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Asmus Tietchens
Z-Menge (Line) CD

 On Z-Menge, Hamburg’s electronic music elder statesman works with a familiar, simple set of ingredients: sinewaves, white noise, analog synthesizers. As with earlier installments in this long-running series, this sixth Mengen* release is spare and austere. Each of the four “Teilmenge” contained in Z-Menge is a near empty soundscape, as quiet, fluid hums are punctuated by both wriggling droplets and angular shards of metallic sound. A profound sense of stillness permeates throughout, but, as you focus in on the sounds (preferably listening at relatively high volume or on headphones), the level of movement and detail is utterly fascinating. “Teilmenge 42” in particular teems with microscopic detail and is my favorite “Teilmenge” to date. Surprisingly, there are even occasional elements of melody to be found within these superficially barren landscapes, such as the tidal, aquatic drift of “Teilmenge 37,” which recalls, ever so faintly, Tietchens’ abstract lounge project, Hematic Sunsets. Z-Menge is a lovely and enthralling example of the joy of sonic reduction.

*The term “menge” means quantity or set. “Teilmenge” means “subset.”

 

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