Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
With a reputation as one of kraut rock's leading lights, Ash Ra Tempel does not disappoint on their debut LP. The initial line-up of the band includes such luminaries as guitarist Manuel Gottsching (who will turn out to be the band's only mainstay) and drummer Klaus Schultze (who shows up on about half the albums made in Germany during the early 70's on drums or synths). The sound here is pretty much wild, acid-rockin' improvisation, but it's all a cut above the norm as the players still come across as sounding tight as they probe the deeper reaches of cosmic sound.
This is a purely instrumental affair, which is probably for the best as words would simply distract us from the onslaught of sound this band whips up over the course of the two tracks present here. "Amboss" is a firestorm which starts of with a strong groove before unhinging the gates of hell in its final few minutes. Gottsching's intense soloing doesn't get old during the 20 minutes stretch as Schultze's relentless pounding goads the guitarist further and further. Things chill out considerably on "Traummachine," where Gottsching's guitar dives into a pool of reverb which anticipates his guitar work in the second half of the 70's, and the percussion is either spread out lightly or entirely absent. It doesn't quite stand up to the intensity and visceral nature of "Amboss," but it remains a wonderful mood setter.
Ash Ra Tempel's debut is one of the cornerstones of krautrock. It's presents a gold standard for psychedelic improvisation and retains the power to blast your mind into a distant galaxy. You owe it to yourself to listen to this if you're not already familiar.
Buy Me if you're rich:
Ash Ra Tempel - 1971 - Ash Ra Tempel