When I look at the lengthy discography of Manuel Göttsching, Ashra’s debut-album “New Age of Earth” remains an all-time classic that beats his other releases by far.
The four tracks on the album, which Manuel considers an experiment with keyboards and synthesizer, all have a lovely warm feel, paired with some well-executed repetitive sequencing (although I’ve heard it seems to have been recorded without the use of any sequencer) and guitar playing.
More than anything else, “New Age of Earth” is mood music where assorted abstract sound pads and minimal elements are melted in a very sophisticated manner There’s optimistic mood created by the smooth, pattern-based album starter “Sunrain”, followed by the tender relaxing spheres layed down on the 12-minute “Ocean of Tenderness”. “Deep Distance” propels the listeners into another fine comfort zone, where the minimal element surfaces once more along some synth soloing.
The almost 22-minute “Nightdust” rounds out the album in a beautiful cosmic way. Especially the soaring sounds of the analogue synths taking stage in the first half take your mind elsewhere almost automatically. Then, the track is set in motion and smoothly grows in sound, hinting towards territory where Schulze would end up later on.
If your love meditative ambient with well-layered pads, licks of e-guitar and a smooth evolving vibe underneath, “New Age of Earth” will make is all come true.