Manuel Göttsching — Die Mulde
(MG.ART 301, 1997/2005, CD)
Manuel Göttsching — Concert for Murnau
(MG.ART 302, 2003/2005, CD)
Manuel Göttsching — E2-E4 Live
(MG.ART 303, 2005, CD+DVD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2006-05-01
As 2005 neared its end, Manuel Göttsching released three new CDs: Die Mulde, Concert for Murnau and E2-E4 Live. Die Mulde is a composition Manuel recorded September 6, 1997 for an art installation at the Denkmalschmiede Höfgen, close to the river Mulde. The CD contains the title track plus “hp little cry” recorded in 2004. Concert for Murnau is Manuel’s foray into semi-classical music and was performed live to the silent film Schloss Vogelöd (The Haunted Castle) by F. W. Murnau October 31 – November 1, 2003 at the Stattstheater Braunschweig, Kleines Haus, Germany. And of course, E2-E4 Live is a live recording of Manuel’s 1989 studio release at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg Platz, Berlin on March 25, 2005.
In my opinion, Die Mulde is by far the best of the lot. It clearly shows the influence of his long time friend and musical colleague Klaus Schulze. It is pure electronic bliss. “Die Mulde” consists of four movements that flow seamlessly from one to the next, just like a river, and clocks in at 40:05. This is soothing, floating music and if Manuel’s guitar is present, it is certainly way down in the mix of arpeggios, keyboards, and electronics. Near the end of “Die Mulde”, it begins to sound more like Manuel’s music from the same time. “hp little cry” has an entirely different feel to it. Manuel recorded the background ambient electronics in 1981 and added guitar in 2004. It is 32 minutes of quiet, guitar tinklings layered over washes of drifting electronic chords. Gone are the days of his fiery guitar jams.
In contrast is Concert for Murnau. This release contains 12 tracks that range in duration from under a minute to almost 10 minutes. This CD is a combination of electronics and classical music. Some tracks are a combination of the two genres, others are either pure electronics or pure acoustic strings and horns. The music is a bit uneven. For me, the electronic pieces and the combination pieces work best. Some of the classical pieces sound a bit forced, and since Manuel is not noted for composing this type of music, they tend to be a bit long in exploring some simple motifs. These types of variations and experiments are much better suited for synths. As the Concert for Murnau was composed as a film score, perhaps it works better when the listener can also enjoy it with the visual experience of the horror film. The electronic pieces do offset the weaknesses of the classical pieces, but Concert for Murnau is not the recording to start with for a novice, it is more for the Göttsching completist.
Lastly, there is E2-E4 Live, which also happens to be the shortest Göttsching release in years. It is only 21:11 long, which is a blessing for E2-E4. The original studio recording was 59:20 and got a bit monotonous if you were to concentrate on the music. This live recording from earlier this year still communicates all of Manuel’s original musical ideas, but with new instrumentation in a shorter version that will keep you entertained.
Overall, we are very lucky to have this much new Göttsching music in 2005, which shows that he continues to be contributor in the ever growing amount of music available today.
Related artist(s): Manuel Göttsching
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more