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Orchestral Electronics with Manuel Göttsching

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An internationally-respected pioneer of electronic music, Manuel Göttsching broke new ground way back when with his band Ashra. He returns with a blend of guitar and electronics...with orchestral augmentation.

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This release from 2005 features 72 minutes of live electronic music.

Although split into several tracks (that flow together), the music on this CD features two compositions: 40 minutes of "Die Mulde" which was performed live by Gö:ttsching at the Denkmalschmiede Höfgen (near the river Mulde) on September 6, 1997; and 32 minutes of "hp little cry" which features a basic random pattern created on 1981 on a Prophet-10 with additional guitar added in 2004.

"Die Mulde" starts with a minimal passage of softly bubbling diodes which prepare the audience for the more cohesive tuneage ahead. Lavish atmospherics follow, unfurling like a pleasant fog overhead, swirling and coalescing into a dense foundation from which emerge sighing keyboard chords punctuated by periodic electronic effects. Tinged with a hint of remote horns, these ambient tonalities provide a soothing backdrop for hesitant guitarwork that gradually accretes body and rhythm. Complexity and velocity increase with each passing moment, as the guitar blends with mechanical overtones, producing an engaging mood that conveys romantic factories and robotic landscapes. Humanity enters the tuneage by way of surging keyboards that loop into a sparkling stream of emotional vitality. The introduction of percussives plunges the piece into a high energy zone of intricate exchanges between the sounds, mirroring Göttsching's signature style of fluid structure.

"hp little cry" is more experimental, based in random patterns that evolve and flow like a liquid environment. The guitar lends an earthiness to this otherworldly mood, with pensively plucked chords glistening like jewels submerged in a steadfast river.

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MANUEL GÖTTSCHING: Concert for Murnau (CD on MG.ART )

This release from 2005 features 56 minutes of classically oriented soundtrack music.

This music was commissioned by the Filmfest Braunchweig as a soundtrack for "Schloss Vogelöd" ("The Haunted Castle"), a silent film by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau from 1921. It was performed live October 31 and November 1, 2003, at the Kleines Haus, Germany, by Göttsching and members of the Staatstheater Braunschweig.

Mainly, the instruments are a cello, two horns and two violins, which provide the music with a melancholy sound, suitably appropriate for the film's moody nature. Electronics are in strong presence too, as Göttsching generates an eerie modern edge that excellently augments the overall haunted flair.

While the tracks flourish with an orchestral disposition, many of the compositions exhibit a bouncy flair that exudes a fair amount of verve and energy. These tunes soar, blending traditional sound with subtle modern aspects by way of the electronic embellishment. Somber horns and winsome violins are propelled along by snappy, often understated e-perc providing an optimistic locomotion. Lurking in the spaces between the notes are a host of ingenious electronics, burring and churning with serious intent, lifting the tuneage to a state of futurist expression by fusing old school with experimental sensibilities.

Overall, though, this is soundtrack music, and suitably avoids repetition and powerchords in its efforts to match the mood and action of the original film. A tasty accomplishment that will satisfy newcomers to Göttsching's music as well as his fervent fans.

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This release from 2005 features 21 minutes of orchestral music recorded live in Berlin on March 25, 1005.

Joining Göttsching on this release is the Zeitkratzer Ensemble.

Get ready for a Göttsching release that begins with an accordion. Violins slip into the flow, soon followed by horns and percussion. Gradually, the tune becomes recognizable as Göttsching's classic "E2-E4" composition, albeit somewhat mutated by traditional (non-electronic) instruments. After a few moments, the music sounds entirely proper, as if it was always intended to be heard this way.

The violins softly saw away, generating nebulous clouds of sweet sound that drift overhead like a sugary haze. The horns surge lightly, injecting a jovial temperament to the melody. The percussion provides a delicate propulsion which the orchestral mood adapts to with superb ease.

Fear not, Göttsching's guitar enters the mix, first with subtle cadence, as if furtively hiding between the violins' swaying resonance and the accordion's squeaky lilt, eventually moving into prominence with strong chords and engaging riffs.

The pace picks up as the track progresses, moving from a lazy tempo to a more determined command. Embellishments sneak into the flow, seasoning the tune with spicy instances that inevitably dominate the whole. A trumpet engages in a solo, then the maestro's guitar emerges with more presence for a romantic interlude.

This release is intensely satisfying, even for those who have little interest in orchestral arrangements.

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