Review: Asmus Tietchens – Soirée

“Is it really necessary to create further new electronic music,” Tietchens queries, “if only one piece as a nucleus is sufficient to derive hundreds and hundreds of different distinct individual variants?” This is “recycling” – not “remixing” – and I imagine Tietchen’s insistence on this distinction stems from connotations of each. Remix implies an adjustment to the original (while retaining the original as the definitive), while recycling involves the resourcing of the original in the creation of something new: a completely separate, non-dependent entity. Presented here are eight pieces in their tenth stage of recycling, having been created, re-used and created afresh, over and over again.

Most of Soirée hovers quietly in the background like the small, ghostly molecules of the original tracks, swirling through the air as a thin layer of ambient dust. In contrast, loud clatters and feedback jolts rise out of the centre – explicit snippets of sounds that seem to have maintained their shape through the recycling process. The low volume results in a more intimate and observational listening experience – the sound feels non-immersive, at a distance, as though intended to be examined like a laboratory specimen, with the minute details of its molecular reconstruction placed under the microscope for the listener’s intense inspection.

But how did these tracks sound upon their initial conception? The originals aren’t included, and it strengthens Soirée’s concept tenfold. These aren’t to be thought of as mere offshoots of a previous work – they stand independently as pieces in their own right. It sneers at the original’s status as a sacred untouchable, while simultaneously glorifying the original as a rich source for plethoric musical possibilities. It’s also a neatly constructed acknowledgement of the fact that no artistic work is the exclusive and untainted translation of a singular idea: if creative perspective evolves and is tweaked instead of born afresh each time an artist moves from one work to the next, why shouldn’t sound itself reflect this by doing the same?