“The three pieces of ‘Fahl’ are the results of a never ending recycling (not remixing!) of one and the same structure recorded deep in the past. That means recycling of recyclings of recyclings… With ‘Fahl’ the series comes to a temporary end to be continued sometime. The idea behind this esthetic strategy is the question: why further on creating genuine music? Our recent digital and analog tools enable us to derive nearly every sonic event from nearly every other sonic elements. But that is the theory. Actually that tiny “nearly” constantly holds unexpected aural surprises. To perceive these surprises is a question of ear calibration. To be ready for active listening (opposite to passive hearing) is the basic requirement for analytical perception.” — Asmus Tietchens
3. February 1947
Born in Hamburg, Germany.
1965 / First experiments with tape machines and electronic sound generators (rhytm machines, sine tone generators) and with concrete sounds.
1971 / Starts working with the Minimoog. Complex results through the use of 8-channel tape devices.
1975 / Marks the decision, to compose and realize electro-acoustic music “for a living”.
1980 / First LP-release (“Nachtstücke”) in France, produced by Peter Baumann (“Tangerine Dream”).
1982 / Discovery of stylistic affinity to Industrial Music. LP “Formen letzter Hausmusik” (1984) is released on the british label “United Dairies”. Through to 1989 numerous LP releases on labels of the international Industrial scene such as Esplendor Geometrico, Hamster Records, Multimood, A-Mission a.o., presenting works with prepared piano, water sounds and various other concrete material.
1985 / Experiments with the Fairlight CMI.
1986 / First travels to Brasil to present his work in the form of lecture-concerts upon invitation by the Goethe-Institute.
1989–2009/ Teaches sound design, communication design and sound research at the Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg (HAW).
1991 / Second concert journey to South America invited by the Goethe-Institute, this time going to Argentinia, Chile and Uruguay.
since 1991 / Various CD-releases on international labels such as Staalplaat, Soleilmoon, Selektion, Mille Plateaux and more. Collaborations with other composers of the so-called noise scene like Merzbow, Achim Wollscheid, Thomas Köner, Vidna Obmana and more.
2003 / Awarded the “Karl-Sczuka-Preis für Akustische Kunst” by Südwestrundfunk (SWR).
2006 / Again awarded the “Karl-Sczuka-Preis für Akustische Kunst” by Südwestrundfunk (SWR).
Until today more than 50 LP- and CD-releases and numerous public performances in Germany and abroad.
2010-2013/ Teaches sound design at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg.
No studies, no academic education no scholarships just pure learning by doing = self-taught appropriation of creative skills and handling of analogue and digital studio technology. I am my own Tonmeister.
“Fahl” delivers stunningly bizarre terrains traversed by Asmus Tietchens, one of the pioneers of digital minimalism. Over the course of the three pieces Asmus Tietchens lets the exploration of space lead the way. Within these pieces his sounds ring out with a crystal clarity. Digital drips grace the songs’ elongated, elegant drones. Evolution occurs with great patience as Asmus Tietchens forgoes a great deal of tradition (melody, rhythm) for an in-depth look at shimmering textures. By doing so he creates near-silent pieces that celebrate the smaller sounds of the world.
Glowing and glimmering is the collection opener “FmF 4”. From there things get far more engrossing as the song shifts with subtle hues of color. On the collection highlight “L10RC” Asmus Tietchen’s work feels reminiscent of Vladimir Ussachevsky’s hovering drones. Throughout the piece the way the song slowly weaves its way through a series of rabbit holes gives it an unusual, almost playful spirit to it. Sonar-level pings emerge out of the ether creating a near melody, one which plays with spacial acoustics to delve into a disorientating yet thrilling experience. By far the loudest and most direct of all the pieces is the Zen-like calm of “L10RB”. With this piece Asmus Tietchens hints at vast terrains where all is constantly in flux. Despite the rather hushed tones there is something quite luxuriant about the sound, rich vibrant tones.
Asmus Tietchens delivers a wonderful, contemplative experience on the minimal sonic surrealism of “Fahl”.
SERGE TIMMERS / MERCHANTS OF AIR
When an artist asks the questions: “why do we still create genuine music now that digital equipment has made it possible to recycle every piece of music ever recorded”, some people might get mad, mainly because digital music making still isn’t fully accepted yet. Yet, that exact question forms the basis of ‘Fahl’ by German sound artist Asmus Tietchens.
The three pieces on this album, are the results of recycled sounds. They are being altered, changed, deepened, distorted and whatnot to create something completely different. Strangely enough, in the end, that process does create something genuine, something with its own sound and style, something strange and out of the ordinary.
So what can I compare the music with? Well, there are plenty of experimental and ambient acts that come to mind, most notably O Yuki Conjugate again, a band that I still see as one of the pinnacles of the genre. Cordell Klier is another name that comes to mind, just to give you an idea about the experimental nature of the tracks.
