Thursday, January 04, 2007

We love Jan Jelinek


With some of our favourite record shops - Small Fish in London, Reckless in Chicago and Missing Link in Australia - all avowed fans of Jan Jelinek’s new record, "Tierbeobachtungen" we thought it was time for Tunetourist to doff a cap to the genius Berlin soundman. In fact, no lesser authority than David Bowie recently praised Jelinek’s ‘bewitching’ music in print. For those unfamiliar with these beautifully loping, looping, swirling and pulsing productions, here's a quick bluffer's guide.

A philosophy and sociology student from Berlin who began releasing records straight out of university, Jelinek doesn't exactly conform to the techno dandy stereotype of the average Berlin producer-DJ. In fact, the academic analogy is a useful one as his evolution has tended towards an ever-closer analysis of the properties of sounds - their textures, weight, impact and interrelationships.

But this is anything but rigid academic music. Last year's "Kosmischer Pitch” paid homage to the circulatory patterns and repetition of 70s Krautrock and it saw Jelinek's music drift as far from the cold technical perfections of electronica as any other release in the genre, with the possible exception of Boards of Canada's underrated organic opus, "The Campfire Headphase". Incorporating sampled instruments into gradually shifting loops, he nails the texture of 70s German psychedelia and magnifies its character leaving compositions that sound like the reverb and echo of Can's studio after the band have left for the night.

Jelinek's repetition is hardly propulsive in the manner of the Krautrock motorik, though. In fact, driving your car to this stuff should probably carry the same penalties as after a bottle of scotch. Instead, it is woozy and disorientating, creating a push pull effect that simulates the most elemental human patterns: sleeping, breathing and eating. With beats absent on his most recent release, "Tierbeobachtungen", dynamics and texture alone propel the music, making for a trickier entry point than earlier releases under his Farben moniker. If you’re new to him, try searching for these in your local digital emporium:

"Farben Says So Much Love" from "Textstar" by Farben
"Tendency" from "Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records by Jan Jelinek
"Lithiummelodie 1" from "Kosmischer Pitch" by Jan Jelinek
"Universal Band Silhouette" from "Kosmischer Pitch" by Jan Jelinek
"The Ballad Of Soap Und: Die Gema Nimmt Kontakt Auf" from "Tierbeobachtungen" by Jan Jelinek

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