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Janek Schaefer

In The Last Hour

July 8, 2006
CD, Digital, Streaming

Janek Schaefer first surfaced 10 years ago with his sound-activated tape recorder installation ‘Recorded Delivery’. He followed that with a range of award winning turntable and vinyl related projects including the random playing Skate LP, and the Tri-Phonic Turntable which he hand built to transform sound. In recent years, Schaefer’s work has expanded into areas revolving around composition, installation, and the exploration of site specific instrument and location recordings. 

‘In The Last Hour’ is by his own confession, his favourite album, and the result of years developing his approach to installation concerts. A deeply moving and harmonious work inspired by a sentence from the Iain Banks novel ‘The Bridge’ [as revealed in the track titles]. It is easily Schaefer’s most accomplished solo album, and reveals his increasing interest in the combination of live instrumentation with his trademarked textured electronics and vinyl manipulations. This is not an improvised recording but a carefully constructed live composition that unfolds through four distinct phases. Floating melodies glide across tense textures, while exhilarating chord structures disperse into drifting fields of drone that inhabit many dark spaces. A mournful and uplifting celebration of freedom.

The piece was commissioned as a site-specific work for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2005, and was recorded in the local town hall with the audience lying down in the dark with the sound coming from above and all around. An immersive experience with sound sources including a Magnus mini chord organ, grand piano, bell, music box, clarinet, vinyl manipulations, town hall organ, and numerous location recordings all intricately stitched together.

This is a truly spellbinding hour that confirms Schaefer’s presence as one of the most evocative sound artist composers. His finest hour.