Continuing the theme of Architecture from my last blog post, in this article I wish to review Janek Schaefer’s album “Glitter In My Tears” – Because I think that it is a release of character. A sober, off-beat beauty of an album, it weighs in at just under an hour and is comprised of twenty six tracks. Janek Schaefer is a Sound Artist, Entertainer & Professor, who trained as an Architect at the Royal College of Art, where he developed his focus on the relationship between sound, space and place. The context of each idea is central to its development and resolution, often exploring themes of appropriation, accident, & alteration. He exhibits and performs worldwide, from The Tate Modern to The Sydney Opera House, via Beijing to New York. The Bluecoat gallery exhibited a Retrospective of his career in 2009, he is represented by the Agency gallery, London, and has collaborated with Charlemagne Palestine, Philip Jeck, Robert Hampson, and Stephan Mathieu to name a few.
Glitter In My Tears marks the 20th anniversary of Janek Schaefer’s career as a recording artist, having now released 30 albums.
His music is best comprehended through examining his time as an architect, and how that forged his innate sense for constructing tactile atmospheres, that navigate through unknown structures and forgotten spaces, creating profound new places. Over his career he has placed focus on the relationship between body, medium, and sound, creating a field of work that defies easy definition. An architect of found-soundscapes.
For Schaefer, the medium plays as great a role as the message itself. He creates music that exposes the marks and memories of a variety of media, as presented in the 26 tracks on Glitter In My Tears, an eclectic album that celebrates the sense of overwhelming desolation held in the music. A subdued cathartic opus.
Each piece is a microcosm of haunted memory, that unites to create a record of melancholic vignettes, and is easily his most critical recorded work to date. And, it is achingly beautiful.
It’s a record that reflects Schaefer’s obsession with texture, atmosphere, and emotive acoustic states. Multiple interludes, like active memories, lace into one another. Their relation is temporal, and shaped very much by the settings in which they are encountered. Like the very best ambient music, Glitter In My Tears is an acoustic reflector of sorts, rebounding off the places and spaces within which it is experienced. This process means the record is never static, but in a constant state of discovery and rediscovery.
I have read that Schaefer comments, “The album was composed over the last decade, in moments when most people are asleep in the dark, while the lucky ones are still dancing in the lights. It’s a record of delightful dark emotions evolving from the evocative dreams we yearn for, with our feet firmly on the floor, always wanting more. An unfolding compendium of motifs and repetitive fragments, fading from the memories of our emotions. Sparkling lights glisten in the hidden shadows of our feelings, with outpourings of love falling through the depths of despair. It is based on a true story.”
“Glitter In My Tears” was released on June 2nd 2017 on the label Room40. If you wish to buy the album please click here.