Janek Schaefer

edited March 2015 in Electronic
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    "Londoner Janek Schaefer began deconstructing music at the tender age of six, when he assembled a sound collage called "Journey." After studying architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University, he continued his sound art experiments with a piece called "Recorded Delivery," which premiered at a London exhibition organized by Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson. The piece consisted of edited sounds culled from a tape recording made by a voice-activated device that traveled in a box through the British postal system. Eventually, a 7" single of "Recorded Delivery" was released. A spate of live gigs and installation pieces followed in the late '90s, concurrent with several cassette releases.

    During this period, Schafer continued to design and build his own unique tools for music making, including a three-armed "tri-phonic" turntable and several highly specialized vinyl mastering techniques. Schafer also has a strong interest in field recordings as a compositional tool. His interests converged on his fantastic album debut Above Buildings, which was released on Fat Cat in 2000. With its harsh and beautiful sonics, the record put Schafer on the level of abstract music makers like Fennesz and Oval."

    - Allmusic

    Asleep at the Wheel - Glovebox Mixtape

    Asleep at the Wheel - Ghost Road Soundtrack
    "I was invited to make an installation on the theme of 'cars' in the city of roundabouts. Through thinking around and beyond this theme, I learned a lot about the implications of the way we live, and how our ravenous culture is feasting on our own planet. Pumping ourselves to a peak. I created a 'ghost road' of cars within a vacant supermarket as an informative portrait of that mind set, and how we can change it. The exhibition reveals how I became enlightened towards making a difference personally, and also waking up those around me to move to a more sustainable way of living and thinking. I am not perfect, but I am now awake.

    Asleep at the wheel… is a metaphor for how we are culturally careering down the fast lane of life in charge of a lethal weapon with our head in a daydream and our foot to the floor with the expectation that the road goes on forever.

    The exhibition is a thought provoking and immersive sound installation for multiple car radios, that contemplates our future. Exhibited in a vast disused supermarket, three-lanes of cars dissect the darkened interior, as the multiple hazard lights illuminate the space, revealing the finite road of our consumer driven daydream. 'More more more' is no longer a desirable destination.

    You are invited to be a passenger in the back seats, as the in-car sound systems broadcast a collage of moving music and motivating sound-bites. On the return journey the Lay-by Library area encourages you to explore positive ways to improve our future together. Society's pedal to the metal attitude to our world is not sustainable and is running out of road. We need to change gear, before we overtake ourselves . . . our windows of opportunity are slowly winding shut. Come and celebrate new beginnings".

    - Janek Schaefer.
    - Both is free and available from his website - (in one 355 mb zipfile) .


  • edited March 2015
    1. This has been posted before @ the free stuff thread:

      Janek Schaefer - 'Unfolding'
      Soundtrack for Future Beauty :
      30 Years of Japanese Fashion
      Barbican Art Gallery, London, Oct 2010 > Feb 2011

      "Unfolding was inspired by the ephemeral unfurling fabric of fashion,
      viewed through the vertical veils of the Future Beauty exhibition design.

      The composition is made from 4 x 44 minute shifting loops spread out across four pairs
      of speakers in the space, subtley shifting the sound textures and tones all around the different
      levels and zones of the show. It forms an underscore for the work on display, weaving
      them together, and suspending them in a sense of unfolding wonder!"
  • edited March 2015
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      - "Lonely spinning giants from the experimental scene (tm): German Stephan Mathieu and English Janek Schaefer share their common interest of devouring a manicured history of pasty white memories and a soup of gossamer sounds, on ‘Hidden Names’.

      Recorded during the winter of 2005 in a Victorian void in the South of England (Manor Farm House located in Child Okeford), the two locked horns and kicked around the empty house. Amongst sun yellowed picture frames, scent heavy doors, rose coloured walls they made field recordings and used old records found in the attic of the house. They took a week to make this collection of heavenly orchestrated noise, of crackling hidden melodies which tease out of the cloth of the speakers like Lazarus resurrected.

      Nostalgia bleeds and feeds in these 11 pieces.

      ‘White Wings’ is a whirl of topes that cut off the world, making it a disastrous thing to stop listening, just in case that these wires might send the heart a message of WHY. The Victorian void of enlightenment is cascaded further on ‘Comos’. This is a sound piece that creates a vision of a fleshly aviation menagerie, a bird version of Waco. Clashing pigeons, cooing sweeps, set against crows cawing, and roosters calling for an end to all mankind with its misunderstanding of bird flu and the cull that ensued. The birds here are Hitchcockian and non fading.

      ‘Quartet for Flute, Piano and Cello’ is a love song for the most unrequited moments in a lost room. Its see through fingers glide over ancient vinyl recordings, attic dust, and an automatic invisible turntable. It cements the territory that was pinned out previously as it confidently strides under black umbrellas instead of the silent tip toeing giggled at before. Amazing.

      ‘Maori Love Song’ is a jazz funeral for Mary Shelly trapped in a cryogenic cell as Walt Disney tries to romance her with puppet strings.

