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Ash Ra Tempel & Timothy Leary: Seven Up (1973)

Seven Up, Ash Ra Tempel’s third album is often very misunderstood by fans of their music. It’s a real odd one to say the least, and if you’re familiar with such albums as their 1971 debut, Join Inn (1973), or Inventions For Electric Guitar (1975, actually a Manuel Göttsching solo album) this one is quite a shock indeed. By this point, trying to figure out who was in the group has became pretty pointless. Guitarist Manuel Göttsching and bassist Hartmut Enke are still here, with tons of different vocalists, and ex-Tangerine Dream organist Steve Schroyder (he played on Alpha Centauri and guested on Zeit).

The album starts off with “Space”. It’s a suite divided in to four movements. It starts off with “Downtown”, which doesn’t sound too encouraging. It sounds like downright generic blues sung by a female vocalist, but never let that deceive you. You quickly face some truly mind blowing spacy electronic effects and noise that never lets up! It’s pretty much the same throughout, although three more blues songs will follow, but as always, the blues songs never last because it sounds like the band was just so stoned at the time, they’d rather blow people’s mind. I can sense quite a bit of irony in the way the band played those blues numbers.

Thanks to the presence of Timothy Leary (who was in exile in neighboring Switzerland), it’s no surprise that this music is the effects of an LSD trip. The second half of the album is taken up by a three movement suite called “Time”. Here’s where detractors of the album finds its redeeming qualities, as this is very much like like Alpha Centauri-era Tangerine Dream. The last movement of “Time” is “She” which is basically a re-recording of “Suche & Liebe” off Ash Ra Tempel’s 1972 album Schwingungen. This is a wonderful, and underrated album, which if you approach with an open-mind you’ll probably enjoy it.
– Timothy Leary, Brian Barritt, Liz Elliot, Bettina Hohls, Portia Nkomo, Michael Duwe: voices
– Manuel Göttsching: guitar, electronics
– Hartmut Enke: bass, guitar, electronics- Steve Schroyder: organ, electronics
– Dietmar Burmeister: drums
– Tommy Engel: drums
– Klaus D. Müller: tambourine
– Dieter Dierks: synthesizer

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