AmbiEntrance: Why "recycling" instead of "remixing"?
Vidna Obmana: Asmus and I both feel that there's a huge difference between a remix and the recycling process. We learned to work with the recycling techniques during the recording of the first collaboration and soon realized that this is a particular and unique interaction between musicians in respect for
each other's input.
Remixing a piece means re-interpretating the ingredients, balance and flow
of an existing song or composition, recycling however takes a new recorded source or existing piece to extract specific essential elements, sounds or sections from. These excerpts are used to create, utilizing different kind of techniques, a totally new
structure of sound. Sometimes just one particular timbre is used from a source or piece to
create an entire new composition. Other times the existing flow and harmony of a piece is being blended and used as a recognizable pattern.
AmbiEntrance: How is this release different than the "Syrenia" disc? How is it the same?
Vidna Obmana: We've recorded our first collaboration in the early 90's and beside the idea of recycling being then a vague concept, the main difference between the recent "Motives for Recycling" release and our first collaboration is that the role of recycler was switched. On our first release Asmus
recycled my source material, I recorded especially for that project. And as we already
planned to turn the roles around for a 2nd work, we only initiated this
idea about four years later since the release of our first work was delayed for a long
Originally, "Linear Writings", the first disc of "Motives for Recycling", was
going to be a single disc which I based upon Asmus' "Linea" work. A work
which partially was previously released but most of the elements I used for this CD were
unreleased. I found the recycling technique so fascinating and since I wasn't working
with samplers, the change, process and in fact the entire recycling was
done with the older and familiar techniques from the reel-to-reel tape period.
Asmus responded with joy on this so that he granted me the right of working with his
essential "Nachtstück" recording from the late 70's. Since actually this previously released work is perhaps one of his most melodic and musical albums, I knew that a slightly
different approach was applied. Actually, this led to the idea of working around the theme of recycling as a double album, showing two sides of the technique being used extensively.
AmbiEntrance: What about the "vot" series which is apparently continued from "Syrenia"? (What does "vot" mean?)
Vidna Obmana: First of all, "vot" is actually just a reference of initials : vidna obmana - tietchens. Simple. Again here the first disc of "Motives for Recycling" is perhaps more similar to the original concept of the "Syrenia" release than on "Nachtstück Revisited" and also since most of the pieces were created with unreleased sources, we found it approriate to continue with indexing the pieces this way.
On the 2nd disc of "Motives for Recycling", I felt more related to the original pieces spiritually and definitely musically so I decided to use more clear references to the original titles as well.
AmbiEntrance: Did you treat the "Linear Writings" pieces differently than the "Nachtstück" tracks? How/Why?
Vidna Obmana: Perhaps I did since as I told you before I was starting most of the times with raw, highly minimal and unreleased sources. Distilling an essential harmony from a single noise, scratch or rumble was a time-consuming and complex work.
With "Nachtstück Revisited" I had an existing album to start from which initially made it look easier but somehow it put more weight on my shoulders in order to recycle each theme with great respect for the original. The recycling technique was maintained over the course of both discs but I feel that the approach became quite unique and essential for each disc seperately.
AmbiEntrance: How "recognizable" are the original recordings after you were done recycling them?
Vidna Obmana: Mostly everything became quite unrecognizable but now and then I tried to incorporate particular references to the original pieces. For instance, the opening and ending of the "Linear Writings" disc are
clear references to the main and previously released "Linea" piece, yet still slightly processed and altered in order to blend with the recycled material. On "Nachtstück Revisited" I also worked a couple of times with such references. Here it was relevant since the original "Nachtstück" is quite melodic and harmonic, in a way that I beautifully could use particular themes in a slightly transformed way as reference points throughout
the CD. And it gave flair to the new music as well.
Many thanks to Vidna Obmana for sharing his thoughts, and thanks in advance to readers for bearing with my clumsy attempts to convey the essence of these intriguingly indescribable tracks in the following review. All are beatless and free-flowing, tending toward a mysterious and murky beauty, not "typical" VO sounds, yet obviously touched by his hands.
Disc One (67:19) transforms (mostly unreleased) snippets of Tietchens' 1988 Linea [1+3] into Linear Writings, dated 1996; these tracks further expand on the vot series began with their Syrenia collaboration. Between the two Motives for Recycling CDs, Linear Writings features fewer, longer tracks (constructed from shorter, unreleased pieces).
An odd, twangy plucked-string sound leads into the disc, but this element eventually fades as the rest evolves. Like a continuous shimmer interwoven with gauzey strands and possibly a vocal chord, vot 4 (20:28) undulates enigmatically, hypnotizing the listener with its free-flowing soundwaves and subtle adornments. Silence evolves into vot 5 (10:25); a blurred convergence of muted musical notes, electronic ephemera and faintly sparkling static hum creates a pathless aural landscape for your ears to wander.
The softer, murkily tuned chaos of vot 4/2 seem to be infused with light which obliquely illuminates the gaseous surroundings, sometimes casting starker pitches through the sonic mist. A long fade-out abuts a long fade-in so it seems to be a brief intermission before vot 6, a sweltering orchestral cloud which is tinged with a steady sheet of light static, giving the whole track a very "weathery" atmosphere. After 12 (of 18) minutes, the track begins to fade, leaving behind a thin drone, sparsely accented with mutant glimmers, which eventually reprise the CDs plucky opening (and a clicky bug-like accompaniment).
Disc Two is Nachtstück Revisited, recycling entire tracks from Tietchens musical release of the late 1970's. In Opening (first Nachtstück), downwardly wafting string section sounds are slurred and overlapped, thinning at the track's end to a light haze. The similarly dense drones of Second Night are of a warmer nature, seeming to emit rolling organ chords from its center. The continual, resonant hums of 4th Theme seem to levitate in their own splendor, trailing away and disintegrating toward the piece's conclusion.
Swarm is yet another sweltering multilevel drone, a languid whirlpool of dreamy vapors. Not that any of these pieces are less than calm, but Miniature one (2:57) seems to be even more lulling, with phantasmic belltones calling into a hazy night. In a blaze is fired up by powerful surging swells and brassy undertones. The similarly shapeless majesty of Revisited grows from nothingness into ringing whorls of oblivion encircling a cyclonic eye, until all fades away slooowly.
The fogbank of Miniature two seems to contain loose strands of operatic voices deep within. From a prolonged silence emerges the billowing clouds of vot 7; sharper metallic strings seem to twine their way through, intermingling and looping continually. Further moody gusts gather to become Towering (12:24); a rolling and rising conglomeration of tones and textures which reaches subtle, heavenly realms before vanishing into the ether (then temporarily reappearing as a distantly wheezy pipe organ of a forgotten ghost carnival).