Oordeel by Asmus Tietchens & Frans de Waard

Asmus Tietchens & Frans de Waard | Oordeel
Aufabwegen (CD/DL)

The pairing of two important figures in the world of experimental sound doesn’t come any more interesting than these two prolific gentlemen meeting in collaboration. From the very first note herein the listener is hooked by the pared down minimalistic approach to electronic music at its most fulsome. The ghosts in the old machines they are toying with are lost souls between the cracks in this eleven track masterpiece.

There are many a blurred line and whisper here – and no excess whatsoever. Of de Waard’s work this likely resembles some of his earliest Beequeen efforts (Time Waits for No One from 1994 comes to mind) blended with the quirky, slightly jolting punctuation we’ve grown accustomed to by many every third release of Tietchens’ works since the early 00’s or so. Track three (or III) seems to be the odd one out here. This is pure aural cinema – and quite an amalgamation of both of these artists’ at their most ardently reserved. But it comes off incredibly modern, and slightly playful.

The title comes from the Dutch meaning “judgement” which seems awkwardly ominous, but it finds the two testifying, if you will, to their rightful legacies as composers, performers and overall, true artists. There are moments here where we are submerged within an echo-y cavern, as well as engaging sonic synthesis that veers into the sublime — though there is a constant disembarking into the subconscious that feels like the fleeting senses of that rise from ones extremities under a hallucinatory state of mind. If you’ve heard the sounds of cetaceans communicating, they have captured a similar tonal vibration, which only adds to the mysterious conceptual core of Oordeel.

We are leagues below, and tiny transmissions attempt to reach the surface, alongside are pulsations like bubbles, and squiggly effects that are as amusing as they are abstract. The record is oddly lingual (without words of course) and articulates with buoyancy and grace – leaving much in the shadows to contemplate. As a whole this has the bracing effect of a chilling Winter day, yet leaves some glacial melt in the form of something a little more industrial that neither guides nor steers off track (VII). Their gestures are limited amid the soft ambient drone on the primitive VIII which seems to be partly a call and response.

In the final stretch they add the flickering of a propeller-like oscillation to a faint crackling of microsound. This is where they get most inventive as a pair – leaving the pregnant background silence to aid and abet the most meticulous of gestural inflection (IX). The previous radio interference style bodes well for the otherwise nominal fluctuations leading to the almost beat-like switch-flicker of X. But before you know it this too is reduced to slo-mo observation and curious tinkering. In the end they leave us with finite and muted gesticulations that could be wild birds, or sneakers hitting a basketball court. The rubbery chirps are like the quick strokes of an expressionist painter committing the final touches before offering his/her work for public consumption. Opinions are not facts, they are yours.

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