Asmus Tietchens - Linea + [Klanggalerie - 2018]Originally released on cassette in 1988 (and reissued on CDr in 1999), Asmus Tietchens' Linea has been once again reissued for a modern audience. This time, though, Klanggalerie has reached out to Asmus and obtained two extra, unused tracks from his original sessions. This new, special edition CD breathes new life into an old Musique Concrete release.
Stark and minimal, Linea + consists of four, long form tracks that have ample room to move, grow, and find their footing. This approach is a wonderful format and has worked well on many of Asmus Tietchens more recent works, however, with the minimal Musique Concrete of Linea +, the extra run times make the pieces feel never ending. While it may be unfair to judge the content of a thirty year old recording with one's modern tastes as the base, the original tracks on Linea definitely suffer from what feels like Ron Popeil Synthesis Syndrome, "set it and forget it." That's not to say that there isn't any variation to "Linea 1" and "Linea 3," but the additions to the synthesized skeletons are few, sparse, quiet, and fairly uninteresting, and would be so even in a five minute song, nevermind an eighteen minute one. The two tracks unearthed for this reissue, "Linea 12" and "Linea 13" are a bit more active, but are still based on long form repetition. These "new," active pieces add a bit of vibrancy to Linea +, but, like the two originals, the bloated format sabotages anything positive the tracks have going for them.
Asmus Tietchens has had a very long career in sound art and Musique Concrete. With his more recent work drawing more from the ambient side of minimalism, his 1988 work, Linea, feels primitive in comparison. While this may not be everyone's cup of tea, Klanggalerie has put out an excellent new version of this long OOP cassette, and added two extra tracks, so fans of this album or minimal synthesis should scope out this reissue.Paul Casey