Review of Lay-by Lullaby [12k1079]

Black Audio (BLOG)

Schaefer has been around producing aural installations for the past 20 years or so; and this is his first for the 12k label, pleasantly opening up with harmonic drones and filtered sounds of driven field recordings (usually a process I detest).

‘Lay-By Lullaby’ is one of those albums that demand the listener sits down, filters out any distractions and soaks up the subtle wave upon wave of ambient beauty. The 12 tracks created could all filter through as one long song and thankfully, Janek has separated them up into individual moments in time (‘Radio 101FM’, ‘Radio 102 FM’ etc.).

What I love about this release is that you can almost imagine yourself parked in a car at the side of a lonely country road, with fogged up windows and rain hitting the windscreen, contemplating what life has thrown at you. There is a natural feel to the album where there is a direct synergy between the field recordings and pads and it’s all too easy to just become engrossed in the hypnotic bliss, reminding me of some respects of some of the works by Fennesz.

At the end of the release there is a feeling that the clouds have broken just as the sun, sinks over the hillside horizon; and there is a feeling of satisfaction once the album comes to completion. ‘Lay-By Lullaby’ won’t be one for everyone, but I am sucker for well placed ambient and Janek Schaefer has constructed a reflective story that’s worthy and heartfelt.

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