Saturday, 17 May 2014

Traummaschine (Ash Ra Tempel, 1971)

Krautrock, anyone? Ash Ra Tempel are one of the seminal bands in the eclectic and innovative German scene of the early '70s and this long, arcane suite, filling the B side of their debut album, always charms my ears and my soul. Strange, as I really like melodies and clever composers, how I like a track in which no structured music is involved, no pentagram is needed. The mysterious, extra slow intro, ruled by cosmic keyboard effects is like a dark portal connecting the listener to another musical world. You'll never be able to find the very moment the music begins, as the sounds come in so slowly you'll always notice it too late.

An iconic cover for a space rock symbol.

The percussions enrich the middle section, thanks to Klaus Schulze of Tangerine Dream's fame. His sharp and echoed beats give a special deepness to the track and create an open space in which Manuel Göttsching's electric and acid guitar slowly finds it way. The third member of the band, Hartmut Enke, adds an evanescent bass guitar now and then, like the touch of a ghost. I daresay - re-adapting a pair of Mallarmé's and Verlaine's quotes - there is no music here, but the empty space it creates when leaving the stage. Sure, there's the pre-final guitar section that could suggest some musical arabesque, but here again you'll only find the shadowy, vaporous impression of a riff, the dreamed and forgotten shade of a melody. Then the sound fades away as slowly as it came in. Weird. Fascinating.