2003 DS65 Created and composed by John Duncan.
Voice sources provided by Asmus Tietchens.
Processed and mixed at Scrutto by John Duncan.
Mastered at Scrutto by John Duncan.
Photo © Asmus Tietchens.
CD released by Die Stadt
Asmus Tietchens proposed that he and I work together years ago — many years ago. For a variety of reasons it didn’t happen, and at this point I don’t remember any of them. Finally we agreed to start: I asked him to send a recording of his voice and said I’d work with it, send him the result and continue from there — figuring that he would add to my gestures, then I’d add to his, etc., until we were both satisfied. Asmus sent recordings of him reading two excerpts from texts by E. M. Cioran. Asmus had already processed his voice on both tracks.
After eighteen more months I finally started working on them, and a couple of weeks afterward sent him the results. Asmus liked what he heard, said he felt it was already finished — and since he hadn’t participated directly in the composing process, he couldn’t accept credit for involvement in it. We still disagree on this, but it’s useless to insist that someone accept what he doesn’t feel he’s earned. So although I remain convinced that Asmus deserves to be acknowledged as an equal, we’ve agreed that this project would be credited to me alone.
The next step was to ask Asmus to translate his texts to English. He felt unqualified to do this, and instead sent them typed in German with references to titles. English translations were easy to find, and now that the meaning of the excerpts is clarified for both of us I have to say that we disagree on this, too. Cioran’s profound insights into the past and current collective human character, for many years a repeated source of inspiration to Asmus, are well worth becoming familiar with and I’m grateful to him for pointing them out. Cioran’s fatalistic insistence on accepting futility as an inevitable part of human endeavors seems accurate — up to a point. At the same time it fails to account for a growing number of my own experiences, and I think renders his work incomplete as a definitive summation of our existence.
The friction between Asmus’ and my perspectives, the complete absence of any hostility between us, our acceptance of each other’s differences and the depth of our mutual respect, have all been key elements in the process of making this audio work. Whether or not any of this has anything to do with the sound itself is left for you to decide.
— John Duncan