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Vidna Obmana & Asmus Tietchens



On the surface, the collaboration between Asmus Tietchens and Vidna Obmana may appear to be an unlikely one. Tietchens is a German electronic musician who has pursued "absolute music" through an almost mathematical process of rigid formal exercises. With strong ties to Karlheinz Stockhausen's early electronic work, Tietchens specializes in irregular patterns of sonic abstractions that are suspended in gray drones to create cold textural voids from external references. Vidna Obmana -- the Belgian synthesist whose real name is Dirk Sirries -- creates atmospheric moodscapes characterized by gradual shifts in tone color. Vidna Obmana's work retains a definite similarity to the evocative ambient impressions left by Brian Eno.

Despite these stylistic differences, the two have worked together on several occasions. In a somewhat semantic argument, Vidna Obmana and Tietchens claim that recycling -- rather than remixing or deconstructing -- isolates and emphasizes a piece's source material, which in turn is used to create an entirely new sound structure. At times, the recycling process may extract a single timbre that is used to construct the new work. At others, it may reconstitute the original piece's harmony and flow. In any case, respect for the original material is paramount. For the 1998 Motives for Recycling album, Vidna Obmana recycled two pieces from Asmus Tietchens into two CDs of gossamer ambient passages. "4th Theme" and "Second Night" (both recycled from Tietchens's 1980 Nachstücke album) warmly emit gently rolling organ chords over languid whirlpools of sound.