Despite the fact that it breaks away from the number series that provided earlier titles (1, 0, -1), Kontakt der Jünglinge's fourth album consists once more of a single, 45-minute piece recorded live. And once again, the CD is packaged in a cardboard sleeve with minimal design and information. But the music is much richer, eventful, and better recorded. Some of the earlier albums gave the impression of being recorded from a distance; n puts you right where it happens. Thomas Köner and Asmus Tietchens still explore ambient territories, but this time around it feels like pleasure won over process. Both artists develop lush synthesized textures dressed up with crackles and quiet field recordings. The sound palette remains the same for the most part, with a predilection for cavernous and windy sounds (Köner's Unerforschtes Gebiet often comes to mind). The feeling of austerity is almost all gone, leaving a captivating piece that wraps itself around the listener to create an alternate reality. Recorded live at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam on May 18, 2002, 13 months after the duo's previous effort, n illustrates a profound evolution in its chemistry. This is Köner and Tietchens' best effort so far, but if anything, n is a promise of even better things to come. They might want to start thinking about using different sound sources, though.
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