‘Fahl’ is a strange little gem, but certainly one that deserves your attention. I’m curious if this experiment with recycled sounds will continue in the near future and I’m curious for the results. But for now, I recommend checking out this piece of work if you’re a fan of odd, abstract and otherworldly music.
AURELIO CIANCIOTTA / NEURAL
The three digital compositions that constitute this project are the result of an exhaustive “recycling”, rather than remixing. Author Asmus Tietchens questions the necessity of creating original music when “digital and analogue tools allow us to derive nearly every sonic event from nearly every other sonic event.” Theory, however, is only one thing. In practice there are always unexpected surprises, which often result from the ability of listeners to shift and alter perspective and perception. Understanding any aural concatenation requires active listening and the recalibration of our sensory systems. These six to seven minute-long tracks progress in a slow abstract manner. Airy and full of character, they oscillate between liquefied, granular, punctiform and spacey textures. Fabio Perletta, head honcho of Farmacia 901, will be proud of hosting this project. The unusual structures posses a vibrational quality that is highly addictive and emotional. Abstract and enjoyable, the sequences evolve harsher and sometimes dark atmospheres. Tietchens displays subtle control over dynamics and texture, and the harmonic content of the work is complex and resonant. The first song in the lineup creates a gradual crescendo that feels intimate and molecular, almost suggesting the idea of inhospitable landscapes. This is followed by even more quietist and profound insertions, with cascading drones punctuated by thinner audio emergencies, before closing with a passage of intricate and beautiful abstractions.
MARCO FERRETTI / ELECTRONIQUE.IT
“I tre brani di “Fahl” sono il risultato finale di un infinito processo di riciclo (non di remix!) di uno di questi e della medesima struttura registrata in profondità in passato. Ciò significa riciclare i riciclati dei riciclati… Con “Fahl” la serie giunge a una sua temporanea fine, ma potrebbe continuare in futuro. L’idea alla base di tale strategia estetica è la seguente domanda: perché continuare a creare musica genuina?”
Uno dei compositori più prolifici di tutti i tempi, Asmus Tietchens è, non a caso, una sorta di tramite tra il rock d’avanguardia e la musique concrète. La carriera dell’artista di Amburgo attraversa più decadi e le permea tra minimalismi e altri esperimenti. Influenzato dal primo Brian Eno, il musicista tedesco ha fatto spesso ricorso a risonanze atonali, di matrice ambientale, per caratterizzare parte dei suoi lavori.
In “Fahl” (2014), consegnato nelle mani di Fabio Perletta per la sua etichetta Farmacia901, i suoni del pioniere dei sintetizzatori sono nitidi, seppur con alcune differenziazioni di fondo, occupano ogni intricato spazio, sfruttando l’ampia gamma di possibilità acustiche dell’eco. Si attivano così continue reti di connessioni sonore in grado di svilupparsi da stati di accennato silenzio in forme semi-autonome.
“I nostri più recenti strumenti digitali e analogici ci consentono di far quasi derivare ogni evento sonico da qualsiasi altro elemento analogo. Tuttavia, ciò avviene almeno in teoria. Al momento, il ‘quasi’ riserva spesso inattese ma piacevoli sorprese. Riuscire a cogliere diventa una questione d’orecchio. Essere pronti a un ascolto attivo (l’opposto di un udire passivo) è il requisito base della percezione analitica”.
Note sospese, sonorità opache, toni delicati e gocce d’acqua in lontananza. Venti minuti di apnea concettuale. L’opener FmF 4 emana un sound tanto rilassante quanto curioso. Non esistono pulsioni, solo note sfregate, come in L10RB. Dai suoi clangori dispari deriva la conclusiva L10RC, più intima, raccolta, o sintesi finale di un’opera breve, dalle forme aleatorie, ma intensa. Per tre singolari esperienze d’ascolto.
ANDREA PIRAN / CHAIN DLK
In the liner notes the author, one of the key figure of experimental music, states that this release is “the result of a never ending recycling (not remixing!) of one and the same structure recorded deep in the past”. So this idea of recycling takes upon a concept that “active listening (opposite to passive hearing) is the basic requirement for analytical perception’. This a statement on how create something new from the hidden shades of sound.
“FmF 4″ quietly opens this release with sounds at the edge of perception so there’s a call for a full concentration on the listening environment that is gradually filled until returning to silence. “L10RC” is based on a drone that is sometimes juxtaposed by samples and small noises. After this volumes, “L10RC” seems loud as it’s full of evocative sounds.
Headphone listening is truly recommended for a work of brief listening time but full of sound details. Truly recommended for fans.
Asmus Tietchens continues down his path of opaque sounds on “Fahl”. Exploring quiet tones Asmus Tietchens’ work is timeless. His sounds recall those of early electronic pioneers while maintaining his own distinct sonic vocabulary. On “Fahl” the sounds are spacious and crystal clean. Playing off of each other the songs appear to inhabit a different universe, with the deft use of echo and the implied sense of space. Indeed at times Asmus Tietchens appears to have a desire to create a fascinating approximation of teeming life.
