Asmus Tietchens | Linea+
Originally released on tape in 1988 (Korm Plastics, who also re-released the same material on CDr in 1999), this gem resurfaces for it’s expanded thirtieth anniversary edition on the Austrian Klanggalerie imprint with thirty-five additional minutes culled from the original sessions. The full reissue of the incredible recording from German composer Asmus Tietchens now runs for an impressive seventy-five minutes, and it is completely remastered.
I still have the previous release, so it’s going to be exciting to revisit this, one of my favorites by Mr. Tietchens who I had the pleasure of working with for my installation work back in the early 00’s. In the same year I also had the pleasure of seeing him perform live in Montreal alongside Thomas Köner, which was just phenomenal. I’ll dive into the record after the sonic jump where, if you happen to be unfamiliar with the work of the artist, here’s a taster:
Linea+ represents some of the composer’s most minimal works. The opener, Linea 1, offers a taut repetitive beat/rhythm that slightly blurs and bounces over time. It’s a circular, hypnotic rhythm that is drawn into a bit of an oblong shape as it crosses from the left to the right channel ever so slightly. Musique Concrete at its finest, Tietchens takes sweet time to add minor electronic effects which throw the steady beat off some, making the listener pay closer attention to the conversation between the up and down layers. The twenty minute track definitely speaks of geometries, and perhaps as extended to architecture as depicted on the Bauhaus-inspired silo coverart.
Linea 3 is a bit more of an acoustic frolic of sorts. Playing with strings and minimal percussion he develops a pleasant yet awkward rhythm where the perspective appears like a broken down, stripped bare tinny folk song with a cheshire smile. All the while a reserved synth rises in time, quietly tying the parts together. This is the sound of patience, observing the way a looped sound can bow and disband over the time allotted, but keeping pace or not, continuing onward.
As for the new material Tietchens brings Linea 12 and Linea 13 which at first are an air-filled dream cycle. The former is just slightly darker than the other work here, it’s tone remains wide in its echoes. Linea 12 oscillates as if it’s being mirrored towards infinity, disappearing notes drifting off into the void. The whole composition has a curvature that seems to contain the bright chords, even when its most voluminous. In the end the layers resist, and trip awkwardly with half-notes becoming even more distorted and dizzying – eventually becoming a single layer of synth flashes with a subtle organ drone.
Linea 13 begins like a fanciful animation, similar to a childlike video game. The incredibly bouncy pace speeds up quite quickly fueled by open, bright tones. If a synthesizer and a vibraphone were fused into one, you may get the idea of the sound he’s developed. And within this pong-like universe the dual layers build so as they are just slightly offset creating a scintillating effect. It’s a breathtaking piece that could easily be a film score for a hallucinogenic scene at a wild carnival.
The original release was a diamond in the rough, and this reissue has expanded its karat size two-fold and given this excavated classic the full restoration it deserves. Now Linea+ can be re-presented to new audiences looking for a futuristic sound that was way before its time, here reserving its due timeless-ness. Listen to Linea 1 + 12 here.