JANEK SCHAEFER

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For over 20 years, British sound artist Janek Schaefer has earned significant international acclaim & awards for transforming the power of half-forgotten memories into otherworldly works, that are often as ambiguous as they are evocative. While studying architecture at the Royal College of Art [RCA annual prize], he created ‘Recorded Delivery’ [1995] using a sound activated dictaphone travelling overnight through the Post Office. That work was made for the ‘Self Storage’ exhibition [Time Out critics choice] with one time postman Brian Eno and Artangel. Since then the multiple aspects of sound became his focus, resulting in many site-specific installations, exhibition/dance/short film soundtracks, albums and concerts using his self built record players with manipulated foundsound collage. The ‘Tri-phonic Turntable’ [1997] is in the Guinness Book of Records. He has performed, lectured and exhibited widely throughout Europe [Sonar, Tate Modern, Pompidou, CCCB], China, USA/Canada [The Walker, XI, Mutek, Princeton], Japan, and Australia [Sydney Opera House].

The context of each idea is central to its development and resolution. His concerts and installations explore the spatial and architectural aspect that sound can evoke and the twisting of technology. Hybrid analogue and digital techniques are used to manipulate field recordings with live modified vinyl and found sound to create evocative and involving environments. In recent years he has become an accomplished Party DJ with his Lucky Dip Disco playing dancoing music from the last 100yrs on 7″ & digital. He hosts public & private parties for children sharing his passion for dancing musics, or for adult celebrations, rocking the dance floor till dawn.

His first studio album ‘Above Buildings’ was released on Fat Cat to considerable praise, [The Guardian CD of the week]. Other solo works have been released all over the world by Asphodel, Sub Rosa, Hot Air, Sirr, Rhiz, Kraak, Alluvial, DSP, Diskono, BiP_HOp, Cronica, LINE, Room40, Desire Path, Fat Cat, audiOh!, Staalplaat, Dekorder, and 12k. He has collaborations with Philip Jeck (Songs for Europe CD), Robert Hampson (Comae CD), Stephan Mathieu (Hidden Name CD), and Charlemagne Palestine (Day of the Demons LP), and a work-in- progress with William Basinski.

In 2008 he won The British Composer of the Year Award in Sonic Art and the Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers Prize. The Bluecoat Gallery exhibited a Retrospective of his 20 year career in 2009. Janek is represented by the Agency Gallery, London. He is a Visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes Sonic Art Research Unit, and works from the audiOh! Room in Walton-on-Thames, UK.

Schaefer’s compositions primarily occupy and inhabit the spaces between sadness and joy, and relish in the unpredictability of emotional gravity. It is this transience that makes his new album, What Light There Is Tells Us Nothing, so resonant.

In 2014, with Robert Wyatt’s blessing, Janek Schaefer was commissioned by the Sounds New Festival in Canterbury, England to compose a new, original piece of music created entirely from elements of Wyatt’s Cuckooland album. The composition was crafted using Schaefer’s custom two tone-arm ‘Twin’ turntable with effects pedals and digital collage. Originally presented at the festival as an immersive, multi-channel radio installation, his cloud of sound is a sublime meditation on the profundity of Wyatt’s work, and its transporting idiosyncrasies. Schaefer presents that piece as the title track of this new full-length opus, which is complimented with seven original compositions that not only exist in the same wondrous space, but echo its playfully poignant resonance, well after the album has ended . . .