Berlin-born Manuel Göttsching lead Pink Floydian space rock outfit Ashra Ra Tempel for much of the seventies, before junking prog and becoming a pioneering bright spark of then-nascent electronica. 1984’s E2-E4 was seminal, vital to the later evolution of dance and techno. It’s an hour long and sounds like the work of an electro-pop Steve Reich, motored by an ascending-descending synth motif with the Krautwork insistence of a BMW down the Autobahn – a single thread of continuity running from start to end, while the rest of the soundscape morphs and splits and coagulates again like the globules in a lava lamp. Then Göttsching enters with his guitar, lacing pearly, bell-like notes over that shifting musical foundation. He summons fiddly motifs, stretching, teasing, experimenting with them for a while before letting them go and moving on to something else, stumbling across new ones and incorporating them into the hypnotic groove. Assuming that few people will have the time or the inclination to sit and bathe themselves in sixty minutes of electronica, what we’re showcasing here is a fairly random slice of the piece that, hopefully, might encourage people to dig out the whole recording.
And here’s the whole thing: