Asphodel

I must confess a personal predisposition for Janek Schaefer’s obscure meanders, previously captured in fantastic recordings – see his website audiOh.com on how to get hold of them – but this collaboration with Philip Jeck, though not without its moments, is unfortunately on a slightly lower level. Songs for Europe sounds like two expert record manipulators on the job almost because their notoriety demanded it. The sounds are nice, the assembling is well done as usual but the whole package lacks mystery, nostalgia, those melancholy reminiscences of unbearable torment that – mixed with innovative droning and sapient subtractive processes – are the hallmark of Schaefer’s best work. Philip Jeck’s previous albums, though exalted by many, have never had a great impact on my emotional system – the Stoke turntablist is certainly honest in his approach but everything I’ve heard has a “been there, done that” aura that still prevents me from fully appreciating his musical persona. Which is why he comes out of this record more or less unscathed, while I’m left hoping that Janek will return to his usual form soon. If you want to listen to his tops, rewind a few frames and get hold of a copy of Comae – I always sneak in a compliment to Robert Hampson wherever I can.

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