Asmus Tietchens - 3 Ritornell releases

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)



Anonymous said...

HI, Great blog, been after this for ages, look forward to getting home and d'loading
john (preston, england)


Lucky said...

that's VERY funny, Confucius!

asmus tietchens is somewhat related to the "circle" i spoke in an earlier comment, though he's not hanging around with them too much, i think - but the spot these people are meeting is one of a kind: very smoky, dark, filled with loud and (for me) sometimes unbearable noise music, that sure will damage you ears, once you've been there for more than 30 minutes.

I've never heard a tietchens album, though heard him in live performances in Hamburg several times (in a cinema with readings from newspapers snippets - very funny!!!)

I will give it a listen! sometimes I'm too quick with my judgements...

Thanks for your knowledge & the shares!

zhao said...

I'm having trouble remembering when and where you mentioned this "circle". I can imagine the kind of company this man keeps...

there is a loose community of crusty underground "experimental" musicians here in LA as well... who are not accepted by high or low... but they are not making music NEARLY as interesting as Mr. Tietchens.

Lucky said...

sorry, i'm speaking in tongues, i guess!

you, confucius, made a comment about the "monitor"-gang, and i commented to it - though in the world of m, and not in different waters.

i still haven't found what i'm looking for ... ah, yes, will listen to your asmus tietchens


and ... more mengelberg (with another genius!) at ... orang aural ... and your postbox ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks! M

fauxteur said...

nice blog, i'm happy to find it

i'll be checking through the archives

Anonymous said...

i was wondering if you might also post a suitable dish to be eaten while listening to each of your selections. i like for all my senses to be appeased at once, in harmony

Loopy C said...

Thanks confucius, I had been most curious about this period having been a fan of his 'Made To Measure' tracks.

zhao said...

re: "all my senses to be appeased at once, in harmony"

for the digital period of Tietchens I recommend salted, pickled eggs with slightly dry rye bread, and a glass of tomato juice.

Shivkumar should be enjoyed with nothing other than a half cup of luke-warm jasmine tea, sipped very sparingly so as to last the duration of listening.

and for Congo Natty copious amounts of the best weed you can find.

zhao said...

loopy, sorry I have not gotten back to you regards those tracks you put up. I've been very busy with work and all that... what's going on with your compositions and things?

Loopy C said...

No problem confucius! I occasionally put out 'feelers', no obligation implied. I just didn't know whether you had even received the email.

I am lucky these days to have nothing but time for making tracks, a luxury most don't (especially those who have blogs as hobbies ;-)). But, I do miss collaborations, without them I tend to sit on what are now Terabytes of semi-finished ideas, the 'curse' of being a recluse and my own audience ;-)

Thanks for asking, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Asmus (and the pickled egg suggestion, perfect!)

btw, my last 'collaboration' is here:


sourcedirect [at] web dot de said...

in case you're still interested in more tietchens, i could share some of his oeuvre.
i just need some help with the uploading procedure.
great blog by the way, i reallly enjoy your mixes.
email me [see name].

kind regards

lord direct

Anonymous said...

asmus tietchens & pbk.
five manifestoes.

zhao said...

mucho grassy-ass anonymous! now there are atleast 6 or 7 other Tietchens albums I should probably post... but another part of me want to move on to another artist/style... decisions, decisions...

zhao said...

loopy you are lucky indeed... I'm trying to get there myself. atleast for 6 months at a time - to just make art and start composing... I checked out a couple of tunes from your last collab efforts - not what I expected! actual rock songs! not atonal or weird at all!

Loopy C said...

'not what I expected! actual rock songs! not atonal or weird at all!'

lol! Indeed, my 'professional' life has always been more on the mainstream tip. Weird and atonal is more a hobby and inclination ;-)

Thanks anonymous for the '5 Manifestos'.

Paxjorge said...

wow.... I like this material, never heard of it, but definitely like it. Thanks a lot, man!

Anonymous said...

All 3 are gone :(