Listed: Janek Schaefer + Blevin Blectum
When he's not busy mining locked grooves and field recordings for glorious electro-acoustic sounds and textures, British sound artist and musician Janek Schaefer busies himself in a myriad of other ways. He heads up the promising AudiOh! label, and last year found time for the collaborative Comae project. In addition, following 2000's critically lauded full-length Above Buildings, he recently released his outstanding sophomore disc, Pulled Under. And as if that weren't enough, you can also find him hanging about in the Guinness Book of World's Records under the category of "World's Most Versatile Turntable" for his three-armed triphonic turntable.
Janek’s Special List (it goes to 11)
1. Alan Lamb - Archival Recordings (Dorobo) - A recording of vibrating telephone wires in the outback of Australia blowing in the wind. Full of resonating frequencies. A glorious evolving and always surprising stream of sound clusters. Wonderful and unrecognizable
2. Justin Bennett - Cityscape (Staalplaat) - A beautiful unmodified weave of field recordings taken from both European and more exotic cities. The detail is both abstract and familiar. A new aural hour in a global metropolis is materialized and frozen in time.
3. Stephen. P. McGreevy - Auroral Chorus 2: Music of the Magnetosphere (Auroral Chorus) - More sounds that surround us without our realising. Simple technology expands our acoustic awareness by recording the sounds that arrive from outer space. Delicate and lo-fi organic sounds of natural electrical signals. The sounds were first discovered in the 1880's when long telephone wires picked up the sound and thus became the first radio signals people ever heard.
4. David Tudor - Rainforest (Mode) - Undisputed master of the Classic Avant Garde takes a mass of electronics and strings a whole forest of everyday resonating objects from the roof. Passing audio vibrations through these both to modify the sound and to use them as acoustic speakers, the result is pure conceptual and aural pleasure. A mass of organic modifications.
5. Main - Firmament 2 (Beggars Banquet) - I met Robert Hampson at a concert we did in an underground nuclear bunker in the countryside of Scotland. What emerged from his machines was almost perfect music to my ears. An evocative use of manipulated field recordings and a faint presence of guitar strings. Firmament 2 is my favourite release by him which peaks with a shivveringly beautiful floating sound about 2/3's the way through. Mysterious, serious and certainly enjoyable.
6. Semiconductor Films - Hi-Fi Rise (Other Timeline Films) - Not strictly an audio CD as it is a DVD/CDRom, but it is the best I have ever seen. A wonderful blend of lo-fidelity analogue and digital film making which is made to fit perfectly with the sound/music. An brilliant Paddington Bear like cartoon interface to navigate through using a keen sense of architectural devices. Always surprising and my favourite contemporary video artists. Very engaging for the eye and ear.
7. Full Swing - Edits (Ortholong Musork) - A new one to my listening world since I met Stephan in Montreal this year. I'm not really a fan of what I call 'software muisc', but Stephan blows my expectations out of the water. A fluid full spectrum storm of gentle pulsating and flickering digital modifications of beautiful music. He makes the software shimmer.
8. Jacques Tati - Extraits des bandes orininales des films de Jacues Tati (Phonogram S A, Paris) - Music by various artists set to Tati's visual extraveganzas. Life affirming happy musical melodies which never fail to make me feel happy. In a word, 'Charming'. Everything has it's place.
9. Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band 'All night Flight' vol. 1 (Organ of Corti) - In a similar category in my mind to the Full Swing vibe but with analogue and extremely simple and effective 'Time-Lag Accumulators'. Terry stays up all night pushing a non stop stream of undulating sound out to an audience camped out on mattresses in front of him (if I remember rightly?)
10. Electrelane - Rock it to the Moon (Lets Rock) - I've never been mad keen on guitars, but these four ladies really do make it Rock, and don't let up too often. A fully charged romp through retro organ land with a few lovely atmospheric moments to contrast. No singing either thankfully, it's mainly instrumental. Although the secret track really sucks, so remember to press stop in time.
11. Philip Jeck - Loopholes (Touch) - This is still my favourite by Philip as it always surprises and challenges expectations. Always an inspiration.
As one half of Blectum from Blectum, Blevin Blectum impressed the international electronic community by pushing the limits of electronic production as well as the limits of good taste. Her latest album, Talon Slalom, which was recently released by Deluxe Records, focuses more on intricate electrodetails than on obtusely obscene storytelling, and in doing so allows her musical talents to flourish. For more more information check out Blevin's website at http://www.lsr1.com/blevin.
Blevin Blectum's Top 10 records I love as they pop into my head
1. Black Dog - Bytes (Warp) - I love this album so much, especially the first track. Heard it in Ohio in the early 90’s, played it on the radio
2. Jim Copp and Ed Brown - East of Flumdiddle (Playhouse) - I listened to a lot of Jim Copp and Ed Brown as a baby. Weird fairytales songs stories, bizarre sound design... all amazing and funny
3. ZBS - The Incredible Adventures of Jack Flanders (Great Tapes) - I heard this in half hour instlallments on the radio over the summer when I was 10 in Western Massachusetts in the woods. around the same time I had a bad experience with a ouija board. this radio play really freaked me out.
4. Nina Hagen - I think it's a song called “Tristan” I taped half this song off the radio when I was 12 and was obsessed with it for a long time, but I didn’t know what it was until a month ago.
5. Kraftwerk – “Numbers” (and the album it's on, Computer World) A seventh grade gym class in 83 we had to work out to this.
6. Yello - You gotta say yes to another excess (Mercury) - I love this album too. I was 15 and unrequited.
7. Nev - Indexa Philosopler (GPR) - Bought it on a road trip to Canada from Ohio.
8. GENP (X) 10 REPEAT GAME SHOWS (GPR) - I found it in an unsorted bin at Rasputin's in Berkeley, in 1995. The one side, I forget the name, is totally amazing, it's getting worn out and then I don't know what I'll do.
9. Taana Gardner (Larry Levan mix) Work That Body (West End) - Got 2 copies in a church basement sale in Boston in Jamaica Plain where I lived in ’96, like to flange it
10. Secret Weapon - Must Be the Music (Prelude) - "I'm just a dj baby mixing for you / I will not stop until this club night is through"
By Dusted Magazine