Ashra – Correlations

Those familiar with Manuel Göttsching’s Ash Ra Temple and even early solo Göttsching albums may feel lost on Correlations. Its an odd nut in his discography, though a rewarding one given time. Its certainly not as overtly psychedelic as the early Ash Ra work; not as tied into hippie culture as their collaboration with Timothy Leary or as critically lauded as New Age Of Earth. Like their collab with Leary though, its a record that seems to split fan opinion harshly. Given that the album was released in ’79 its not impossible to imagine that something like the emergence of disco might have had an effect on Göttsching, though not in any dancefloor ready capacity. There’s a propulsiveness to much of the record, provided by the drumming of Harald Grosskopf, whose influence here could also explain the influx of synth-pop to Ashra’s sound. Grosskopf would release his own overlooked gem, Sythesist a year later. Those disco and proto-syth elements give the record its own unique space that floats somewhere between Minimal Wave knob twiddlers, Prog’s slide towards ’80s slickness and the Kosmiche atmospheres that Göttsching had long since been perfecting.

There’s also a great deal of crossover sound between Correlations and late period Pink Floyd. Roger Waters’ guitar lines must have had some impact on Göttsching, as he’s either striving for or arriving at the same tones and fluidity that come naturally associated with the post-Wall era of those particular Prog heavies. The record’s had a few editions over the years, some with lackluster sound quality, and often its been more noted for its cover art by design house Hipgnosis more than its contents. The latest edition bumps up the remastered sound and includes an alternate, earlier version of the album, intended to be called Phantasus. This version was recorded with Udo Arndt in ’78 and it re-imagines the album’s sound and running order. The record’s still an odd one after all these years, not quite a Krautrock album proper, not quite synth or Prog. It certainly disappointed a fair amount of fans when it hit the shelves, fans who were expecting a more literal follow-up to New Age of Earth. In retrospect though, this is one of those oddities that finds its importance in hindsight. Its an album of connective tissue that might go down smooth, but it burns in its own bright way.


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