Some months ago a regular listener, one of my most faithful, noted (perhaps "lamented" more accurately captures his tone) in an Instant Message that it wouldn't be Rare Frequency without my playing at least one piece by Asmus Tietchens. This was certainly true in 2004, a year during which I became obsessed both with the recent series of Tietchens reissues on Die Stadt and his latest release as Hematic Sunsets, Zu Gast im Aroma Club (Klang der Festung). I am no collector/ completist (a futile endeavor where Tietchens is concerned, given his vast discography), but I did catch a case of Asmus-mania this year, which I have yet to fully shake, and I have been picking up Tietchens records with a zeal that upon occasion borders on crazed gluttony.
My latest Asmus fix/acquisition is the two-disc set, Eisgang/Dämmersattacke, which was released in 2002 on Submergence, but is, in fact, a reissue of two out-of-print LPs that were originally released as part of the Korm Plastics? ambient series in the mid-nineties. The set finds Tietchens in experimental ambient mode (rather than, say, cheeky quasi-lounge pop mode) and is not wholly unlike his work with Thomas Köner as Kontakt der Junglinge (but, of course, that means it's not wholly like it either). Eisgang translates as "ice flows" and the three extended pieces on disc one are appropriately glacial in pace and cool in tone, and yet still have a mysterious warmth to them that is Tietchens' calling card. Dämmersattacke means something along the lines of "spontaneous twilight state" and contains five pieces that are...well... as unfathomably "deep" as its title would have you believe. Both discs are beautifully unnerving and make for rewarding, if not exactly soothing, lights-out listening.
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