Asmus Tietchens, one of the most lucid researchers around. And also a difficult proposition, when it comes to rendering in words – without transcending to commonplace – the fruits of an output that over several decades has never, ever failed to stimulate.
Ornamente caused additional rumination on the inevitability of corporeal decay, at the same time eliciting a sort of instantaneous illumination concerning the ability of overcoming sufferance in different ways through the use of sound. At any rate, Tietchens does not offer actual solutions. He just presents juxtapositions of altered elements to an audience, masterfully exploiting the merging of stretched harmonic halos and incisive frequencies with the listener’s internal receptors. As always, we’re not given clues as far as the sources are concerned. But the man has been known to turn the voice of water into a myriad of glimmering reverberations; that’s all you need to know. In the final “Ornament 5” the German composer’s trademark scepticism appears momentarily jeopardized by an anomalously “celestial” soundscape, as one can almost see singing spirits underlying the constant shifting of light and shadow. After such a closure, I had to go back and listen again to the other sections in order to recapture the sensation of imminent brutality – predicted by a sinister tranquillity – defining some of them, in particular the second and fourth.
By stripping everything of the non-essential, Tietchens produces an advanced type of reductionism where silence is the end, not the means to achieve it. A big difference, compared to the overweight silhouettes of innumerable fake zen masters. This music modernizes the theories about human unfulfillment, in the meantime improving our deluded category via spellbinding sonic radiations.