Guest Post from Food Pyramid:
Manuel Gottsching’s E2-E4 was made in 1981. It was the first solo recording from the founder and sole constant member of Ash Ra Tempel. The track takes the minimalism and repetition that defined many of the bands associated with “krautrock” to a logical extreme. Like Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians, E2-E4 is built on a thin layer of repeating tonal harmonies that slowly shift and phase over 59 minutes. Using the principles of additive and subtractive process, a throbbing pulse of syncopated synth and percussion lines (as well as Gottsching’s deft, and at times incredibly cheesy guitar playing) fill in the piece. Somehow, this hour-long piece is endlessly listenable and never gets boring. There is a noted emphasis on the digital and on synchronization that strikes a marked contrast with Ash Ra’s earliest material and much of the post-war German underground. The warm and machine-like beauty of the piece embodies one of the great ironies of krautrock music – that a Midi-controlled composition so cold and precise could be imbued with such technical and expressive potential. The other great irony of E2-E4 is that such a minimalist, effervescent piece would stand as the genesis of House music, in all its maximalist glory – House’s percussion and bass-oriented precision owes considerable debt to Gottsching’s piece. Endlessly rewarding, E2-E4 remains one of the best documents of the miasmic cornucopia that was krautrock, and easily one of Food Pyramid‘s most listened to albums.