Awe­some mu­sic from the ar­chives. This week, Manuel Gottsching

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - COVER STORY - Donal Di­neen

The mu­sic I like the most is the kind that sounds time­less or out of time. It’s a glo­ri­ous thing to have this ma­te­rial to keep us company on what­ever road we might be tak­ing. Mu­sic that just hap­pens to be go­ing your way that will en­hance it all the way. Hop in, it’s a free ride buddy.

It takes great skill to make great mu­sic but it takes vi­sion­ary zeal to con­jure some­thing that steps out­side of all time­zones and cre­ates a space of its own. Off the map and clock. A repub­lic, a uni­verse, a dif­fer­ent place to go. Here’s where the mu­sic mak­ers be­come the dreamer of our dreams.

Brian Eno said he wanted his mu­sic to al­ways guide him and never be just a mat­ter of keep­ing what you did be­fore alive. For­ward is the only way to look, think and face. This was the di­rec­tion Manuel Gottsching turned when he de­vi­ated from his role in Ashra to strike out some­where com­pletely new with E2-E4.

It was 1981 and it was so fu­tur­is­tic and far-see­ing that it pretty much set the tone for the era of elec­tronic dance mu­sic we’ve had ever since. The al­bum con­sists of a min­i­mal­is­tic repet­i­tive drum ma­chine loop aug­mented by some deft synth dress­ing and topped off with Gottsching’s ef­fer­ves­cent gui­tar vir­tu­os­ity. It lasts 58 min­utes and 38 seconds. It’s a mighty fine way to spend an hour.

Its unique take on the no­tions of de­vel­op­ment in melody and har­mony puts it in another stratosphere. The var­i­ous com­po­nents loop end­lessly but the ef­fort­less and se­duc­tive way the key­boards and gui­tar lines ebb, flow, in­ter­act and build is some­thing to be­hold. The com­plex in­ter­play be­tween sev­eral re­cep­tive el­e­ments is the cor­ner­stone of elec­tronic mu­sic. This is the blue­print. Gottsching dis­cov­ered the planet. He planted the flag. A gi­ant leap in one small step so bravely taken.

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