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Ashra was the second phase of the spacy Krautrock outfit Ash Ra Tempel, where founder (and, sometimes, sole member) Manuel Göttsching refocused the project's direction and began to concentrate more heavily on electronics. Especially with the revolving-door membership, Göttsching had always been the focal point of Ash Ra Tempel, making their mind-bending psychedelic jams into showcases for his cosmic guitar work. However, at the outset of the Ashra era, Göttsching was literally a one-man band, backing his guitar explorations with synths and sequencers that made his music sound cleaner and more pleasantly meditative. Ash Ra Tempel's status as a going concern was in doubt by the end of 1973, having fallen into a Göttsching-plus-guest-star pattern; Göttsching released a solo album under his own name in 1974, Inventions for Electric Guitar, where his interest in electronic music began to crystallize. Less a regrouping than a renaming, Ashra's inaugural release was 1976's New Age of Earth, one of Göttsching's finest efforts under any name. The 1977 follow-up, Blackouts, was also entirely solo. For 1979's Correlations, Ashra became a full-fledged band for the first time, with guitarist Lutz Ulbrich and drummer Harald Grosskopf officially joining the lineup. However, after 1980's Belle Alliance, the group went on hiatus. Göttsching recorded the proto-techno masterpiece E2-E4 under his own name, and Ashra didn't appear again until a 1989 reunion for the album Walkin' the Desert. Tropical Heat followed in 1991, and the group continued to record sporadically through the '90s. ~ Steve Huey

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