Organum: Omega
Die Stadt

Asmus Tietchens + Richard Chartier: Fabrication
Die Stadt

To put it mildly, a modicum of information accompanies the final installment in the Organum trilogy so titles and the musical content will have to suffice. Obviously the series' “religious” tone was conveyed by the first two parts' titles Sanctus and Amen while the third's Omega (sub-title: While the Stars Be Not Darkened) intimates that it will be an “epic” final chapter (“Omega” is the twenty-fourth and last letter of the Greek alphabet, and literally means “great O” as “mega” means “great”). The formality of Omega's structural design is reinforced by the identical fifteen-minute duration of each of its three droning sections: a stately and slightly psychedelic ambiance pervades “Omega 1,” as repeating swirls of sitar-like curlicues drift alongside heavy church organ chords, and “Omega 2” and ‘Omega 3” essentially repeat the opening part with incremental alterations in intensity (which may possibly be merely imagined)—the organ rising more dominantly at the nine-minute mark in each case, and an overall more crushing attack.

Listeners familiar with the previous work of Richard Chartier and Asmus Tietchens will already know what to expect from what is, in fact, their first collaboration: long-form sound sculpting of near-subliminal ambient design. The title piece unfurls glacially over disc one's entire fifty-one minutes, with the subtle ebb and flow of softly glistening tones acting as a foundation in the first quarter. Subsequently, time slows, the volume level recedes further, and distant winds blow, before the slow-motion chatter of micro-organisms enters the playing field thirty-four minutes in. That episode eventually dies out, leaving a faint industrial hum to uncoil in its wake for the duration.

Disc two's Prefabrication (included as a bonus disc in the first 500 copies) presents all of the material Tietchens created using material included on Chartier's 1998 release Postfabricated. It's a more considerably different collection compared to Fabrication, not simply in terms of structure (i.e., eleven parts as opposed to a single long-form piece) but in its approach to dynamics, mood, and activity level. Prefabrication is the more robust, extroverted, and percussive of the two discs, with its individual parts exhibiting contrasts of character. Not surprisingly, there's micro-organism chatter, whispering tones, typewriter-like clicks, and skittish electronic tinkles aplenty, but there's also a refreshingly playful chanting rhythm in “Pre-Fabrication 6”; plus, in the disc's most surprising departure, “Pre-Fabrication 9” presents loud organ gleam and meandering flourishes that at times sound rather deranged—not the kind of thing one expects to hear emerge on a recording of this kind.

July 2008