Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ash Ra Tempel - Join Inn (1973)

In Germany during the years 1968 - 1978 a whole decade of music was forged which has never been heard or seen again since, the music coming out of Germany during this period was so unique, so spell binding and so raw. 'Krautrock' as it is now called was a scene of music made by a small and select grouping of people in Germany which was so out-there, so experimental, so spaced-out, so unlike any other western music's which were happening at the time.

I would even say that 'Krautrock' could quite possibly be the best thing happening in music during the early 70s. A great number of German groups who formed during this heyday period of 68-78 became highly regarded amongst critics, bands such as Neu, Can, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Cluster and Ash Ra Tempel.

The story of 'Krautrock' is long and interesting, but what is often found when researching this music, is that fame, style, accolade and other exterior motives were not the goals of any of these musicians, the search from truth in sounds was!!! and just like the Heirophants of ancient Egypt and Greece, like the magi of ancient cultures, these long-haired proto-punk shaman's created musical alchemy in their studios, using warped guitar tones, synthesisers, pitch benders, ring modulators, oscillators, bass, guitar and drums... Some of the albums released by various 'Krautrock' groups are the trippiest recordings of the 20th century.

One of the most trippiest is Ash Ra Tempel's third studio album 1973's 'Join Inn'

'Join Inn' is a very very rare album to find and is extremely scarce, it is hard-to-find on both cd and vinyl and no modern labels have bothered to make a decent reissue of this album yet, I myself have been searching for 5 years or more for a copy to no avail and only have a cd-r copy which a friend did for me.

This was also the last Ash Ra Tempel LP which featured the electronic pioneer Klaus Schulze before he went onto a highly influential solo and production career.

The line up of the band during this album consisted of -

Harmut Enke - Bass
Klaus Schulze - Drums, Organ, Synthesisers
Manuel Gottsching - Guitar
Rosi Muller - vocals

'Join Inn' only consisted of two long pieces which each dominated a whole side of the vinyl.... please find below the tracks.

Freak'n' Roll

A guitar, drum and synthesiser crazed freak-out which attacks all senses leaving the listener somewhat reeling from the audio experience which they have just experienced, this is stoner orientated jazz rock of the highest order and is by no means phoney compared to it's American or British contemporaries, this is the real deal, these guys were head-loose in other realms and not really touching down on any real earth, raking in at just over 19 minutes long, it is a freak-out that must have induced panic based fear in the brains of the band members whilst recording.


This track is the reason I wished to write about 'Ash Ra Tempel' on the blog today, this 25 minute opus of pure cascading sounds, dream-like melancholy, spacey desperation and lunar longing has been constantly on repeat in my world for the last few days. With the autumn coming and my moods continually going up and down and finding no real solace or structure or no  real reason nor rhyme, musical oracle's like this one are the only things which have currently been keeping my mindset grounded whilst at the same time keeping me in starry-eyed oblivion undaunted by the harsh realities of the world around me, it is such a magical piece of moving music, I love everything about it, the organ drones, the tremolo guitar, the fluttering synths, the overall ambience and the cool German chicks strung-out and dreamy beatnik styled vocal lines which I have no real understanding of, the only line I get is when she sighs in gentle hushed-tones 'Eins, Zwei, Drier' half-way through the song.... A beautiful piece of electronic experimental music.

Don't get lost in the woods...

Paul Messis

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