A krautrock pioneer and master of minimalist guitar music discusses some of his best-known music and the scene that birthed him.
Manuel Göttsching is a German music icon, arguably one of the country’s most dynamic and influential talents. In the early ’70s, he co-founded and played lead guitar for pioneering krautrock group Ash Ra Tempel, which in addition to releasing several heralded albums, inspired space rock and psychedelic bands like Philadelphia’s Hash Jar Tempo. During the mid-’70s, Göttsching released several works of minimalist guitar music. Then, in 1984, he made a surprising left turn with the release E2-E4. Recognized as one of the “Best Albums of the ’80s” by Pitchfork, E2-E4 seamlessly wed Göttsching’s work on the guitar with minimal electronic music. Today, it is often credited as an essential forebear for house and techno. In 1989, part of E2-E4 was remixed by Sueño Latino for their eponymous smash single, which was later remixed by in 1992 by Detroit’s Derrick May. Then, in 1994, Carl Craig sampled E2-E4 for “Remake (Uno).” Since then, Göttsching has resurrected Ash Ra Tempel under the name Ashra and continued to compose a variety of new music. In this episode of Couch Wisdom recorded at the 2018 Red Bull Music Academy in Berlin, Göttsching discussed his feelings about the term “krautrock,” Ash Ra Tempel’s work with Timothy Leary, the making of E2-E4 and much more.