Asmus Tietchens

Adventures in Sound + Nachtstücke

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The two-CD set Adventures in Sound + Nachtstücke launched a projected series of 18 releases reissuing Asmus Tietchens' music up to 1991 with added material. The project surely is ambitious, but this first set gives all the right indicators as to its success. Nachtstücke (or "Night Pieces") first came out in 1980 on the French label Egg and is Tietchens' first full-length album. Fans of his productions two decades later (such as his Menge series on Ritornell) are in for a big surprise. In the '70s (the album was recorded in 1975-1978, its release delayed), his music follows the paths of German ambient electronics, with strong ties to Tangerine Dream/Edgar Froese. His synthesizer tunes rely heavily on melody and harmony. Like Tangerine Dream circa Rubycon, it uses a stripped-down approach to create a sense of alienation many have associated with an outer-space mood. But Tietchens' tunes have built-in quirks like pitch-shifted sounds and dissonant lines that give the album an unusual flavor. This reissue goes back to the original versions of the pieces, eschewing the fades, cuts, and post-production of Tangerine Dream's Peter Baumann, who was in charge of the project, thus resulting in slightly longer running times. Four bonus tracks are added. Adventures in Sound is a completely different story. Recorded between 1965 and 1969 with Hans Dieter Wohlmann and Okko Bekker and previously unreleased, it consists of 20 tape pieces that have both a D.I.Y. and a visionary feel. Working on reel-to-reel tape recorders, the three friends used real instruments and recorded music (classical, free jazz, pop) to create multi-tracked collages that often evoke John Oswald's early plunderphonics (their use of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" finale as the starting point for a new piece announces his "btls" 20 years before the fact). These are Tietchens' earliest recordings. None of these two discs can be deemed essential or typical Tietchens, but they offer an invaluable (and ultimately, entertaining) historical insight.

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