Inventions for Electric Guitar (R.I.P. Manuel Göttsching)

Ash Ra Tempel, one of the pioneers of krautrock or kosmische musik, had broken up and the band’s guitarist was looking for a new direction. Manuel Göttsching, inspired by Terry Riley’s looping minimalism, turned on his tape recorder and began to play.

The result was an incredibly rich-sounding solo album, Inventions For Electric Guitar — given that the album was recorded in 1974 and every note on it comes from an electric guitar.

The lack of instruments probably inspired him to be creative and experiment in interesting ways. The album makes use of a wah pedal and a steel bar familiar from guitar slides. The focus is on echo and repetition.

The album consists of two long riff-based songs, punctuated by surprising guitar solos. The cosmic pulsating tracks are guaranteed to sink in with fans of Chilean Föllakzoid.

In between these long songs, at the end of the A-side, an ambient gem of an album, perfect as a soundtrack to a snowfall. It’s hard to believe the soundscape of this song was created without synthesizers.

”During which one guy with a guitar does what Tangerine Dream needed three guys and a bulkhead of electronic gizmos to do”, as one listener commented on Rate Your Music.

After listening to the album, you should continue by watching this interview with Göttsching at the Red Bull Music Academy. He talks at length about his career and music. He explains and demonstrates how Inventions for Electric Guitar emerge at 41:20.

R.I.P. Manuel Göttsching (1952—2022)