Musica Obscura 4: Manuel Göttsching - Origins of Dance Music E2-E4
Sven Marquardt - MGArt
This post is not really about the artist Manuel Göttschung but the album E2-E4 due to it's breakthrough nature. It is lost in time being written in 1981, 37 years ago, and released in 1984. Yet the vast majority of people have never heard of it.
It helps if you know what type of music I am talking about of course - electronic dance music. Some people would argue that it was people like Kraftwork that were the forerunners to this but I'd beg to differ as they led to harder types of dance that are only really popular in Northern Europe. E2-E4 was embraced in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Like Kraftwork Göttschung was German but was a guitarist and had psychedelic roots. This is pretty clear in E2-E4 as it is very hypnotic. I'd say that that Steve Reich and Philip glass had some influence because of the repetition, the gradual changes and layers but it seems that he listened to a lot of Terry Reilly at the time. That sort of makes sense too.
How it came into existence is a bit odd. It seems that Göttschung was going on a plane flight so he decided to record something to listen to on his Walkman (a portable cassette player made by Sony). He set up some sequencers and did a free-jam over the top of them. It was recorded in one take with no overdubs and no post production of any sort but ....... what a free jam that turned out to be! Having said that he decided to sit on the recording for several years (1984) only deciding to release a limited quantity of vinyl. It was only friends badgering that got it that far. However it didn't get the greatest of reviews in Europe and Göttschung decided just to move on.
What he didn't count on was it becoming extremely popular in the USA amongst DJs some of whom would play the whole album in their set. Göttschung found this a bit odd as it didn't have a heavy beat and wondered how people could dance to it. It did help usher in the idea of garage and house and crept back to Southern Europe hitting its pinnacle with the Balearic sound before moving off into Asia and South America.
All this was bolstered by the release of Sueno Latino in 1989 which heavily sampled E2-E4. The version below is with added lyrics which gives it a different feel. Don't watch the extremely dated video as it is truly horrible.
Seems that quiet people that do very little self-promotion can change things if it gets into the hands of the right people.
It is not possible to download a copy of E2-E4 but you can buy CDs and Vinyl on Manuel Götterchung's ancient looking website.