Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Hi readers. The picture above may not look like much, and indeed it may not actually be much but on top of the pad you'll see a printout of the third draft in progess. I decided to print it off so I could read my work thus far and make any necessary amendments. In addition to a series of minor alterations this has prompted me to rewrite three very short sections in order to make them more concise. Sometimes less is more and there is undoubtedly a fine line between providing readers with plenty of interesting information and boring them stupid. A short section about Timothy Leary and two parts about Ash Ra Tempel's live recordings are currently being pruned back.
After work I've been enjoying taking my printout into the backyard and reading in the sun, whilst the cats explore to their heart's content. I now have the pleasure of 12 days away from work and in this time I'm hoping to get stuck in and really push things forward. When I've finished my alterations I'll be picking up where I left off with the years of The Berlin School, looking at the New Age of Earth, Early Water, Dream & Desire and Blackouts albums.

A friend of mine once said that writing a book is not a sprint, but a marathon and he was right. This project has been a learning curve for me and it has most certainly involved running that extra mile, even when I've felt exhausted. It has been about pushing on, even when I've wondered whether everybody else will run out of patience before I'm finished. A famous rock drummer/lyricist once wrote a line that resonates with me about dragging the dream into existence...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Mineralogy: Studying Le Berceau de Cristal

Last weekend found me almost completing a section of the book about Manuel Gottsching's first musical collaborations with then former Agitation Free and future Ashra member Lutz Ulbrich. This includes their soundtrack work for the Philippe Garrel directed 1976 film Le Berceau de Cristal. The dark, brooding music for the film, which starred Nico, Dominique Sandra and Anita Pallenberg, was recorded the previous year and finally released on the Spalax label in 1993. Having spent quite a while carefully listening to the album I'm curious to hear the music alongside the pictures but to the best of my knowledge Le Berceau remains out-of-print. Has anybody seem it? If so do get in touch and let me know.....
Next stop New Age of Earth.....

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Museum Piece III

The EKO Computerhythm, an early Italian drum machine was operated by using perforated cards. Manuel Gottsching incorporated this on many recordings made during the latter half of the seventies and also for the E2-E4 album. A few clips of this magnificent machine in action have appeared on YouTube. For a demo see here.