Ash Ra Tempel

Seven Up

MG.Art • 1973

After proclaiming a radical cultural change and using the formula »Turn on. Tune in. Drop out« to incite the authorities of the then and now deeply reactionary USA, Timothy Leary fled into exile in Switzerland in 1971 to escape the FBI. Hidden by an arms dealer who saw it as his duty to »protect philosophers«, Leary had his hands full keeping his personal and political life together.  Nevertheless, Manuel Göttsching and Hartmut Enke managed to win over the world-famous LSD guru for their third album during this period – not as a creative assistant or reciter of pithy sayings, but as a singer of such frenetic vocal freakouts that were never heard from Leary again until his death in 1996.  The departure for Klaus Schulze was just a few months ago when the recordings for »Seven Up« began, which is very clearly reflected in the groovy proto-punk on the A-side.  During the spherical spoken-word passages in »Space«, the guitars and drums zoom in and out again and again, as if on an interstellar radio frequency, sometimes resounding from the background and in the next moment again right at the very front, close to the perceiving ear.  Psychedelic qualities develop on an equal par with the bluesy song structures, which give Leary plenty of room to freak out.  Not infrequently, this remind us of the megalomaniac style of the young Jim Morrison, only less poetic.  Nevertheless, who would have thought the renowned psychologist capable of such a thing?  In typical Ash Ra manner, the B-side of the album unfolds as a steaming sound construct in which the band wanders around like in a subdued feverish dream. With its various movements, »Time« accordingly also contains the actual immersive power of the record, even though Ash Ra Tempel would not reach their compositional zenith until the »Join Inn« that followed a few months later in December 1972.  Then with Dieter Dierks at the mixing desk again and one last time with Schulze at the synthesizers.