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Asmus Tietchens
Teils, teils (Swill Radio) LP

 Nobody makes experimental music that’s as peculiarly evocative as German electro-acoustic musician, Asmus Tietchens. Like mercury, his distinctive, finely wrought sounds have a metal-meets-liquid quality that is both warmly enveloping and brittle like ice. On this latest release, Tietchens again works his special alchemical magic using a basic group of ingredients: sine tones, white noise, and little, if anything, else. Released on Scott Foust’s Swill Radio imprint from Amherst, MA, this is Tietchens’ first vinyl release in quite some time (his quasi-lounge releases as Hematic Sunsets excepted), and the sound is crystal clear and pristine. The A-side features a single, twenty-minute Teilmenge (number 20 in the series for those keeping score), one of three on the record. It’s a roiling mass of rhythmic crackles and pops that percolate at the surface as a bevy of softer-edged tones swirl and undulate below. The three darkly atmospheric pieces on Side B are more staid and austere, but have a similarly fluid character. “Teilmenge 33,” for example, is a fascinatingly strange, sub-aquatic journey with sharp, high-pitched tones piercing through the murk like beacons. “Ein Weiteres Leben Geht Zu Ende” is perhaps the most methodically and uncannily atmospheric piece here. Its calm is only broken by the manic high-pitched scurrying that swims desperately against the tide in the final track, “Teilmenge 33a.” A fantastic example of Tietchens’ oddly emotive minimalism. -Susanna Bolle


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