Friday, June 02, 2006

RFC Interview: Jan Jelinek

After digitally dissecting jazz in 2001 on his Loop-Finding-jazz records release, last year Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist Jan Jelinek decided to revisit his influences once again. This time taking on a different muse from his past, Jelinek unleashed Kosmischer Pitch, a new album with samples solely derived from old Krautrock records. However, don’t expect Jelinek to be hailed as the second coming of Neu anytime soon. Jelinek, who also records under the Farben and Gramm monikers is famous for his glitchy minimalist soundscapes that often render his source material virtually unrecognizable. With the help from his "Kosmischer Pitch Band," Jelinek will be translating his latest opus to the stage tonight at The Empty Bottle. RFC recently caught up with Jelinek via email to discuss more. Tell us about the new album...How would you describe it in terms of genre and/or sound? Hmm, difficult to say. My work is always sound-orientated. And so my main working tool is the sample machine and software. When I’m thinking about a new album idea, the main question is how to translate existing music material into a new setting. You can say that I try to distill the genre-typical elements of the sample source and transform it into something like a new signature. The idea of the latest album ‘Kosmischer Pitch’ was to use only sample material from so called ‘Krautrock’ records, processing it and combining it with a new digital aesthetic as well. So people who are expecting an archetypical Krautrock album will be probably disappointed. It’s a combination with a new, digital processed aesthetic as well. Describe your recording process…(live instruments? Drum machines? Effects? Other electronic gadgets?) Besides the idea of using these special sample sources, I changed my recording setup for this album as well. The tracks are more or less excerpts from long recording sessions, where I was playing synthesizers, effects and the mixing console. The computer was used like a tape machine, playing the processed sample material, while I tried to arrange these loops with effects. [Essentially,] I tried to create a live situation. You can hear a lot of ‘mistakes’ but on the other hand I like this live appeal as well. Tell us about the “Kosmischer Pitch band”…What kind of performance can audiences expect? Its together with the drummer Hanno Leichtmann and the guitar player Andrew Pekler. Both have eletronic solo projects as well. We try to represent a few tracks from the album, but the main focus will be probably the improvisation. Of course the sound will have more ‘band-character’ than the album, but even Andrew’s playing will be more loop-orientated, focused on working with effects and a loop-player. In addition to the usual drumset, Hanno will play a syncussion, which is a drum-synthesizer from the late 70s. Why did you decide to bring a band rather than just a laptop? I thought it would make more sense to present the ‘Kosmischer Pitch’ album as a band, since the sound on this album is more ‘organic’ as well. It would be probably bizarre for the audience to listen to some guitar-loops, without seeing a guitar on stage. Also it’s really a joy to play as trio, especially when you try to improvise. How often do you get over to America to tour? What are your thoughts on the Chicago scene? Unfortunately I've never stayed that long in Chicago, so I don’t know that much about the scene there. But of course I know music from Chicago... It’s a place where a lot of interesting music is happening. In the late 80s, I was listening to a lot Chicago-based house music, and also post-rock was an influence to me. It’s a pity that I will stay for only one night in Chicago. It seems to be good place for staying longer. I was really impressed with the architecture and the landscape. Chicago is a bit like the fulfilling of the idea, which Europeans have, when they are thinking about us-American Urbanity. From the skyline to this very special underground-system, it is really impressive. What else can we expect from Jan Jelinek in 2006? I’m working on a new solo album as well, which I will try to release at the end of the year. Its nearly finished and so far it seems that it is very ‘ambient’. No rhythms, just simple loops, processed with guitar-pedals and synthesizer-filters. I guess that it will have something more like a ‘drone’-character. Tonight's show with Jan Jelinek starts at 10pm, with openers Signaldrift and Eliot Lipp. The Empty Bottle is located at 1035 N. Western.


Post a Comment

<< Home