DAVID VAN TIEGHEM isn't exactly the most tuneful composer you'll ever hear, but then again, he's not trying to be. On "These Things Happen," an album collecting pieces composed for Twyla Tharp's "Fait Accompli," what matters most is the way his grab bag of sounds can be layered into roiling rhythm. Not just drums on drums, either; Van Tieghem's mini-orchestra employs saxophones, guitars and synthesizers as well as metal ashtrays, scrap metal, a wine bottle and a shortwave radio. Yet these noisemakers are used with such care and precision that you probably wouldn't even know they were there without checking the back of the album.
As perhaps the most fashionable percussionist in SoHo, Van Tieghem has performed with big name minimalists like Laurie Anderson, art-rockers like David Byrne and Brian Eno as well as cult favorites like the Love of Life Orchestra. Although bits of that background filter through "These Things Happen," Van Tieghem's organizational sense helps him come across as a wholly original composer, one whose understanding of how sound can be used melodically runs deep and true.
The Canadian multi-instrumentalist who goes by the name of >Nash the Slash has also done a lot of work with noise applied for effect, usually to add a sinister edge to more familiar pop material. On "American Band- ages," however, his dabblings in garage rock are both safe and predictable. Apart from a version of the Count Five's classic "Psychotic Reaction," which chillingly quotes from the rantings of John Hinckley (although the jacket carries the disclaimer that "all characters portrayed in this recording are fictitious"), there's very little here that hasn't already been done with greater panache.
DAVID VAN TIEGHEM -- "These Things Happen" (Warner Bros. 25105-1).
NASH THE SLASH -- "American Band-ages" (Quality SV 2132); both appearing Friday at 9 at the 9:30 Club.