      We are left squinting at the last track ‘The Planets’. This camouflages a sunrise under the atmospheres of individual working methodologies, and looks back at a time gone by when the sun on Albion was pure, the breeze contained no fear and men like Xavier De Maistre journeyed around their room; internal explorer becomes external tourist.

      Clearly this is a device of time travel disguised as a CD."

      - Sonic Arts Network..
  • edited March 2015
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      SPEKK - 2011

      A foundsound radio play.
      Live composition for portable radios, FM transmitter, 4 corner speakers, found sound textures, & Shruti drone box.

      "Sound is all around us. An ethereal tapestry of invisible radio waves and sound pressure waves fills our world.
      Live in concert, Phoenix and Phaedra plays with our sense of place and scale, by using a surround sound
      speaker system in combination with a short range FM transmitter which broadcasts to a collection of hand
      held radios located within the audience. The concert is performed from the back of the space, out of sight,
      thus removing the spectacle of the performer, and leaving an empty stage for a pure sonic-cinema experience.
      The composition weaves together foundsound textures, spatial sonorities, and the Shruti Box, an Indian
      drone instrument, which plays a central role in the work, with it's lulling and engulfing energies.
      I wrote the work to celebrate the arrival of my new born son Phoenix, and is dedicated to him"
      - Janek Schaefer.

      - ETA: Emusic..
  • edited March 2015
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      "Double Exposure is a studio album, written over six years [2005-2011] in Janek’s career as a composer, sound artist, and musician. Each of the twelve tracks is a response to an invitation to write a piece of music for a compilation CD or installation etc. This then is the second time for them to have been exposed,but collected as a coherent series of album tracks. The source sounds are produced using location recordings and manipulated vinyl, which are simply processed through my collection of foot Loop/Reverb/Pitch/Eq pedals & mixing desk, and then assembled on screen. Anamnesis refers to the ability of sound to trigger mental images in our minds eye. Each new series of images will be specific to each of us - and they are all uniquely generated and framed by these evocative compositions. Where there is a strong story or concept there are further links.
      The album is a one hour and forty-three minute long audiofile album available as a download through selected online distributors."
      - Crónica 2011..
  • edited November 2011
    @Brighternow - every time I think I know what I'm going to spend my credit on you post something interesting and my plans start changing!! Have you listened to this one yet? I loved Pheonix and Phaedra so am quite tempted by this.
  • edited November 2011
    @Germanprof - No not yet, . . . I saw it and posted it. I'm short of credits but I'm sure it's a must have even though I detected 4 tracks that I already have (track 7 and 9 . . . I can´t remember the last 2)

    ETA: - Oh yes, and track 12 is a single @ emusic
  • OK, I'll report back if I get to it first.
  • edited March 2015
    1. - Spending some time with the back catalogue:

      Released by Phillippe Petit's BiB HOb Label in 2006:
      1 hour composition 'Migration' for the site-specific dance called
      'Migrations' - choreographed by Noemie Lafrance, New York, May 4th 2005

      "My sounds and images interpret this theme loosely by using source sounds from the migration patterns and
      movement of nature and its sounds 'above us'. Looking up! I was inspired by my new less urban surroundings
      here at home to create a piece using the new sounds and images I have been enjoying around me - collecting
      powerful and delicate recordings of: wind in winter branches, flocks of flying parakeets and our feathered
      friends on ledges/in trees, flying embers of a spring bonfire at dusk. On holiday in Lourdes I walked into the
      main pilgrimage church to find them tuning the upper register of the organ - the sounds swirling above me,
      so that was an uplifting moment! Also included is a recording of the dawn breaking in the Amazon as a our
      host family woke up and turned on the radio. The signal grew stronger and stronger as the sun rose.

      Lots of other sounds arrive along with other musical floating tones etc.... as ever I try and balance the source
      material with an element of audio mystery so that it's not to obvious and not over manipulated.

      The first half of the journey unwinds slowly and calmly, drifting through night trees and ethereal spaces
      as radio waves bounce off the stratosphere at first light in the heart of the Amazon. During the second half,
      sparkling sequences glitter in the rising sun and sounds circle overhead. Dense organ drones from Lourdes
      cathedral land as embers fly into the sky revealing hovering melodies. The tension unfolds slowly as we depart
      into the blinding white light of day with an ecstatic sequence of fierce beauty."
      - Janek Schaefer.
      - - - the Organ in Lourdes featured in the composition - - -

