Review of Lay-by Lullaby [12k1079]

Decoder (US)

Flipping through London-based sound artist Janek Schaefer‘s output is like a roll call of the top-tier movers in modern sound design and experimentation. From Room40 and Apestaartje to Asphodelle, Line, Spekk and Fat Cat – among many others – Schaefer has graced the catalogs of tried and true institutions of audio, helping shape the ways we experience music. Now gracing the hallowed, largely CD-and-digital-centered 12k label with Lay-by Lullaby, Schaefer issues what will serve as a standout in a sprawling discography. As the label explains, the sounds are the result of various field recordings “made in the middle of the night above the M3 motorway, right at the end of the road where JG Ballard lived, a couple of miles from Schaefer’s studio on the far west edge of London.”

The three tracks made available as samples of the album perpetuate a dreamlike plane comprised of dotted yellow lines, gravel-ridden pull-over lanes, and occasional washes of headlamp illumination. As though you pulled over to soak in the scenery en route to no place in particular and in no hurry at all, Schaefer’s sounds carry the momentary beauty of highway trips and random sightseeing. It’s the perfect soundtrack to roadside meditations and listless, aimless meandering. Lay-by Lullaby is available now via 12k.

View Website View Release