Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Ash Ra Tempel - Le Berceau De Cristal (1975, rel. 1993)

How about one more soundtrack?  In contrast to Barbet Schroeder's 'More', which at least had a plot, Philippe Garrel's 'Le berceau de cristal' (The Crystal Cradle) was a much more typically arthouse venture starring Nico and Anita Pallenberg.  And a thoroughly gloomy one to boot - I won't spoil the ending, but the sole imdb review has the lowdown.  If you can overlook the poor sound and picture quality, the whole thing's on vimeo.

What interests me most about the film is this great soundtrack.  Recorded in 1975, and eventually released on CD in 1993, 'Ash Ra Tempel' in this case are just Manuel Göttsching and Agitation Free founder member Lutz Ulbrich, working with an old Farfisa organ, EMS guitar synth, and Göttsching's patent floating layers of echo-unit treated guitar to create the "music for dreaming" that Philippe Garrel had been looking for.

In the wake of his first solo album, Inventions For Electric Guitar, Göttsching in 1975 was touring Europe accompanied by Ulbrich.  Approached by Garrel following a performance in Cannes, Göttsching offered a tape of the final piece they'd just performed, which is the first track you hear on this release.  The rest of the soundtrack was then recorded in the studio in Berlin, and was thankfully made available by Spalax in 1993.  Anyone who loves Göttsching's mid-late 70s echo-guitar work, and the subtle Berlin-school electronics that went with it, needs this one.  Le berceau de cristal will also definitely also appeal to anyone amenable to the Tangerine Dream / Klaus Schulze sounds of the era.  Everyone else - give this a try too!  It's a solid, durable soundtrack that sounds great as a cosmic dreamscape of an album.

Le Diable dans la maison... et les Fantômes rêvent aussi

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