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Press Reviews

(In French, will be opened in a new window)
("Guts of Darkness", Canada, 2007)

(In Japanese, will be opened in a new window)
("Euro Rock Press", November 1998, Japan)

(In Japanese, will be opened in a new window)
("Arch Angel", January 1999, Japan)

»Rare is the occasion when two halves merge to form an utterly nourishing whole but that’s exactly what happens here. Recorded live in Osaka and Tokyo back in early 1997, these two are two of the most addictive platters to have stumbled into my disc player in quite some time.

Composed largely by Manuel Göttsching, both serve as diverse, hypnotic breaks from the grind of standard progressive. It’s the kind of music that Robert Fripp has made in his best moments, a cross pollination of the dance beat days of Discipline-era Crimson and the mournful but compelling lines that have graced his best soundscape work. But these discs stand on their own, far above and beyond a number of releases that are presented as bold and imaginative works but prove to be only so in the minds of marketing executives. There’s an other-worldly atmosphere here, a kind of laid-back, late-night charm that leaves you in a pleasantly dumbfounded state of mind as the four members of the ensemble (Göttsching, Lutz Ulbrich, Harald Grosskopf and Steve Baltes) weave jazz and prog and chill out-inspired webs.

Volume 1 proves exciting if not a little more traditional and slightly less relaxed than Volume 2. That said, it still proves inspiring and, when followed with a healthy dose of the second album, only brings the listener to an even greater sense of inner-awareness, elevates them to an infinitely higher plane. (Really, if I haven’t said this before: you cannot separate these albums, no matter how you try.) Together they form an awesome, nighttime pastoral, an invocation to a muse that can finally bridge the mind with the soul. These are portraits of a world waking but not awake, people loving and being in love. Highlights include Sunrain, a journey between joy and sadness, Oasis, Echo Waves, Twelve Samples, and Hausaufgabe

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»Kicking off with Göttsching's trademark echo-guitar rhythm, Echo Waves builds with a gradual layering of sequencers, drums and keyboards until the whole hurtling, swinging melange reaches the point where - if you know ASHRA - the addition of Göttsching's freestyle guitar is wonderfully inevitable.«
(David Elliott, "The Wire", UK)

»Doch etwas zu Timbuktu, das hier seine Konzertpremiere feiert. Es beginnt mit Perkussion, aber sehr atmosphärisch - wie ein verdichteter "FX" von Black Sabbath (ja, es ist kein Irrtum, hört Euch nur "Black Sabbath, Vol.4" an). Dann wird das Klima eher "negroid". Sogar Göttschings Gitarre versucht die Karibik herbeizuwehen, oder etwas ähnliches - Timbuktu soll es ja sein. Der feine elektronische Background gibt dem Ganzen eine leichte Tiefe. Insgesamt nichts Besonderes, doch es macht die CD abwechslungsreicher. Es dauert nur 8 Minuten und das ist genug. Dann hält das kosmisch Geheimnisvolle Einzug - von Anfang bis Ende - und es läuft wie Gott ASHRA befohlen.«
(Artur Lason, "Estrada i Studio", Poland)

»Of om met mijn schoonvader te spreken: "Van wat je lekker findt, heb je nooit genoeg in huis"«
(Frits, KLEM, The Netherlands)

» ... so war ihre Musik der Zeit meist einen Schritt voraus. Ob New Age, psychadelic Impetus oder Techno, immer verstanden es Göttsching & Co mit substanzhaltigen Vorläufern diese Stile vorwegzunehmen. Und nun, nach fast 10 Jahren Abstinenz ein weiteres Meisterwerk: Live während der 97'er Japan-Tour eingespielt, bietet @shra Trance-Grooves vom Feinsten. Die Sounds der drei 20-Minuten Stücke verbinden ambiente Passagen mit träumerischen Beats, eingewebt in das Spiel der Twin-Guitars von Göttsching und ex-"Agitation Free" Lutz Ulbrich.«
(J.Ettel, "Hanfblatt", Germany)

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