This rather strange collaboration with drugs guru Timothy Leary has been dismissed by some as overly gimmicky and not up to usual Ash Ra Tempel standards. It does, in my humble opinion, still have much to offer though.
Downtown opens the proceedings in funky, bluesy style and shows how this most mercurial of bands could effectively traverse genres at the drop of a hat. Power Drive and Right Hand Lover sound like almost conventional pop/rock songs (albeit with most unconventional lyrical themes!) with Gottsching showing he can rock it with the best of 'em when he wants to, before Velvet Genes gives us a more Krautrock-ish track. The long track Time, which covered the whole of the second side of the original album, returns to the classic Ash Ra Tempel 'kosmische' sound, reprising the seminal chord-sequence first heard on Schwingungen, but with the Timothy Leary voiceover. As a great example of trippy ambient hypnotic mood-changing music, I like it. Lots.
This is, perhaps, not the best album to listen to as an introduction to this most mercurial of bands (better to go for Schwingungen, Join Inn or the eponymous first album), but is still a very worthwhile effort and highly recommended.
on 24 January 2008
This album came out in the seventies and has always been a bit of an outsider production. Acid guru Tim Leary teams up with Ash Ra Tempel to produce this genuinely odd album designed for a psychedelic 'night in'...to take you somewhere else.
Imagine a very spaced out Velvet Underground meeting an acid evangelist wanting to 'do things' to your head... armed with a new-fangled synthesiser, some out there attitude... and lots of incense ... in a crazy groovy loft apartment somewhere in Haight Ashbury...and you are somewhere near what you get here.
File under Far Out.
One of a series of 'cosmic music' projects overseen by Rolf Ulrich Kaiser, 'Seven Up' is full of surprises. I was taken aback when I first heard the opening few minutes of the 15-minute 'Space'. The perfunctory, drunken blues of 'Downtown' wasn't what I expected. It dissolves in a psychedelic blur, however, and when the band emerge from the other side they launch into the raging freakout, 'Powerdrive'. Each 'song' starts and ends in similar fashion but represents a different pop genre, and, apart from 'Downtown', is performed against a background of cosmic turbulence.
The other track, 'Time', occupies 21 minutes and builds gradually through a series of atmospheric twists and turns that never settle into any pattern. At about halfway, however, it takes on the beautifully eerie shape that runs through to the end. The production on 'Seven Up' is hardly crystal clear, but this enhances the effect AT achieve. As for Timothy Leary, he appears to contribute little to the album apart from some well-placed utterances on 'Time'. Not an album I took to at first, but one which I love now.