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Category Archives: krautrock

Goes well with DURCH DIE WUSTE and the Cluster and Eno related stuff. -Ian!

The fact that Wenn der Südwind Weht possesses a similar cover photo (a pair of feet dangling over the edge of a pond) to the first Roedelius album is a good indication of the album’s similar sound. The ten tracks here are playful synthesizer exercises, many with Roedelius’ patented high-pitched melodies, reminiscent of a theremin. “Auf Leisen Sohlen” and the title track are highlights.

-John Bush, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
Hans-Joachim Roedelius-WENN DER SÜDWIND WEHT (1981)
320kbps

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Re-up at higher bitrate. Might be my favorite ambient-ish album of all time. -Ian!

The title was more prophetic than most — though Earth thankfully isn’t quite so bathetic as any number of releases on Windham Hill, by this point Gottsching was well into his electronic phase, the jam freakouts of the earliest albums replaced by a clean, crisp electronic bed. Unlike the rigorous pulse of fellow Krautrock pioneers Kraftwerk, though, Gottsching generally favored a more consciously playful and simply beautiful approach, aiming to create pleasant music to just enjoy and relax to. If not as serious and avant-garde as other artists, Gottsching was still coming up with the goods, so quite why his later albums have been generally ignored in comparison remains a mystery. Opening track “Sunrain” sounds like it could soundtrack a narrativeless documentary on just that, or at least some sequence of nature photography; bright and sparkling, the synths and drum machines blend together nicely.

“Ocean of Tenderness” has a similar sense of film accompaniment, being a gentle, minimal flow of keyboard shading, electronic chirps deep in the mix, and a soft lead melody that carefully unwinds throughout the lengthy track, with a low-key bass pulse appearing a few minutes in as contrast. “Deep Distance” lives up to the title nicely, combining sweetly spaced-out drones with minimal percussion that sounds like raindrops as much as anything else as lead melodies slowly come to the fore. “Nightdust,” which takes up the original second side of the album, captures the original psych-jam feeling of Ash Ra Tempel more than anything else. A lengthy Gottsching guitar solo, heavily processed and extremely trebly, begins the piece over a series of soft synth shadings, leading to a marvelous composition with chilly, spectral keyboards and, later, deep electronic pulses and more straightforward guitar. It’s a spectacular performance, showing that even on his own Gottsching’s fire was still present, though aimed in other directions.

-Ned Raggett, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
Ashra/Manuel Göttsching-NEW AGE OF EARTH (1976)
320kbps

Actually thought I uploaded these already. This is the ground floor for Tangerine Dream, the goto stuff. Before the digital 1980s film score stuff like LEGEND that I think irrevocably tied them to cheesy sword-and-sorcery imagery for an entire generation of would-be fans. -Ian!

Phaedra is one of the most important, artistic, and exciting works in the history of electronic music, a brilliant and compelling summation of Tangerine Dream’s early avant-space direction balanced with the synthesizer/sequencer technology just beginning to gain a foothold in nonacademic circles. The result is best heard on the 15-minute title track, unparalleled before or since for its depth of sound and vision. Given focus by the arpeggiated trance that drifts in and out of the mix, the track progresses through several passages including a few surprisingly melodic keyboard lines and an assortment of eerie Moog and Mellotron effects, gaseous explosions, and windy sirens. Despite the impending chaos, the track sounds more like a carefully composed classical work than an unrestrained piece of noise. While the title track takes the cake, there are three other excellent tracks on Phaedra. “Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares” is a solo Edgar Froese song that uses some surprisingly emotive and affecting synthesizer washes, and “Movements of a Visionary” is a more experimental piece, using treated voices and whispers to drive its hypnotic arpeggios. Perhaps even more powerful as a musical landmark now than when it was first recorded, Phaedra has proven the test of time.

The members of Tangerine Dream continued to hone their craft as pioneers of the early days of electronica, and the mid-’70s proved to be a time of prosperity and musical growth for the trio of Chris Franke, early member Peter Baumann, and permanent frontman Edgar Froese. The three of them had been delivering mysterious space records on a regular basis, and their growing confidence with early synthesizers (the best that money could buy at the time) made them virtuosos of the genre, even as they kept things organic and unpredictable with gongs, prepared piano, and electric guitar. Rubycon has aged gracefully for the most part, making it a solid companion (and follow-up) to their 1974 album, Phaedra. The somewhat dated palette of sounds here never overshadow the mood: eerie psychedelia without the paisleys — Pink Floyd without the rock. “Rubycon, Pt. 1” ebbs and flows through tense washes of echo and Mellotron choirs, as primitive sequencer lines bubble to the surface. “Pt. 2” opens in a wonderfully haunted way, like air-raid sirens at the lowest possible pitch, joined in unison by several male voices (someone in the band must have heard György Ligeti’s work for 2001). Rising out of the murkiness, the synthesizer arpeggios return to drive things along, and Froese weaves his backwards-recorded guitar through the web without really calling too much attention to himself. The piece evolves through varying degrees of tension, takes a pit stop on the shoreline of some faraway beach, then ever so gradually unravels a cluster of free-form strings and flutes. The rest are vapors, your ears are sweating under your headphones, and the smoke has cleared from your bedroom. This is a satisfying ambient record from the pre-ambient era, too dark for meditation, and too good to be forgotten.

-John Bush, Glenn Swan, allmusic.com

DOWNLOAD:
PHAEDRA (1974)
RUBYCON (1975)
320kbps