Hans Otte is best known for his piano music (mostly The Book of Sounds), but his more experimental works have yet to be disseminated at large. This Pogus release salvages two works composed in the '70s and recorded by Radio Bremen. They portray an artist profoundly influenced by John Cage's concepts yet exploring his very own forms. Performed simultaneously in Stockholm and Bremen (although the details of this are not revealed), "minimum:maximum" is "an environment for two organists." This 41-minute piece features keyboardists Karl-Erik Welin and Gerd Zacher trading metrically rigid, Philip Glass-like lines on various keyboards ranging from what sounds like a harmonium to a miniMoog. These parts are accompanied and occasionally supplanted by a complex tapestry of German, English, and French voices reciting commands, verbal affirmations ("I take," "I think," etc.), and the single word "Ich" (German for "I"). Electronic treatments complete the picture. Showing little movement over three quarters of an hour, the piece could almost be mistaken for a sound installation, its numerous details and puzzling juxtapositions intriguing and captivating the listener for its whole duration. In comparison to the rather crude and demanding outlook of "minimum:maximum," "orient:occident" offers a soothing 14 minutes of slow-paced music for oboe (Ingo Goritzki), clarinet (Hans-Wilhelm Goetzkem), and tape. The tape part consists of a continuous electronic loop based on a two-note sequence that serves as a backdrop for the seductive, slightly Indian-sounding melodies of the woodwinds.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture