JANEK SCHAEFER

Lay-by Lullaby

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REVIEW: VITAL WEEKLY (NL)

A few years ago Janek Schaefer presented an installation about the fastness of our daily lives, the hectic work-home-work-home, driving cars etc., called 'Asleep At The Wheel'. I think I only reviewed the mix tape version (Vital Weekly 775) of this, which I thought was really nice. I could imagine people being lulled to sleep with this music. I was reminded of old (-er) music of Stephan Mathieu, in which he uses heavily, treated radio sounds. Somehow I am reminded of that again today, when listening to the counterpart/contrast piece, 'Lay-By Lullaby'. It's based on field recordings of the M3 Motorway, not far away from his Schaefer's studio in the far west edge of London and, coincidently, also the place where JG Ballard wrote novels on car culture, 'Crash' and 'Concrete Island'. It's difficult, nay, impossible not to be reminded again of the music of Mathieu here, again during that radio phase. Here, the radio is replaced by street sounds, feeding into the computer and heavily treated so that the outcome is long sustaining sound patterns. Although indexed as twelve separate pieces it seems to me this is one, on-going, long (seventy-three minute) lullaby, with pieces sometimes in the middle stopping, making room for street sounds and then picking up another thread of drones, which may continue in the next piece. This could have been as easily twenty pieces, or four, or one. Hence the title, 'lullaby' and not 'lullabies'. Much music here, but that's hardly a 'problem'. You don't actively sit down and listen, but rather under go it all, preferable on repeat I should think, for a long time. Nothing new under this microsoundsun, but it sounds great.
JANEK SCHAEFER
Lay-by Lullaby