German musician Manuel Göttsching is just another one of many who jumped from psychedelic Krautrock in the early seventies to so-called "new age" ambience in the second half of the decade, inspired by genre leaders such as Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre. Swapping Ash Ra Tempel for his new one-man-band Ashra, Göttsching opts to follow the path of Tangerine Dream almost exclusively, with seeming reference to Klaus Schulze in the somewhat more experimental final track, though one that doesn't experiment enough to warrant a playing time of over twenty minutes.
The sound across this album is more or less exactly the same as that found on Tangerine Dream's 'Phaedra,' which I've always considered a shockingly overrated album of ambient white noise and tedious sequencer loops. This type of music isn't even particularly suited to relaxation due to the retro video game atmosphere it tends to evoke, explaining why most new age artists favoured more natural and exotic instruments in the decades that followed. Göttsching's guitar is hardly present at all, and when it does intrude upon the repeating synthesisers it's always a welcome respite, though one that annoys me further when it disappears. Without percussion or anything to bulk out the sound, most songs are led almost entirely by the synthesiser loops in ambient, dreamy melodies that are pleasant for the first few minutes before becoming increasingly dull.
This isn't an entirely terrible album and certainly has its target audience, as well as even its relevant place, though there are always many far superior alternatives for any situation that could see its application. For me, the music doesn't evoke the natural, worldly concerns of its title and song names, certainly not to the extent of later new age artists, and the whole thing sounds more like the soundtrack to an android's dreams of electric sheep.
2. Ocean of Tenderness
3. Deep Distance
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Ocean Of Tenderness
3 Deep Distance