Well the last couple of weekends have been a non-event on the writing front due to tiredness and ilness but I've been very busy since Christmas and now that my cold is starting to subside it's time to update you as to what I've been up to.
Over Christmas I worked on a chapter about the first recordings featuring the Ashra line-up of Manuel Göttsching, Lutz Ulbrich and Harald Grosskopf. My writing for the book features track-by-track notes for each and every album, which can be a painstaking way of working but will hopefully prove to be the most interesting approach for both initiated fans and the curious. The 1978 Ashra jam sessions at the famous UFA Fabrik in Berlin ended up as a 3 CD release called The Making of (now available as a part of the Correlations Complete 5 CD boxed set) and I have written notes to accompany all 12 of the tracks, some of which are 30 to 40 minutes in length. Next I polished my review of the Correlations album and put everything together into a narrative. I elected to revisit Phantasus, (an early and until recently previously unreleased early version of Correlations) at a later date to keep my writing fresh.
Whilst the making of the Correlations album was a lengthy process, its follow-up album Belle Alliance was recorded quickly but with no loss in terms of quality. Again I have written a track-by-track review of this album but will revisit the second disc of the recently released Belle Alliance Plus double CD (which includes bonus material recorded at the original sessions) at a later date. Sometimes I find it’s good to move on and come back to certain parts of the book in order to keep the writing fresh and energetic.
As a big fan of Ashra I was thrilled to learn more about the making of Correlations and Belle Alliance through my interviews with Lutz Ulbrich and Harald Grosskopf. I am sure that other fans of the band will be as interested as I was to pick up some insights into the music and it’s creation and this is a part of the book that I’m particularly looking forward to sharing. What comes through is the story of a young, energetic band, channelling their chemistry into making great music together.
My most recent writing has involved a chapter about E2-E4, a slice of solo genius from Manuel Göttsching improvised/recorded in 1981 in just one hour. Taking the influence of the minimalists and melding it with electronics and guitar, Göttsching produced a piece of music that was arguably more seminal and influential than any other as regards the emergence of techno and the recording continues to endure. As the chapter I’m writing at the moment describes E2-E4 took several years to be recognised as a classic but has since been worshipped by highly influential DJs and music fans at large, adapted with very minor changes to become a no. 1 dance hit across Europe, played by a modern semi-classical ensemble, along with Göttsching himself and the music still draws massive audiences when it is played in concert as a solo work. In recent years Berlin and New York have been treated to such shows and a 2006 performance at the Metamorphose festival in Japan has also now been released as a limited CD/DVD set.
So: this sums up my writing as of late. My next chapter will focus on currently unreleased Manuel Göttsching projects that are in the vault but more on this later…