June 27, 2019

Manuel GÖttsching - Dream & Desire (cd, Re 2019, Sticker)

MG.ART405DREAM & DESIRE
Notes to a friend…
The 1970s. The Vietnam War is slowly coming to an end; the RAF thrives and prospers; 
the first Achtundsechziger ('68 protestors) are actually
planning to march through the institutions; rock and roll is getting heavier;
and hardly noticed by the mainstream public, some West-Berlin musicians
develop a world of sound, which later eventually became labelled as
“Electronic Music”.
Indeed, there was nothing electronically generated initially,
let alone even digital. In the beginning they simply named these
sound-mixtures "electro-acoustic". These compositions of slowly evolving
soundscapes relating to the Minimal Music concept created a meditative
mood. This was new. This was the Berliner Schule (Berlin school).
Being responsible for popular music at a radio station in the 1970s
was an absolute dream job. At least that’s what it was like at RIAS Berlin
(Radio In the American Sector). There was no quota, no pressure,
no hit-terror, and we just invited the artists, bands and musicians we liked
to the studio. The artists from next door. That’s how I got to know Manuel.
He was living right on the Ku-Damm (Kurfürstendamm), right in the city
centre, but in the rear building, shielded from the noise.
Manu didn’t have a sequencer. Everything that sounded like a sequencer
was his highly focused guitar work. The slowly changing tone sequences
for example. This was a physical accomplishment in itself.
His minimalistic play is still part of his signature style.
The musicians from Berlin, who worked in the same genre, were either
friends, periodically played in Manuel’s ASH RA TEMPEL, or built up their
own careers. 
The scene was small, but equipped with illustrious celebrities
- Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Harald Grosskopf, Agitation Free.
And my RIAS colleague Walter Bachauer. He had called the Metamusik
Festival into life and brought the international avant-garde to Berlin.
The festival opened up new aesthetic continents to us when we were grateful to listen to chants of Tibetanian 
monks or the Steve Reich Ensemble play “Drumming”.
Manuel was able to start his international career pretty quickly, focusing on England, France and Japan.
For the German middle-of-the-road-consciousness, these countries were as exotic as the winds on Jupiter, 
especially Japan, where Göttsching still enjoys superstar status. Today it is not only these countries, which 
consider him a cult figure. He has also made his mark as a film composer and has added his music to numerous 
events and art happenings.
In November 1975 I had initiated a concert at the RIAS Studio 10, entitled “Futurum 3”, with ASH RA TEMPEL 
performing. Apart from the guitars there was also an EMS Synthi A on stage. And an old Farfisa Compact Organ 
that Manuel played and of which I was especially proud:
I was able to buy this instrument in 1964 after a summer job at a steel drill factory. This Farfisa was on stage 
when I performed with my band the Team Beats Berlin, as support act for the Rolling Stones at their legendary 
concert in September 1965 at the Berliner Waldbühne.
Somehow this instrument had survived the riot, and ten years later Manuel bought this organ from me. He had 
played this Farfisa in many concerts and recordings in the following years, and it can be heard also prominently
here on “Dream and Desire”.
Originally, the two tracks “Dream” and “Desire” had been conceived for my one-hour radio feature at RIAS Berlin 
in summer 1977. Then, although being broadcast only once in Berlin and Belgium, they soon became cult 
amongst listeners, who taped, multiplied and distributed the tracks throughout Manuel's fan base.
But it was only in 1991, after 14 years, when Manuel decided to make it an “official” release on CD. Something like that is unusual at times when only the new things count - until it is dismissed by the new and gets 
dumped.
The revival of Dream & Desire is not nostalgia but an indication that the present will only be appreciated after 
acknowledging the past. Applies also to art.
The bonus track “Despair” was not part of the original radio-feature, but was composed and recorded around the 
same time in 1977, and the track fits perfectly in style and sound.
Manuel's music has been with me for now almost 50 years.
I own a superb LP and CD collection of him.
Dream & Desire is beautiful - what more can I say ...
Olaf Leitner, March 2019