Sunday, 25 February 2018

Timothy Leary & Ash Ra Tempel - Seven Up (German Progressive Rock 1972)


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Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

Seven Up, Ash Ra Tempel's third album is often very misunderstood by fans of their music. It's a real odd one to say the least, and if you're familiar with such albums as their 1971 debut, Join Inn (1973), or Inventions For Electric Guitar (1975, actually a Manuel Göttsching solo album) this one is quite a shock indeed. By this point, trying to figure out who was in the group has became pretty pointless. Guitarist Manuel Göttsching and bassist Hartmut Enke are still here, with tons of different vocalists, and ex-Tangerine Dream organist Steve Schroyder (he played on Alpha Centauri and guested on Zeit). 


The album starts off with "Space". It's a suite divided in to four movements. It starts off with "Downtown", which doesn't sound too encouraging. It sounds like downright generic blues sung by a female vocalist, but never let that deceive you. You quickly face some truly mind blowing spacy electronic effects and noise that never lets up! It's pretty much the same throughout, although three more blues songs will follow, but as always, the blues songs never last because it sounds like the band was just so stoned at the time, they'd rather blow people's mind. I can sense quite a bit of irony in the way the band played those blues numbers. 

Thanks to the presence of Timothy Leary (who was in exile in neighboring Switzerland), it's no surprise that this music is the effects of an LSD trip. The second half of the album is taken up by a three movement suite called "Time". Here's where detractors of the album finds its redeeming qualities, as this is very much like like Alpha Centauri-era Tangerine Dream. The last movement of "Time" is "She" which is basically a re-recording of "Suche & Liebe" off Ash Ra Tempel's 1972 album Schwingungen. This is a wonderful, and underrated album, which if you approach with an open-mind you'll probably enjoy it.

Ash Ra Tempel are a German krautrock group of the 1970s, and are an example of cosmic or space rock.

The group was originally founded by guitarist Manuel Göttsching, keyboardist/drummer Klaus Schulze, and bassist Hartmut Enke in 1971. All three founding members had previously played together as part of the short-lived group Eruption founded by Conrad Schnitzler. Prior to that Schnitzler and Schulze had worked together in Tangerine Dream.

A short-lived project Manuel Göttsching had in 1970 was the Steeple Chase Blues Band, which also included Hartmut Enke, Wolfgang Müller, and Volker Zibell.


Ash Ra Tempel released its self-titled debut album in June 1971. This release is considered by critics to be a classic of the genre; Schulze temporarily departed for a solo career shortly after its release. Schwingungen (1972), Seven Up (with Timothy Leary) (1972), and Join Inn (1973) are all considered key works from the band. The pop-oriented 1973 album Starring Rosi was thus named because it featured lead vocals by Rosi Mueller.

Their music is widely characterized as cosmic and atmospheric. The early albums were more psychedelic-oriented and all had one lengthy track per side: one more powerful and dramatic, the other of a more atmospheric nature. Instead of writing English lyrics, since German language was not popular in rock music at the time, Ash Ra Tempel more or less decided not to have lyrics in their songs.

Ash Ra Tempel's last concert performance took place in Cologne in February 1973.

Later, after recording the soundtrack Le Berceau de Cristal (1975; unreleased until 1993) Ash Ra Tempel shortened its name to Ashra, making a more melodic, synthesizer-based music. In 2000 the band was reunited in the line up of Manuel Gottsching and Klaus Schulze. The pair had previously worked together on Schulze's album In Blue

01.a  Downtown   16:00
01.b  Power Drive    
01.c  Right Hand Lover    
01.d  Velvet Genes    
02.a  Timeship   21:36 
02.b  Neuron    
02.c  She  

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2 comments:

doors97426 said...

thanks this lp is one of the best Krautrock masterpieces

Bob Mac said...

Thanks for this, it looks interesting, thanks also for the Bloomfield & Flag albums I grabbed yesterday, all much appreciated.