Along with Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel (later Ashra) was one of the first bands to convert the trippier side of late-'60s psychedelia into the kosmische rock of the '70s. Most Ash Ra titles were solely the work of Manuel Göttsching, plus any other additional players who happened to be around during the recording of his ten albums. Göttsching trained in classical guitar and studied improvisational music plus electronics at school. In 1970, he formed Ash Ra Tempel with no less than Klaus Schulze (fresh from a brief stint in Tangerine Dream) and Hartmut Enke. After a self-titled album in 1971, Schulze left for a solo career; Göttsching continued on with a variety of bandmembers and guests, including Timothy Leary on 1973's Seven Up (and Schulze again, for Join Inn).
By 1975, Göttsching had released his first solo album (Inventions for Electric Guitar) and though Ashra returned the following year, the next two records by the "group" were Göttsching-only albums, the brilliant New Age of Earth in 1976 and Blackouts one year later. For the 1980s, most Ashra LPs were band-setting albums (with the assistance of guitarist Lutz Ulbrich and drummer Harald Grosskopf) while Göttsching solo records (like the landmark E2-E4) were, truly, solo records. He also reunited with Schulze to work on Alphaville's 1989 LP, The Breathtaking Blue. ~ John Bush