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Ash Ra Tempel: Friendship
Press Reviews

»"Friendship", comme l'indique son nom, est l'album de la réunion entre deux grandes figures de l'électronique Manuel Göttsching et l'immense et incontournable Klaus Schulze. Manuel Göttsching est le co-fondateur avec Klaus Schulze et Hartmut Enke du groupe Ash Ra Tempel dans les années 70. Dans ce trčs bel album planant a souhait, la part belle n'est pas donnée ŕ Klaus Schulze, volontairement sobre et en retrait, mais ŕ Manuel Göttsching qui met en avant une technicité guitaristique qui délivre une véritable émotion. Cet album témoigne d'une réelle communion entre les deux musiciens et l'alchimie entre les deux compčres est parfaite. Dans le dernier morceau, "Friendship", Manuel Göttsching s'efface progressivement et Klaus Schulze reprend sa place au devant de la scčne dans un registre trčs enlevé et plus aérien et moins froid que ces compositions des années 90.«
(Review on Amazon France)

(In English, will be opened in a new window)
(Sonic Curiosity, USA, 2001)

(In German, will be opened in a new window)
(Kulturnews, Germany)

»Perhaps one of the scariest events for fans of rock bands that were around in the early seventies is a reunion. As soon as the powerful word is conjured from the depths of oblivion, an unending string of questions come up immediately: no way, they got together again? Wait a second, are they doing it for the money or because they really want to? Can they still get together again and do it? And perhaps most importantly: Do they really have something more to give us?

In the case of Krautrock pioneers Ash Ra Tempel, the answer to these questions might very well be a plethora of opposing perspectives and facts. Yes, Ash Ra Tempel recorded a new studio album in the form of Friendship, alas without bassist Hartmut Enke, who was around with the band much longer than Klaus Schulze was. Yes, they can still do it and the music is honest and heartfelt, but they're not doing it in the tradition of what was Ash Ra Tempel, with Schulze in charge of machines, sequences, etc. as opposed to his original position in the drummer's stool, and the music not being what one would normally expect from this act. Yes, they have something more to give us. Don't wait for a "but", because there isn't any.

Friendship is a gorgeous and relaxing experience consisting of three slowly evolving tracks, each with its very own personality and flow, all united by common grounds and beauty. Closing one's eyes, one can't help but imagine flying trough the skies above peaceful landscapes of deep lakes and rushing winds, swaying branches and introspective warmth. Amongst the sparse and minimalist atmospheres that Schulze gently creates, Manuel Göttsching glides tenderly in and out of sonic tapestries with his guitar, featuring ethereal tones that recall smooth and tender ambience. So it is that Reunion spans nearly half an hour in Tibetan tranquility and gentle sensuality interspersed with eruptions of passionate sentiment, Pikant does its name honor by means of a relaxed lounge-like nature of recurring themes and the touching midway incursion of an acoustic guitar, and Friendship floats with a contagious melancholy that fittingly ends an adorable time.

Friendship is a statement of electronic sensuality; a gentle sonic caress that extends itself slowly and uses a richly thick ambience to embrace the listener in pacifying waves of sound. The results of an endearing progression, each track on the album is a lush excursion that focuses on its very own peculiarities and maintains only a limited number of themes, yet each of them growing in a painstaking process that soothes the listener's psyche. This is music that transcends bodily limits in order to engage directly in a tranquil exchange of passion with the listener, leaving all mundane questions of reunions a thing of the past.«

(Marcelo Silveyra,, Mexico)

»A companion piece to their live Gin Rosé recording, Friendship features nearly 80 minutes of new studio material by Klaus Schulze and Manuel Göttsching. Three long, patient tracks explore atmospheric electronics, percussion, and guitar. The drums sound a bit richer and deeper on Reunion than the material from the companion live CD. Very nice layering of the percussion effectively builds the intensity, ever so gradually, over this 30-minute track. Manuel’s beautiful searing guitar lead announces itself with a flourish at the nine-minute mark. The symbiotic relationship between Göttsching and Schulze seems particularly apparent on this piece. Pikant bears some resemblance to a similar section on Gin Rosé, but where the live version immediately places emphasis on Göttsching, his solo here occurs much later in the piece. Other than the solo, most of the track is again a fairly balanced interplay between the synth, drums, and guitar. A moderate tempo is maintained more or less throughout, which may make some fans itchy for something else to happen, but I found it enjoyable. The 26 minute Friendship closes things out in surprisingly Pink Floydish fashion, with Göttsching doing an impressive David Gilmour lead. The pace here is even more relaxed, focusing almost entirely on the guitar. Drums don’t even appear until almost the fourteenth minute. On the whole, the themes are more static here than on Gin Rosé, but the accomplished playing of Göttsching, with Schulze’s able, restrained accompaniment, still make this a worthy purchase for fans«
(Phil Derby, Exposé, issue 21, USA)

»The dawn floats in, into the sea and down from the mountaintops, you rise and make coffee or tea for someone that you know will be gone soon - but, one doesn't think of such things in times of breakfast or breaking a fast. The sounds well up from beneath the water from the faucet and as water seeks its own level, so too is this exceptionally fine fuck music for mornings tinged with spring and edging into summer. Tendrilled fingers wend their ways over the guitarspace as the drumming enters from a desert someplace.

Three very long and loquacious tracks on this album. The shaking of the rattle, intermittently, skips over the synth wash and bassline holding it up, like abandoned cities in the Mojave. Now a curve of classical guitar, pulled out of the dry air like a bullet in flight. The guitar soars and cores in finality, elegiacally writing a cloudbank across the sonic skies. To re-emphasize - it's great fuck music, especially at lower levels, and your plants will grow because of it. «

(David Cottner, USA)

»Both the new ASH RA TEMPEL CDs are absolutely superb. MG and KS are both such pros, and this music is ultra smooth and elegant. Feels like being driven at 2:00 a.m. on a frictionless highway 150 mph in a black Rolls Royce...«
(Brian Romer, USA)

Klaus Schulze is a name everybody seems to know. Electronics maestro, Krautrock mastermind, Tangerine Dream godfather etc. But only a few remember Klaus originally was in a band called ASH RA TEMPEL. Then he went solo but friendship with his former bandmate guitarist Manuel Göttsching lasted. In April 2000 they re-united to play Julian Cope's Cornucopea festival with show documented on Gin Rosé album. And it was so enjoyable that the duo decided on recording new material which Friendship is.

Three long pieces - and none is boring with this quiet pace, soft rhythm and arresting melody. 30-minute long Reunion may resemble Atom Heart Mother but in the end of the day smart Krautrock picked up exactly where English psychodelia broke down. Tune not catchy but one can't help following it especially when poignant guitar hooks up. And it's Manuel's guitar playing that makes Pikant accord to its title. The groove here sounds more intricated and even close to the world music while short guitar phrases hail directly from old blues. And even so, acoustic solo jumps om you unexpectedly to send shivers down your spine. Magnific!

Friendship appears to be powerful guitar soundscape based on the solid keyboard foundation - the piece requires comparison with Crazy Diamond. Rock smelling of classical composers - that's what the title track is.

Although Kraut is mostly cold this effort certainly posesses a soul.

(5 stars out of 5)

(Dmitry Epstein, "Let It Rock")

The German group ASH RA TEMPEL has existed, in one form or another, since 1970. Countless musicians have cited this seminal band as having serious implications in the way their music is made. At the core of this unit is Manuel Göttsching, leading ASH RA TEMPEL from its roots in spacerock, to cosmic music, on to a precursor of techno and more recently to a reunion with co-founder Klaus Schulze.

On the ASH RA TEMPEL studio album: Friendship, Göttsching's guitar melodies and Schulze's synths and percussion are together again with an easy going musical jaunt between two comrades. Individually, they cast a giant shadow. Together, on Friendship, they are found simply enjoying each other's company and music. The three lengthy pieces on Friendship are linear, with Schulze's electronic percussion and evocative harmonies leading the listener along the musical path while Gottsching's guitar stylings speak of their surroundings. The mood created is familiar, modern and mature. Listening to Friendship calls to mind that comfort which is felt at a long awaited reunion and the sharing of the past and present.

(Chuck van Zyl, "Star's End", USA)

[Friendship - Main Page]

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