Former Ash-Ra Tempel guitarist and main man Göttsching was a key player in the hugely influential Kosmische Musik genre. His collaborations with Klaus Schulze are regarded as some of the most important of the 70s and eighties and although generally unknown in the pop world he remains a giant figure with those who know. It’s widely agreed upon that with this record, he invented techno by mistake.
Originally recorded in 1981 but shelved by the artist (for reasons only he could tell you about) until 1984, E2-E4,( named after a chess move! how conceptual can you get?) was released and generally derided by the music press for being completely out of step with the electronic music of the time. Where influence really counted, on the dance music radio stations of mid-eighties Chicago and Detroit the album gained airplay and cult status among the teenagers who were to produce the first wave of house and techno records. The same tracks that kickstarted the club music revolution that followed. Kids like Carl Craig and Derrick May obsessed over this exotic slab of electronic futurism and it’s influence can be be heard loud and clear in underground electronic music in 2015.
I first heard it in 1989, almost immediately after falling in love with an Italian import 12inch single on the DFC label. Sueño Latino by Sueño Latino. Still an amazing record but it mercilessly samples giant chunks of Göttsching’s masterwork. It was pointed out to me in Eastern Bloc records in Manchester when I was passed a re-pressed copy of E2-E4 and asked “do you know this?” Well, my head nearly rolled off. The Sueño Latino track had quickly become my new favourite so I was stunned to hear how much of it was stolen. I took the record home and for the first time, played it in it’s entirety. It’s basically one track, an hour long and it’s built on a two chord phrase which pulses along, building beautifully, while inducing a kind of meditative trance upon the listener. That’s real trance, not trance music. (The term having been bastardised into a soulless club genre sometime during the nineties by greedy, unimaginative promoters and DJs but hey, that’s another story!)
The gentle kick hits 1-2-3 space rather than 4 to the floor and that’s it’s key factor. Space. You actually feel like you can climb into this music. You can see through it and into it. Another key element in E2-E4’s power is seduction. It’s subtle and patient, and halfway into your first listen you are in love . Time stops and an hour feels like 20 minutes. Robotic percussion moves the hips and what sounds like glass, pings away in a kind of looptastic latino machine heaven. 10,000 feet high chimneys breath ice into infinite reverbs and melodies emerge from the layers of transparent synthetics. By the time Göttsching introduces his guitar we are floating high above the earth blissfully.
We have a record here so futuristic, so ahead of it’s time that it just doesn’t age. If you don’t have this album, you should have. Make your move. Satisfaction is guaranteed .