Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Manuel Göttsching - E2-E4
The album was named as one of the best 1980s albums for its important role in the development of house music and techno of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sueño Latino sampled E2-E4 on its 1989 song "Sueño Latino." In 1995, the German electronic music duo (and label) Basic Channel (Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald) released a remix of E2-E4 titled "e2e4 Basic Reshape" on the BCD compilation album.
In December 1981, Manuel Göttsching was due to fly from his native Berlin to Hamburg. In need of some music for his Walkman, he decided to record an idea that he was working on. Thirty-two years later, the reverberations of his work in Studio Roma that Saturday evening are still being felt. In terms of modern dance music's DNA, the hour-long piece that he produced, E2-E4, is as important as any disco, funk or Kraftwerk record. Recorded in one take, with Göttsching improvising keyboards and noodly guitar over its insistent synthesizer patterns and metallic percussion – a process made possible by the recent advent of the sequencer – E2-E4 distilled the classical minimalism of Terry Riley and Steve Reich into a groove that became a Paradise Garage anthem. In 1989, it was rebooted by Italians Sueño Latino as a rave era chill-out classic.
"When I found out E2-E4 was played in clubs, I couldn't imagine people dancing to it," he says. "There's not a strong bass drum and the rhythm is very subtle. I took ideas from dance music, but my composing goes more into the minimalist style of Steve Reich, Philip Glass. It could be played with an orchestra." He reminds us that when E2-E4 was finally released in 1984, at the height of synth-pop, the critics hated it. "The first German critique called it complete 'muzak' and said that I'd missed every development in electronic music and I didn't know anything."
The soft synth drums, the polyrhythmic arpeggios and dreamy guitar provided the most captivating combination of elements ever. I was a fan of Ashra Tempel, so when I found out who it was, I was very excited to find this. I had just started working at Tower Records in Philly and was the 12″ vinyl buyer. The first record I ordered was this one - I sold at least 100 of these and more CDs!
To this day, I play this once a week.