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Asmus Tietchens - Grav CD (album) cover

GRAV

Asmus Tietchens

 

Progressive Electronic

3.00 | 1 ratings

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Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Despite the amatuerish sleeve by the wife of Mr PGR, this is a good solid 'Musique Concrete' recording that is surprisingly easy on the ears despite the malevolence and utter lack of tune. And when I say tune - I mean there's not one single joined up musical chord for the first 40 minutes.

'Grav' is certainly not the Holy Grail for any Prog Archive enthusiast. In fact I'm quite certain that most listeners would start punching inanimate objects in torment whilst listening to this torture noise from the depths of hell. It would, however, make a very effective interrogation weapon if you require information from a captured suspected terrorist.

The good thing is that it's quite restrained where all three artists have combined in such a way as to not overpower one another. PGR contribute tapes and electronics. Merzbow - the noise king is on metal percussion and bowed metal and Asmus Titchens fidgets away merrily with his atonal electro-acoustic noises.

"Grav" was recorded on and off over a period of four years from '87 to '91 with tapes sent between Hamburg, Tokyo and San Francisco for each artist to contribute to. It actually punches all the right buttons with me. It sounds as though it was recorded in a very large dark cave with all noises bouncing and deflecting from wall to ceiling to ground. Perhaps it's the calming effect of Kim Cascone of PGR that makes all the difference here, because Asmus Tietchens and Merzbow are notoriously difficult to listen to before you start foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog.

Merzbow grabs the limelight on 'Three Hemispheres, with screeching metal on metal abrasive scrapes that are squeezed through various filters and effects. This is 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' territory. Murder music.

Gradually Tietchens and PGR claw back some ground as odd metallic keyboards and violent watery squirts ricochet from ear to ear, before multiple layers of acoustic bowed metal gradually create a cacophony that can only be compared to the destruction of a submarine at the bottom of the Mariana trench.

The good news is that PGR take control on 'Hymns from the Furnace'. With a far more quiet yet sinister approach, he heaps layer upon layer of ultra strange droning keyboard sounds on top of each other. This tune gets quieter and more ambient as it progresses as indecipherable whispering voices pitter patter in a very threatening manner. "Grav" slowly peters out with a sound akin to the interior of a gas boiler with whirling helium-like tones circling and gyrating to its termination.

An intense, yet accessible soundtrack from Hades

Dobermensch | 3/5 |

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