“Fmf 4” opens the collection with the idea of life in mind. Drones hover in the midrange remaining subdued. What truly ends up defining this particular piece is the sound of dripping water from far away. The distinct patterns play off of each other making the entire piece rather cryptic. Sounds occurs nearly outside the field of perception with much of the movement implied. On “L10RC” sounds become quite intimate. Slightly louder the noises feel approachable. Gone is some of the distance from the previous track as Asmus Tietchens moves closer to the listener. By far the highlight of the collection is the odd clanging beauty of “L10RB”. For this Asmus Tietchens reveals all. The reverberation of the sounds is incredible. Playful at times the sounds are clusters lingering in the background gradually growing in strength.
“Fahl” displays Asmus Tietchens’ uncanny ability to explore the microscopic and show the beauty that hides in the smallest gestures.
FRANS DE WAARD / VITAL WEEKLY #967
A while ago I was playing, whenever time allowed me, all CDs that I have, and usually I would start with an artist and go through his entire body of work. It took me some time to go through all the releases by Asmus Tietchens, but I was enjoying the consistent high quality of his work a lot. Whether it was his earliest synth records, the orchestra of ‘Marches Funebres’, the electro-acoustics of many others, or the highly reduced music of his ‘menge’ series. For this mini release he writes that these ‘are the results of a never ending recycling (not remixing!) of one and the same structure recorded deep in the past’ and that it comes to an end now; temporarily. There is already so much music and with the current tools we could keep on recycling these ad infinitum. Now, one could think I am some sort of expert on the work of Tietchens but having heard a lot of it, not necessarily equals me being an expert, I would think. I can divide his music in various fields of interest, but would find it difficult to recognize ‘alpha menge’ from ‘delta menge’. Hence, I wouldn’t know what is being recycled here; part of his trick is that Asmus knows how to radically alter something and we no longer have an idea what it is. It sounds very sparse, these three pieces, and could be something from the ‘menge’ series, but perhaps something entirely else, from another entirely different time and other field of interest. Tietchens keeps these three pieces very sparse with lots of room between the sounds and a very faint hum at the bottom. That’s perhaps what made me think this is along the lines of the ‘menge’ series. Perhaps as such this holds not much surprise, unlike say his ‘Fast Ohne Title, Korrosion’ (see Vital Weekly 907); maybe we should understand this temporary end to this particular recycling as setting out a new course, started on that ‘Fast Ohne Title, Korrosion’ release? The future will tell. This particular Tietchens was good enough for the true fan I am, but like I said, no real surprise.
PHILIPPE BLACHE / IGLOO MAGAZINE
On the way to becoming a key figure in the world of structural minimalism and post-modern ambient music, Farmacia901 (owned by the electronic sound designer and producer Fabio Perletta) recently signed the new Asmus Tietchens for a beautiful limited physical edition. Next to other pioneering musicians in the field of formalized minimal-math electronic music (with Pietro Grossi, Enore Zaffiri, Iannis Xenakis et al) Tietchens entered in the encyclopedia of contemporary musical history with the classic release Biotop (1981).
Fahl is an interlocking sound apnea through continuous shapes, microscopic molecular figures, amorphous spectral textures, treated and uncertain acoustic percolation. The album embraces the most conceptual-intellectual or formalistic aspects of Tietchens fundamental sonic experiments. The more avant-garde pop dimension of his historical releases is muted to let the place to symbolic “formalized” music with a fruitful sounding dialogue between mathematical-metaphysical sound colors. Consequently minimalist textures and directional / aleatoric experiments are gently and secretly moving in a deep spacious environment. A relevant and elaborate example of timbral experimentations in conceptual drone based minimalism music.
Fahl will ravish fans of Tietchens most adventurous works, avid listeners of the systemic ambient sound sculptures and free “computerized” minimalist music of Farmacia901, Raster-Noton, Empreintes digitales, Spekk (among others).
MIGUEL ISAZA / INFINITE GRAIN
There’s an implicit analytical pursuit over listening, a way of tuning the ear in order to make it able to explore the exact possibilities of the microsonic in the relationships exposed into the macro forms as such. Asmus Tietchens clearly dominates the art of distributing the right elements in the right moments, creating webs of of sonic inter-connections that speak in a pluralistic development of object resonances and intricate spaces, hence opening time in order to reflect subtle states of listening, translated into deep reaches in terms of the analysis of the sonic-silent form dialectic. The ear evolves and recognizes the details of the acousmatic tissues, extending the capacity of perceiving the micro forms of reality by offering silent contemplation and delicateness, linked to a deep audible analysis. Fahl is ultimately a timeless set of sound structures that reflect an unimaginable, yet somehow possible, listening experience.