party together cyberpunk, only that cyberpunk was then still only in the mind of William Gibson.
In 1989, this record will be the basis from which to start the Italic Disco with Sueño Latino by Andrea Gemolotto, Claudio Collino, Davide Rizzatti, Riccardo Persi. To whom will be joined later by the same Göttsching adding some guitar parts and that in turn will be remixed by the Derrick May genius of  in icy giddiness of his techno Derrick May Illusion First Remix.
Göttsching later will no longer reach the level of creativity achieved in these two seminal and anticipatory discs, while continuing an honorable career as a musician. Listening to these discs today, as we are so used to the possibilities offered by computers and synthesizers and effects for various guitar can make you smile, but one thing is absolutely certain: avant-garde has never been so much fun!

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