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Asmus Tietchens and Thomas Köner exercise a collective marketing genius with their decision to end a fruitful collaborative series in brute, anticlimactic style, issuing this limited, (naturally) expensive box meant to house the duo's previous four discs. Such closure is especially disappointing as it arrives just behind last year's n, Kontakt der Jünglinge's most dense and engrossing work to date, a haunting deepspace symphony of icy gleam and relentless sprawl, one of my late-year favorites. For that disc the artists' very individual sensibilities seemed to work side-by-side with a precision both beautiful and terrible, for the potent, near-epic quality of the dislocation induced by the music. The fusion of n marked considerable progression from the past three discs which, while certainly worthwhile, never quite rose above their realities, essentially gallery-space improvs with pieces forming around an elaborate cut-and-paste of Köner's expansive drones, dark field captures, and Tietchens' industrial ambiance. Recorded live in Amsterdam in 2002, n left me with the hope that I need not shell out for another of Köner's indigestible double-disc drone opuses, or feel pressured into Die Stadt's 18-strong Tietchens reissue campaign, the hope that I might be duly satisfied by the next Kontakt der Jünglinge disc, sure to be even better than the last. This hope is no more. If, in the very least, Frühruin is an attempt to make up for the ascetic packaging of the first four discs, it fails. Offering little more than stiffer, glossier cardboard and different dimensions, the box mirrors the information-less design of it intended contents, without a photo, a trace of supplemental artwork, or any kind of text statement from the typically silent musicians. The enclosed 3" disc likewise does little to justify such a costly shelving unit. Lacking any of n's new grandeur, the 15-min., two-track disc is a useless, uneventful, and embarrassingly short document that struggles to rival the weaker moments of the duo's weaker releases. For completists looking to consolidate the flimsy slipcases of the first four discs Frühruin might be an inevitability, but it is still a shock that not even a full-length disc could have been included, especially given the prolific nature of both artists. If somehow I am wrong in assuming that this box marks the end of Köner's and Tietchens' collaboration, then it becomes an even more meaningless gesture.