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Manuel Göttsching Has Died, Aged 70
Christian Eede , December 12th, 2022 16:29

A statement said he passed peacefully while surrounded by family

Manuel Göttsching, the legendary German musician who led Krautrock group Ash Ra Tempel before producing landmark composition E2-E4, has died at the age of 70.

A statement shared via Göttsching's website said that he passed away last Sunday (December 4). No cause of death was given, but it added that he passed away peacefully while surrounded by family. "The void he leaves behind, we want to fill with his music and loving memories," the statement continued.

Born in Berlin in 1952, Göttsching became a key figure in the West Berlin underground music scene during the late 1960s and early '70s, as a core and founding member of the Krautrock group Ash Ra Tempel, who also included Tangerine Dream's Klaus Schulze among their ranks. They released five albums between 1971 and 1973, a period which started with a self-titled effort and took in a collaborative record with the US writer, psychologist and musician Timothy Leary.

Göttsching's solo debut followed in 1975, in the form of Ash Ra Tempel VI: Inventions For Electric Guitar. From that point, he continued to release solo records under his own name, as well as work with his group Ashra. This period saw him move away from the psychedelic and Krautrock elements of his previous work and towards electronic-focused sounds.

In 1981, following a visit to Klaus Schulze, Göttsching started to improvise the composition that would become one of his landmark works, E2-E4. The hour-long piece – built around a sequencer, keyboards, percussion and guitar – began life as intended listening material for an LSD trip, but caught the attention of Virgin Records owner Richard Branson, who wanted to release it. Rejecting that offer, Göttsching opted instead to put out the original improvised recording via Schulze's label in 1984.

While it didn't pick up much attention upon its initial release, E2-E4 gradually became a fixture of the DJ sets of Larry Levan at New York's legendary Paradise Garage club – unbeknownst to Göttsching at the time. In 1989, it was covered by the Italian collective Sueño Latino, drawing further attention towards the original piece. A number of other remixes, covers and tracks influenced by the composition have followed since.

Göttsching continued to produce music after the release of E2-E4, most notably reuniting with his former Ash Ra Tempel bandmate Schulze for a 2000 collaborative album called Friendship. He has also approved and overseen a number of reissues of his older works, both solo and with Ash Ra Tempel, in recent years, in addition to playing live shows.