Rough Trade recommends: Manuel Gottsching

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After the dissolution of Ash Ra Tempel in the mid-’70s, Gottsching began working solo as Ashra, moving away from his earlier band’s wooly psychedelic rock and toward structures based on ambiance and his interest in Terry Riley-style minimalism.

In December 1981, having just returned from a tour with his friend Klaus Schulze, Göttsching was alone in his home studio and decided to create an improvised piece as an exercise, and also to give himself a tape to listen to on an upcoming trip.

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Moving between his battery of synthesizers and sequencing devices, he settled on a gentle two-chord vamp on his Prophet 10, to which he added an array of pinging electronic percussion and simple melodic figures. And over the second half of the piece, he laid down an extended guitar solo.

Cut live without overdubs in a single hour, E2-E4 became, upon its eventual release in 1984, an electronic music landmark.

The music’s reputation in dance music circles reached a peak when three Italo producers approached him about re-working the tune for a dance music 12” in 1989. That record, released under the name “Sueño Latino,” turned out to be an international hit, and a 1992 remix from Detroit producer Derrick May brought the music full circle. 

Nigel House, co-founder of Rough Trade record shops

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