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Jan Jelinek: Kosmischer Pitch (2005)

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Jan Jelinek: Kosmischer Pitch How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In the aftermath of his dub/glitchtronica heyday as Pole, Stefan Betke has been steadily amassing a series of similarly inspired electronic music releases on his Berlin-based ~scape label. In Jan Jelinek he has found a kindred spirit of sorts, and over the course of three full-length releases, Jelinek (also and perhaps better known as Gramm and Farben in the electronica world) has proven himself remarkably adaptable. Rather than drawing from jazz or rock-based samples, as he did on his previous ~scape releases Loop-finding-jazz-records (2001) and La Nouvelle Pauvreté (2003), Jelinek immerses himself in pure sound on Kosmischer Pitch ("Cosmic Pitch").

It's pretty obvious from the get-go that this is not a dance record, to put it bluntly. So sit down and listen. Preferably at high volume, with good bass and decent stereo resolution. On first pass, the music sounds incredibly repetitive, and indeed it is; loops and effects account for much of the pulsing foreground action. But the depth of field is staggering, and soon enough you can begin to resolve all sorts of textures and a constant but shifty background of static noise.

It's impossible to know how many layers of sound Jelinek has stacked up on any of these eight tracks, but each one seems to take on a shadowy, ghost-like life of its own as it morphs across time and space. Minimalist, yes, in a way, but thick as a wool rug. The only time the music really gets dynamic is when an emotional catharsis builds up and releases on "Planeten in Halbtrauer" ("Planets in Semi-mourning").

Music like this can be appreciated in either of two ways, basically. You can sit back and allow the waves of sound to surround you, entering into and surrendering to the dark, uneasy aqua world that Jelinek has created. Or you can dig into the very self-conscious abstract post-electronica art it is, and spend some time thinking about the differences between noise and ambience, collage and pastiche, loop and reversal, stasis and change. All that is here to be explored, in gorgeous depth, if you have the patience for it. (Just beware the nasty scratchy tones that briefly surface after seven minutes of silence on the last track. Mistake!)

Note: Jan Jelinek will be performing some adaptation of this music with guitarist Andrew Pekler and drummer Hanno Leichtmann in late 2005 and early 2006.

Track Listing: Universal Band Silhouette; Lemmings und Lurchen Inc.; Im Diskodickicht; Vibraphonspulen; Lithiummelodie 1; Planeten in Halbtrauer; Western Mimikry; Morphing Leadgitarre Rckwrts.

Personnel: Written and produced by Jan Jelinek (Berlin, 2004-5).

Record Label: ~scape

Style: Electronica


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