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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Manuel Gottsching - E2-E4

Name: Manuel Gottsching
Album: E2-E4
Year: 1984
Style: Electronic, Ambient (Kosmische Musik)
Similar Bands: Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, Klause Schulze, Kraftwerk, Ghostwriters, Close Encounters Alien Contact.
"One-Word" Review: ambient s.t.u.n. runner on a beach
Based Out Of: Berlin, Germany
Label: Inteam GmbH
 E2-E4 Cover & Record
E2-E4 Back & Record
E2-E4(1984) [English translations]

  1. Quiet Nervousness 13:00
  2. Moderate Start 10:00
  3. And Central Game 7:00
  4. Promise 1:00/
  5. Queen a Pawn 5:00
  6. Glorious Fight 3:00
  7. H.R.H. Retreats (With A Swing) 9:00
  8. And Sovereignty 3:00
  9. Draw 3:00
Album Rating (1-10): 5.0 (mainly for it's importance and influence)

Members & Other Bands
Manuel Gottsching - Composer, Electronics, Guitars, Producer (Ash Ra Tempel, Ashra, Cosmic Jokers)
Dirk Tragesar - Artwork
Klaus Schulze - Licence 

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of or seen this record. But just from its minimalist artwork, I could imagine it to be something interesting and experimental. I didn’t have much else to go by, but it was enough to pick it up for a dollar.

Album Review: After doing some minor research, I found out that this record built the groundwork for ambient, techno, and house music of the late 80’s. It was a favorite amongst the likes of LCD soundsystem, who designed their 2006 album after this. The album flows along non-stop, basically as one track, and the songs are based on stages of the songs.

“Quiet Nervousness 13:00” quietly fades up and establishes the echoing 6 note repetitive electronic hook. The song is slowly builds block by block. Watery boings and fluid ping effects bounce back and forth as a call and response as the next building block for the total soundscape. A drum beat is phased into the background that is part conga and part shuffle-shaker. Around the 3:00 mark, a bouncy synth rubber band effect adds a random, chaotic feel to the steady rhythm. Thirty seconds later, a varying higher pitch pulse follows up with another planed-yet-random melody. A complimentary, lower-pitched echoing keyboard effect is added soon after. The complete sound, much like a streamlined track from the Ghostwriters, is a very ethereal, repetitive sonic equivalent of running down a tube-shaped hallway lit by a strobe. The effects are stripped away, in opposite order, until it gets down to the original 3-4 effects. Then the jittery, higher-pitched keyboard comes back. The drum beat shuffles a bit more at the end, and then the song transitions into the next song,
“Moderate Start 23:00” drops the frequency and volume of the call & response watery, fluid, echoing pings down to a minimum, and hosts the jittery and computer bips and bops at the forefront. The same drum and 6-note hook lie in the background, propelling the song along. Eventually the spot lit effects tire, and we’re brought back to a steady soundscape similar to the first track. 18:45 takes us back to the beginning of this track with the “Close Encounters” style notes popping in controlled chaos as the focal point. At 21:50 what sounds like squeaky shoes, or a racket ball on glass sound is added in a musical scale. A lot of these effects remind me of Atari Game sound effects, like when you die in Indiana Jones, that one pops up near the end of this segment, and probably introduces the next stage.
“And Central Game 30:00” incorporates a very high pitch flute-like effect that parallel’s the prime melody of the song, not detracting at all. The pings are louder, but have been for a long enough time, and have come back more frequently. But they are suddenly cut off by the synth effects that bolster the flute, which now come in a solid sonic wave. They soon blend together making one solid sound.  
“Promise 36:00” is only differentiated by a low volume, humming and warm synth texture. Otherwise, one would hardly noticed anything has changed. The sound is replaced by an echoing electric guitar, plucked one note at a time, with a bit of slide action. The melody greatly mimics the ever present stable rhythm and tempo. The guitar sound reminds me of some “good” house and dance music from the late 90’s. There is some “Santana” type guitar work, with its plucked, Spanish guitar sound, played at simplistic speed. The guitar work ends about 35 minutes for a brief pause, and comes back at first in short minimal doses. It builds to a minor intensity, which probably signifys the next track
“Queen a Pawn 41:00” is noted as a dual, 2-layered guitar segment. The tinkling guitar work is coupled with a deeper, secondary rhythm section for a couple short bars in the beginning, and the main guitar sets forth, driving the song with a faster, and more intense drive, also scanning the spectrum of high to low pitch, and at 39 minutes includes a bunch of strummed chords paralleling the original melody, and the tinkling guitar which sounds mighty close to a synth effect is layered overtop in pin prick accuracy. The tinkling and chord strums have become the focus of the track at this point.
“Glorious Fight 44:00” brings an ocean wave as the changing point, and is followed with a deeper, bass like accompaniment to the strummed chords that quietly echos behind the main riff. The echoing, watery pings return from the beginning of the album, and the formerly rhythmic chords now overlap in a hurried and forced manner. A note-by-note solo guitar is layered overtop of everything absorbing the attention.
“H.R.H. Retreats (With A Swing) 53:00” finds the guitar work in a lower, deeper frequency, yet is still as entergetic as before. The other elements are hushed in the background, but they are all still there. The whole background feels like it is back off in the distance, like we’ve travelled along a beach, away from the beginning of a song, walking along this electric guitarist who begins to bring the playing out of the lower frequency and all over the place, but well in control. The guitar finds a couple of favorite notes around the 49 min mark, and hovers with a repetitive motion around them. I can still hear the Atari Indiana Jones’ death sound repeat in the background.
“And Sovereignty 56:00” removes many of the background eccentricities and focuses on the guitar work in a simplified melody now. The driving synths in the background still persist, but that, and some minor drum machine sounds are all that remain of the underlying tempo.
“Draw 59:00” for the remainder of the track, we’ve left the electric guitar behind in the path, and now travel forward with a smoothed out backing synth, ocean tide foaming up and reaching the shore and retreating out, and an island drum loop: all present from the beginning of the track, just noe slowing down and becoming simplified. The drums are stripped away and the static from the ocean sounds persists over a dying melody that sputters rather than grooves, and just fades away, just leaving white noise for the last 20 seconds or so.

Stand Out Track: One track...in its entirety


1 comment:

  1. http://baiaboyisback.blogspot.fr/2014/10/manuel-gottsching-e2-e4-part-1-of-6-1981.html