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Jelinek: Zwischen (Faitiche)

Jelinek’s reputation in German electronic music culture quietly
approaches legendary as his seminal Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records (2001)
album and his tech house project Farben’s Textstar box set of records
(2002) are well over 15 years old. But despite the splash that those
releases made, and his flirtations with surface and aliasing —
consider his avant-R&B cutups as fake act The Exposures —
Jelinek has been the better part of the past ten years flying largely
under the radar. Way back in 1996, Richie Hawtin released an album as
F.U.S.E., and it ended with a dada-esque epilogue of vocal interview
cutups, false starts, and spaces between. That same homage to cut and paste tape music informs most of Zwischen. While combing through the archives of German public
radio, Jelinek embarked on a mission to do a deep dive through his
heroes’ interview recordings (and a few unexpected ones) and
assembling fragments into what becomes the primary sound layer for
most of Zwischen. Each track focuses on a different composer or
artist, while his arrangements weave in and out of the vocal
fragments. But the key to appreciating Zwischen lies in the meaning
of its title: “between.” Jelinek combed through hours of
recordings and isolated the pauses, stops, stutters, stammers, and
incomplete vocal interruptions that often serve to allow the speaker
to compose his or her thoughts. Instead of cutting apart language the
say AGF tends to, Jelinek instead emphasizes communication breakdown
or disruption. This is not done to be cheeky or underhanded; in a
recent interview with Tiny Mix Tapes
, Jelinek said that “Zwischen
is not making fun [of] mistakes. It rather tries to expose beauty in
such interruptions.”

Zwischen by Jan Jelinek

Much like Jelinek has thrived creatively in
past collaborations ranging from Japanese sound designer Masayoshi
Fujita to countryman James Din A4, Zwischen opens up Jelinek’s
collaborative instincts to a whole milieu of prominent figures in
experimental music and art history: John Cage, Joseph Beuys, Karlheinz
Stockhausen, Yoko Ono, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, to name a few. But
also a few curveballs, including Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek,
pop star Lady Gaga, Austrian writer Ernst Jandl, German feminist
Alice Schwarzer, and novelist Hubert Fichte. Those looking for
insight into each artist’s œuvre or point of view will be
disappointed, as the ethos of Zwischen is to embrace and highlight
the spaces between. But those who delight in Jelinek’s abilities as a
sound-shaping talent will find a lot to love here. It’s a world apart
from the more regular metered dance music flirtations of those
legendary records of yore, but yet another fascinating dive into what
inspires and moves Jelinek as a creator, and a successful splash
through the waters of German radio and cultural history.

Buy it: Bandcamp