Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Manuel Göttsching


Manuel Göttsching died a few days ago aged seventy. His death was announced by his family yesterday leading to a flurry of posts on my social media feeds, almost all of them featuring this, E2- E4, an hour long piece of minimalistic electronic music recorded in 1984 that prefigures much of what came half a decade and more later- the synth waves, pulses and two chord motif played on a Prophet 10 synthesiser was recorded a s an exercise by Manuel, an hour of music to play on a journey. Over the simple bedrock he drops in a variety of melodic phrases and adds percussion. In the second half, side two if you're playing it on vinyl, he adds some electric guitar. Played and recorded live, no overdubs. 

E2- E4 works brilliantly, one song stretched out for an hour, built around minimal repetition but always shifting slightly, a marriage of rhythms and harmonies. It's influence is enormous. Larry Levan played it at Paradise Garage in New York. With the addition of tropical birdsong and late 80s house music bounce it became the basis of the global Italo house hit Sueño Latino, a record released and re- released countless times. 

Sueño Latino

E2- E4 found its way to Detroit and was worked and reworked by the key players there. In 1989 Alex Paterson played it as part of his early ambient house sets at Land Of Oz and Heaven. In 1995 Basic Channel turned it inside out for their Remake (Basic Reshape). On and on E2- E4 goes.

Manuel was more than just E2- E4. As the guitarists and leader of Ash Ra Tempel he was a key figure in 70s krautrock, along with Klaus Shulze (who joined after leaving Tangerine Dream), a group who rejected 60s blues rock in favour of something more free and more improvisational. In 1981 he recorded with Richard Wahnfried (a pseudonym for Schulze) on Tonwelle, a two song album with the songs Schwung and Druck, one song per side (since expanded to four songs). Göttsching plays guitar with Schulze on keyboards. A track that can be played at either 33 or 45 rpm, depending on taste and mood. This version, at 33, is a beauty. 


R.I.P Manuel Göttsching 


Anonymous said...

Sueno Latino put me off exploring E2-E4. Subsequently I realised Manuel's original to be the masterpiece it is. Likewise with Klaus Schulze's (RIP) early analogue period. It is taking modern electronica a long time to catch up. RIP

Khayem said...

Thanks, Adam. Two sad losses, with the news of Angelo Badalamenti emerging the same day. Sueño Latino was a big tune for me but it was only relatively recently that I really followed the thread to Manuel Göttsching's music. SRC's spot on with his observation, borne out by the wave of tributes that came in. Nicely put and a great music selection.