Ash Ra Tempel - Ash Ra Tempel

Ash Ra Tempel

Released 1971 on Ohr
Reviewed by Julian Cope, 15/03/2000ce

Heat-haze harmonics begin 'Amboss', the opening side long track of Ash Ra Tempel. Intense cymbals and frenzied rumbling bass catch a rhythm, ride it, then it descends once more. It is the power-trio playing as meditational force. When Klaus Schultze's drumming comes in after about three minutes, the thunder is highly charged and superfit, right on The Beat, bash bash bash. Then it's off on the wildest 20 minutes of freakout blitzkrieg. At one point, everything breaks down into a guitar blaze of feedback fed through FX for minutes on end, until the drums tear back in so crazily and in comes Larry Graham's bass playing of the Swoopingest kind. Oh fuck man, this is the greatest Detroit-est trip of all time. Not a heavy metal assault but a methodical breaking down of all your senses until you are crushed and insensible. And if Side 1 pulverised you, then the 25 minute 'Traummaschine (Dream Machine)' lets you lie there in the afterglow and never disturbs you beyond the slightest disruption of Vibrations. A percussionless dreamscape of sounds cascades around the room, and a wailing woman-voiced beauty fills the air. Then, rising out of the peace comes the guitar shimmer and finally the hollow congas of Klaus Schultze. And the fuzz beauty of Manuel Gottsching's guitar scythed all down the great rush through space. Then it's off into yet another inspiring dimension as Ash Ra Tempel fly around the universe... Ash Ra Tempel is at its greatest when it's impossible to work out what instrument makes which sound.

It's one of the greatest rock 'n' roll LPs ever made.

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