Asmus Tietchens

Small American record label Crouton present FT+, comprising 9 sonic miniatures by artists like Jon Mueller and C. Rosenau, carefully de-constructed and re-joined by German experimental musician Asmus Tietchens.

"FT+", that sounds like your average marketing buzz word, meaning: "The new and improved FT: FT plus". Possibly the pun was intended when Crouton were looking for an album title, but what does FT actually stand for? Well, this must be the abbreviation for "Folk Tales". In the years 2001 and 2002 Crouton have released a series of 3-inch CDs called "Folktales", featuring works by the following artists: C. Rosenau, Hal Rammel, John Kannenberg, Jon Mueller, Bhob Rainey, Achim Wollscheid, Kevin Shea, Adam Sonderberg and Dan Warburton. The idea behind the series was to present these musicians in a new way by having them do solo performances rather than ensemble work. This way each of the participating artists had the chance to create a highly individual statement while still being part of the concept as a whole.

As for Asmus Tietchens, well, he is a class of his own really. He is such an outstanding individual that the best way to describe his oeuvre is to point out a few ideas behind his artistic concept. Firstly, he enjoys listening to all kinds of interesting music, but never attempts to follow something he likes. So, while he has been fascinated by challenging bands like Cluster and Faust in the late 1960ies, he was never keen to copy their music. Secondly, he has collaborated with dozens of artists like Terry Burrows, Achim Wollscheid or Merzbow. Thirdly, he does not care for musical genres. His first records (from 1980 to 1983) were quite accessible, but he soon concentrated on abstract noise and experimental music beyond conventional structures. Asmus has described his music as having an aesthetic value sans any other definable quality: Absolute Music.

I have not heard the original recordings from Crouton's Folktales series, hence I cannot really judge what Asmus has done to the material. However, it's fair to say that FT+ is completely unsuitable for listeners who expect anything remotely close to recognizable song structures, melodies and the like - unless those listeners have a very open mind, of course. The pieces on FT+ are highly abstract and minimal and shimmer through the omnipresent silence like tiny gems that have dropped out of their original setting. Truly exceptional.

(rh 11/MMIII)

Label: Crouton Music

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FT+, the new and improved Folk Tales