Asmus Tietchens ‘Nachtstucke’
Bureau B, 2014 / 1980 (Germany)
One day during my junior year of college, my buddy Davis brought home a bunch of weirdo VHS tapes that were on sale at Woolworth’s for .99 each. One of those was the 1973 sci-fi classic “Fantastic Planet,” a French-Czech animated tale about a future race of humans dominated by giant creatures. It was insanely trippy. It also apparently won at Cannes.
“Nachtstücke" (nocturnes) is German avant-garde composer Asmus Tietchens’ first solo album, was recorded just a few years after “Fantastic Planet" (1973-78) though was originally released in 1980 for French label ECG.
"Nachtstücke" reminded me of the "Fantastic Planet" soundtrack, which is strange because I don't even remember it. But I'd probably be more accurate to say that with this record, Tietchens creates the soundtrack to a series of fantastic planets — strange and foreign universes.
Tietchens had been doing experimental music since the early 1960s and when Tangerine Dream’s Peter Baumann heard one of his recordings, he offered to produce. This was the result: A collection of synth pieces that sound as warm and peaceful as warped and sinister. Bent pitches and hypnotic circles and church organs and all sorts of weird and wonderful tones and textures.
This has been a marvelous introduction to a facet to that German scene I wasn’t at all familiar with. Bureau B's been getting some great stuff out there lately.
Fans of that Cluster and Eno era should obviously take note, as well as adventurous fans of Boards of Canada and other creepy pastoral ambient projects.