ASMUS TIETCHENS – Marches Funebres

Die Stadt

Persevering in the slow but inexorable reissue program of Asmus Tietchens’ older recordings, Die Stadt retrieves a personal favorite, originally released on the Swedish Multimood imprint in 1989. Marches Funebres might sound a little atypical in regard to the in-depth eviscerations of definite sonic components to which the German has grown his fans accustomed to. What is not missing is the inevitable consequence on the persons surrounding the listener as soon as the record is played via speakers (“Good heavens, this is anguishing”). Tietchens never looked for compromises, as the two tracks (plus a bonus third, an earlier version of “Grünschattiger Nachtmittag”) comprised by this new edition clearly remind. “Linea 5” is built on a small group of synthesized and processed notes which gradually become a chocking clutch that does not let go. No “light at the end of the tunnel” here: towards the piece’s conclusion, the rhythm generated by the infinite repeats of the digital delays gives the idea of someone trying to escape from a prison, unable to find the correct route to freedom. The “modern” incarnation of the aforementioned “Grünschattiger Nachtmittag” is defined by cheesy fake orchestral chords interspersed with simple percussive patterns, increasingly dramatic sequences scented with B-movie paradoxes. One must rewind back to an age in which sampling (and certain types of synthesis) were considered revolutionary techniques to understand why sounds that today appear preposterous still make sense. There’s no question that the drum rolls and cymbal crashes – not to mention the bogus strings – accompanying the progression of this piece will raise the eyebrows of those who hear them for the first time, yet 22 years ago they really appeared nifty. In a way, these could be regarded as funeral marches for an era – that of postindustrial music of the 80s – whose teachings have now completely disappeared. Once there was an organization behind the visions; today, all that remains is mountains of useless drones and clattering thuds bathed in 20-second hall reverberation. Fantasy? Creativity? Irony? What’s that, dad?

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