Jan St. Werner (perhaps best known as a member of Mouse On Mars) has here produced an interesting slab of electroacoustics, built up from straight-up electronic sounds, physical instruments, and electronically synthesised versions of physical instruments, although it may not always be obvious which is which. Felder is a carefully textured work worthy of close investigations. On Thrill Jockey.
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 31 March 2016
This genuinely sounds like nothing else I have ever listened to... except perhaps Mouse on Mars. Which is what you might expect from half a mouse, on Mars. The opening track certainly has all the hallmarks of a little mouse roaming around, putting his teeny tiny little nose in various instruments, tickling them into life with his whiskers as he does so, on the longform “Beardman”. Some of these contraptions are hooked up to circuits with currents running and pulsing through them; Danger! I hope he’s careful in there...
He’s attentive to finer details though, is Jan. Sounds coaxed from electronics mesh with electronically synthesised forms of a variety of other implements, producing a twitching, writhing and jolting body which often threatens to morph into one large monstrous form… (and I think it is beginning to do just that -- fast forward half an hour and it has now inseparably fused with me by stealth).
There is a buzzing and fizzing of wires which runs through these circuits; it feels like the record is alive and in the process of communicating with us from its nest in deep space; it screams, it rings bells, it resonates through any object it can find. Also, at a touch over fourteen minutes in duration, the second track on this recording is the longest I have heard so far today. It. Is. Intense.
Things are dialled down a notch or two by the time track four emerges and segues its electroacoustic ripples into what definitely sounds like a piano. Can it be? Yes. A processed and cut-up, looped piano and muted squally trumpet. With fizzes of white noise and chiming electronics. It’s actually relaxing. Elements of it remind me of Susumu Yokota’s work. However, I am constantly alert and occupied with trying to identify the sounds which float in from all angles throughout this record. Was that a micro-moment of brass? There’s piano again. Or is it? Ok, that’s a man’s voice. It vanishes again, into the ether. Glimpses and snapshots of the sounds of the void(s) between alternate realities. Nibbles at existence; as only this demi-mouse can see... Relate.
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- Felder by Jan St. Werner
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