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Ash Ra Tempel - Join Inn CD (album) cover


Ash Ra Tempel



3.86 | 149 ratings

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3 stars After the truly unhinged schizophrenia of "Schwingungen", this far more balanced album must have been a relief to many fans, at least judging by its higher overall rating here at Progarchives. Klaus Schulze was back on board (albeit looking more like a guest in the oddly segregated cover photo), and the arrangement of music followed the same, side- long, yin and yang formula of the band's 1971 debut.

But the more casual spontaneity of this recording worked against it. The twin jams were constructed on the spur of a moment during rehearsals for the Walter Wegmüller Krautrock all-star album "Tarot", and despite some heroic playing the extemporaneous nature of the session lends the music a more relaxed dynamic than earlier efforts, especially during the aptly titled album opener "Freak 'n' Roll".

With Klaus Schulze again behind his drum kit the trio managed to summon up quite a bit of kinetic energy. But an awesome title isn't enough to hide what really amounts to one of Ash Ra Tempel's more polite guitar thrashes. Not unlike NEU!'s groundbreaking "Hallogallo" it fades in on a jam already in progress, and over the next nineteen-plus minutes hardly develops at all, sounding more like the orphaned middle section of a much longer performance. I've heard the music described elsewhere as 'ego-less' (plagiarizing an observation first made by Julian Cope), which sounds like an empty intellectual compliment: the attraction here isn't a lack of any concept of self in the playing, it's the plateau of undiluted joy attained by three likeminded friends reunited after a two-year separation.

The ethereal 24-minute "Jenseits" ("Hereafter") sticks to the usual Ash Ra album model, contrasting a high energy guitar jam with a low radiation drift study. In this case the results owe more to the efforts of Klaus Schulze than Manuel Göttsching, offering a link between the band and Schulze's early solo career. Expect a healthy measure of ambient atmospherics and suspended energy, with the dreamlike voice of Rosi Müller floating in and out of the mix, in translation sounding not unlike Teutonic narration from a Terrence Malick film:

"We are dancing on the wet grass... Isn't it beautiful? Do you know the way? A little bit. ...Mother..."

And so forth. All very haunting, and sehr kosmische, but clearly the language barrier is a welcome benefit here.

This would be the last of Ash Ra Tempel's classic albums; soon afterward the band would be reduced to Göttsching and his girlfriend Rosi, and finally to Göttsching alone. As a throwaway effort it holds together extremely well, but with a little more forethought it might have emerged as another Krautrock masterpiece.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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