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Concert Report: Asmus Tietchens

img  Tobias

„Oh, am I sitting in your field of vision?“
„No, it’s okay – I’m sure we’re going to see nothing special tonight!“
Indeed, there was nothing special to see this Monday evening. But then again, what was about to be provided in the approx. 45 minutes wasn’t geared for the visual senses anyway: Asmus Tietchens – just returned from two concerts in Switzerland – put in a short Rhein-stop on his way home to present some new achievements of his sound-lab. 

Who has been at a concert in the Kulturbunker before, must surely have been surprised about not taking the second stairs leading to the big hall. This time the entire event took place in the intimate framwork of a smaller location: the gallery. A perfect decision for this evening!

After organiser Till Kniola brought his DJ set with which he guided the audience through a blooming electronic garden to an end, Tietchens stubbed out his cigarette and took a seat behind his workbench: CD-Player, DAT-recorder, mixer. The laptop had to stay at home this time because (as Tietchens explained) in the near past it sometimes shut down completely so that the audience had to go home – and  Tietchens with them.

So Asmus decided to use more „clumsy“ but in the end even more „reliable“ tools. Furthermore he made some explanatory comments about the basic material he’d use for the imminent concert: it was exclusive new material – filtered white noise, sine waves and concrete acoustic material. And after some years the well known water sounds Tietchens used on several recordings came into play again. The self-appointed aim for this evening was to unite all these imported sound-sources to a unified whole, while removong the original sound of the acoustic source material as far as possible.

This all could sound very academical and maybe a little bit boring to someone who never dove into the coppice of Tietchens‘ body of work. White noise? Sine waves? Some other acoustic noises? Well...but the following 45-minutes long set was anything but mouldy or a mere intellectual accumulation of filter-excesses without any dramaturgy and only interesting for sound studio nerds. No, Tietchens wove a capillary meshwork out of the components which were at his disposal. The laminary and smooth white noise layers afforded the soundscape in which all other more concrete noises could develop a life on their own. The sea of sound started with a heavy surf, abated and oozed away into the digital watt from time to time.
The recurrent water gurgling which was of course heavily deformed in the usual Tietchens-way ripped deep holes in the meshwork which were immediately filled and darned by the nebulous layers of white noise and sine waves. Sometimes a certain picture of a giant seamonster emerged which (only god knows why) had to work its hard way through a small spout. It groaned, it chortled, it scraped – and suddenly: harmonies found their way into the construction. Harmonies that could also have been part of the Brian Eno Ambient-records. But...they only lasted for a few seconds.

So...there was nothing for the eyes to catch. Tietchens confined himseld to stare at his mixer. But those expecting someting special visual at these concerts would surely ask a candy man for candies.
Nothing for the eyes but a lot of chow for the hungry ears by chef Tietchens.

By Mirko Uhlig

Homepage: Kulturbunker Mühlheim
Homepage: Asmus Tietchens

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