      "Janel Schaefer has a unique gift for seeing process in spatial terms: he's a student of
      architecture who once mailed a sound activated dictaphone to himself so it would catch all
      the noises made in transit through the postal system. The traversing of distance itself
      becomes a vital element in the composition. Not surprising , then , to discover that the four
      parts that make up Migration, originally created as a soundtrack piece by Noemie Lafrance,
      are given titles that relate only to their destinations.
      The longest and most ambitious is "To Nairobi To Manaus To Walton!, a subtle and
      delicately worked intertwining of field recordings and effects lasting more than 28 minutes.
      As befits such a one-way journey, the piece creates drama out of expectation, its most
      remarkable moment coming somewhere near the middle, where Schaefer includes a
      recording of dawn breaking on the Amazon; when a radio is switched on the signal grows
      stronger as the light increases. Both "To Oval To Cologne" and "To Lourdes To Madrid"
      transform the extended swelling of sustained organ notes into a grand swirling of tones; the
      former into dry clusters of static swept from the left channel to the rigth, and the latter into
      gentle gamelan loops. "To New York To Eugenie To Perth" build into a deirious
      cacophony , only to fade out softly on the subdued trilling of distant birds, which seems an
      entirely appropriate conclusion to a work patterned upon notions of instinctive flight. One
      of Schaefer's best works to date."
      - Ken Hollings - The WIRE # 265 / UK / March 2006.
  • I have been collecting his music slowly over the past few years. At first I thought Janek was very good, but I have slowly become enamored of his varied works. All of his works are of such high consistent quality. The differences in these works seem to all cohere in a feel or tone he creates that is open, spacious, relaxed and very interesting compositions that always seem to produce a calmness for me. His music makes you feel good content and allows you to think. You get an ambient new age effect flowing from Janek's music.

    Double Exposure is the album I have developed a great fondness for. Some days i put it on shuffle and just allow to quietly repeat in the background for me all day. Then comes the song City of Dreams and I finally stop and allow that music to just absorb me.
  • @ejazz, I agree, Double Exposure is a strong one.
    Is my memory failing me or is a welcome to the board in order? If so, welcome!
  • I've been a member here over a year

    Mar 18th 2012


    btw how does one of their delete one of their messages or message boxes here if they make a mistake here?
  • Ah, OK, come to think of it I did notice the older join date but did not remember other posts. To delete a comment I and I think others generally just go into edit and change the comment to "oops" or "deleted" or some such.
  • edited March 2015
    1. Released in 2000 and added to Emusic in february, released by Fat Cat Records Splinter Series:
      - "Having made his debut outing on FatCat at the end of 1998 (a Split Series 12" alongside Pan American), producer / turntablist Janek Schaefer has since gone on to release material on Diskono, K-RAA-K3 and Stock, Hausen & Walkman's Hot Air label. Having established a strong live reputation, other projects for Schaefer include collaborations with Robert Hampson (a CD under the monicker ‘Comae’ will appear soon on Mego-offshoot Rhiz), turntablists Phillip Jeck, Martin Tétreault. Whilst a full-length live CD was released on the Belgian K-RAA-K label, this release marks Schaefer's first studio release, and possibly his strongest work to date. Full of shimmering textures and sublime soundscaping, 'Above Buildings' is essentially an album produced through studio manipulations of field recordings and vinyl manipulations built up through live processing. The sound palette was sourced in England, France, Canada and the USA, and marks a move away from Janek's previous emphasis on his Tri-phonic Turntable."
  • edited March 2015
    1. It's a great pleasure to add yet another chapter to this constant source of truely amazing music.

      - "This is the first album for 12k from renowned UK sound artist Janek Schaefer. He has been active in the music and art worlds for the past 20 years recording and creating sound installations for an impressive list of labels and institutions. In 2008 Schaefer won the British Composer of the Year award in Sonic Art, and the Paul Hamlyn Award, for his project Extended Play [triptych for the child survivors of war and conflict]. He is a Visiting Professor & Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, in the Sonic Art Research Unit, and is represented by the Agency gallery, London.

      In 2010 Janek produced his largest and most ambitious installation Asleep at the wheel... which explored how our society is hurtling down the fast lane of life with our head in the clouds, and our foot to the floor thinking the road ahead goes on forever. Incorporating spoken word soundbites from a variety of forward thinking people, it enlightened and challenged the audience into waking up, with very positive reactions from all the generations that attended.

      In contrast to this, Lay-by Lullaby is a companion album that invites you to take a break, pull over, and daydream as life speeds on by. The motorway signs above read - Tiredness can kill...

      The composition is his calmest yet, and is based around location recordings made in the middle of the night above the M3 motorway, right at the end of the road where JG Ballard lived, a couple of miles from Schaefer’s studio on the far west edge of London. Ballard wrote his seminal works on car culture, as the motorway was being built past the front of his house in 1973; Crash (1973), Concrete Island (1974).

      The 73 minute album weaves these location recordings around a series of spacious sonorities, that shimmer with analogue textures and liminal melodies that burnout in the passing headlights. The speeding traffic dopplertrails reveal fleeting passages of soporific sounds that entice you to recline, drift and fade away. An album to enjoy with your eyes closed, on repeat play until the dawn rush hour returns... "

      12k 2014

      - ‘Lay-by Lullaby’ was created in 2013 as a sculptural installation for Schaefer’s solo London show ’Collecting Connections’ at the Agency gallery. A pair of reclining traffic speaker cones play back the foundsoundscape from a car radio installed in a little leather travel case on infinite loop.
      Soundcloud 1 - Soundcloud 2
      Brainwashed review.
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