I'm pretty certain these are not available anywhere because the fine Ritornell label (and parent Mille Plateaux label) is sadly no more.
making music and sculpting with sound since the 1960s, one of Asmus Tietchen's earlier projects include work with Moebius and Plank of Cluster in a band called Liliental, which recorded a self titled album in 1978. besides this great document of vintage psych/space rock, I am not familiar with any of his other earlier work, which is said to be very good (and someone told me about his more "pop" projects, which were highly recommended as well). if anyone out there can enlighten, please do.
possessed of a unique and singular vision, the very prolific fellow follows a definite logic and tragectory, but they are difficult to grasp. the signature style of his digital period is unmistakable (all 3 of these albums were made within the past 6 years), and a consistant set of concerns runs through all of his work, yet each piece is very specific and endlessly fascinating.
the palette of manipulated found-sounds bear no reference to the world, and there is no trace of anything resembling traditional melody anywhere. while there is often a definite structure, the compositions do not adhere rigidly to compositional perameters - it is an organic and rich soundworld filled with alien beauty, even if the faint of heart might describe it as "cold", "inhuman", and "creepy".
the second, 37 minute track of Alpha Menge, for instance, is roughly in 3 parts: an uncomfortable manic bleep-beat and cold storage atmospherics run for 8 minutes, followed by a short passage of only high tones undulating in almost painfully sharp focus, and slowly, patiently, sustained bass and mid-range drones build until the highs vanish, and for the remaining 20 minutes we are left hovering in an ever changing labrynth of gorgeous tone-waves ----- bearing an uncanny resemblance to inaudible radar frequencies emitted by a school of dolphins, as experienced by a test subject in an isolation tank, under hypnosis and dosed with LSD.
this music is austere and quiet yet is not microsound because of the often timbral richness. spacious and fitting of Eno's concept of foreground/background listening, yet it is not "ambient" because there is too much going on for it to be anything close to "chill out". it is not noise because it's too musical. and it doesn't belong in the academic avant-garde camp either because it doesn't really follow the lineage or partake in the dialog of modern composition. undefinable as the music of Asmus Tietchen's is, I have yet to be dissapointed by anything the man makes - uncompromising, challenging, but at the same time very enjoyable and rewards repeated listening.
Asmus Tietchens - Alpha Menge (Ritornel 12)
Asmus Tietchens - Beta Menge (Ritornel 22)
Asmus Tietchens - gamma menge (Ritornell_27)