Exposé Online banner

Ash Ra Tempel — The Best of the Private Tapes
(Purple Pyramid CLP-0299-2, 1998, 2CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1999-01-01

The Best of the Private Tapes Cover art

Ash Ra Tempel is one of the core founder bands of the German space rock movement along with Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. But the group has suffered from less stateside notoriety than those previous bands. For those of you uninitiated (including myself), The band is guitarist Manual Göttsching's brainchild with varying personnel. The core musical concepts center on electric guitars with foundation synths in endless improvs across this sampler two disc set. The Best of includes representative tracks from the monster six disc set previously available only from mail order. There are excerpts of longer tracks (which retain the essence of the main piece extracted from), plus one special bonus track not included on the larger set. Göttsching's guitar playing is very emotive, not unlike a less effects drenched Andy Latimer (Camel) or Edgar Froese on a more restrained day. The odd track, "Der Lauf der Giraffen" appears to be dramatic departure from expectations with nice fuzzy solo backed by a real band. Some techno influences can directly be traced back to a few tracks such as the mostly sequenced Disk two is characterized by continuing modern updates to the sound as the band evolved from the seventies through the eighties with more predominance toward newer keyboard gear and less guitar playing. Excellent informative liner notes are provided which give a concise career overview for novice discoverers. The Cleopatra label has done well to bring a band of this European stature to a wider, more appreciative audience. Suffice it to say, I'm now a member of the converted and hope we may yet see a stateside live performance.


Filed under: Archives, Issue 16, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): Manuel Göttsching, Ash Ra Tempel / Ashra, Harald Grosskopf, Lutz "Lüül" Ulbricht

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Saviour Machine - Legend Part 1 – I first glimpsed a newsletter by this band at Progfest 95 (or was it '96?), and to be honest I thought it was some form of hate group and didn't give it another glance. The singer was bald,...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues